Success Stories

Student soaks up languages abroad

Mario Amaya-Velazquez

Mario Amaya-Velazquez was accustomed to taking two classes of Italian in the same semester, prepping for a study abroad experience in Perugia, Italy.

To study at the University of Perugia, he also earned three competitive scholarships: Michigan College Access Programs & Personnel, Mark & Elizabeth Murray Scholarship, and the Perugia-Grand Rapids Sister City Committee Scholarship.

Amaya-Velazquez, a senior majoring in international relations, recently gave a presentation about his experience at the annual Perugia-Grand Rapids Sister City Dinner held at the Amway Grand Plaza. Grand Rapids has a sister city relationship with Perugia; a committee provides a scholarship for two students to study for a month at the University for Foreigners of Perugia. Amaya-Velazquez added a month to his trip with the scholarship.

“Perugia has the University of Perugia, which is the main school, and the University for Foreigners which teaches language and culture,” said Amaya-Velazquez. “I studied at both universities because they wanted to make sure our Italian was at a good enough level for us to understand and function at the University of Perugia.”

Amaya-Velazquez had studied French in high school, and chose to study in Italy because of his interest in the Italian language.

“By the time I decided I wanted to study abroad, I was already in my fourth and fifth semesters of Italian by taking two classes at a time,” said Amaya-Velazquez. “Because of the existing partnership between GVSU and the University of Perugia, I figured it was a good fit because it was tailored to our program as well.”

His travels aren’t over. Amaya-Velazquez plans to study Arabic in Jordan in the spring/summer semester.

by DeLain Bomer III

This story was filed with the tags: International, Modern Languages and Literatures