Student Comments

"The impacts of my study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa are numerous--I learned so much about South African history, visited key sights, became close with 13 of my peers and sixth grade South African learners, and the mountains are pretty beautiful too. In those six weeks, I learned about justice, freedom, solidarity, and activism in a way that radically altered my outlook on my education at Grand Valley." -  Shukri Bana, Gilman Scholarship, Summer 2016, South Africa

"This summer was the best summer of my life. I made lifelong friends, traveled to so many new places, and gained confidence in my skills as a leader, as well as a recreational therapist. This summer I learned a ton about being culturally competent, as I was immersed with campers, supervising interpreters and volunteers, and working among a staff of people from 12 different countries, only 4 of which were English speaking. I am forever grateful for the opportunities being a Gilman scholar has provided me!" - Emily Konen, Gilman Scholarship, Summer 2016, Ireland

"Being able to go on a study abroad trip like this one was absolutely amazing. Not only was the place I went to unlike any other culture I experienced before but the professors truly made this trip extraordinary. The amount of knowledge and wisdom I gained in the few weeks I was in China was beyond anything I could imagine or even come close to sitting in a class in the U.S. I was able to fully immerse myself into Chinese culture, push my boundaries and limits and grow as a person. Upon my return home I feel that I will be forever changed by this opportunity; it allowed me to become a more openhearted, welcoming and understanding person. I hope to continue adventures like this in my near future!"  - Jasmine Bruce, Gilman Scholarship, Summer 2016, China

"Getting the opportunity to spend three months in Krakow, Poland has been especially enlightening, empowering, and inspiring. Learning more about the history, culture, and language of this region has helped me become more connected to my own Polish ancestry. While volunteering at the U.S. Consulate and visiting places like Grand Rapids' International Sister City, Bielsko-Biala, have given me a new perspective on the importance of international communication. My time abroad has helped me grown as a young woman and made me more eager to go after my dreams of working internationally after I graduate."  - Jennifer Polasek, Gilman Scholarship, Fall 2016, Poland

"In my two months of living in Munich, I've been completely immersed in a culture much more different from my own than I originally thought. I've been having the time of my life in visiting sites of key historical events, universally-known festivals, and walking/hiking through some of the most beautiful locations imaginable. I know the friendships I'm making in my program will be life-long. Every day, I'm able to improve my German skills and cultural knowledge in ways not possible in a classroom setting. My only disappointment is that I only have eight months left!"  - Sunnie Wiswell, Gilman Scholarship, Academic Year 2016-2017, Germany

"Studying abroad in Ghana has had an immense impact on my life. While abroad, I interned with children who were undergoing rehabilitation following their recent rescue from human trafficking. As a Pre-Occupational Therapy student I was able to connect the rehabilitation to my future career, but beyond that, my eyes were opened to the global impact of human trafficking, and I was in awe of the joy displayed by the children and the dedication of the organization: Challenging Heights. Aside from my internship I was able to build relationships with other GVSU students as well as Ghanaians, learn about history and culture, and experience an entirely new lifestyle. Overall, I brought home a new appreciation for stepping away from to-do lists every once and a while and focusing on the scenery and people around me."  - Mallory VanRegenmorter, Gilman Scholarship, Summer 2017, Ghana