Being a Good Representative

Regardless of how you personally identify yourself, it is important to understand that while you are abroad you are an ambassador representing both the United States and GVSU. Individuals from the host country may use you as an example of U.S culture in general and GVSU students in particular. It is important to be respectful at all times. Your actions, both positive and negative, are likely to have long-term repercussions for GVSU and future participants.

Tips for making a good impression:

  • Be a diligent student. Attend your classes, complete your homework, and show respect to your professors.
  • Be respectful, courteous, and mindful that you are a guest in someone else's school, home, or country, and a representative of a school, state, and nation.
  • Show a genuine interest in the host country. Learn as much as you can about the country to which you are going, and continue to ask questions once you arrive.
  • Avoid expressing negative opinions or generalizations about the host country. Seek to understand without judging.
  • If you studying in a non-English-speaking country, try to learn as much of the language as possible.
  • If you are studying in an English-speaking country, be sensitive to differences in dialect.
  • Inform yourself about the current events happening in the U.S., Michigan, and even your hometown. Educating yourself about U.S policies and cultural news will enable you to speak eloquently about complex and sometimes controversial topics. This dialogue and exchange will inevitably enhance and enrich your experience and deepen your friendships.

For more information about being a good representative of the U.S. while abroad, refer to the Glimpse Foundation's guide on American Identity Abroad.

Being a Good Representative