This past summer I was able to study abroad in France for 9 weeks with the help of the Gilman Scholarship. My program was a non-GVSU program located in the south of France in a small town called Pau. I was able to study French language and culture there, while living with a host family and taking classes in both French and English. It was my first time traveling internationally, and was my most memorable summer to date.
I think my Junior Seminar helped prepare me a little for my travels a little, since I took European Civilizations, giving me a broad background in European history and culture. I even got to see some of the places we discussed in that class in real life. I met students from all over the world, was able to study at a French university, and travel on the weekends.
I know a lot of students want to study abroad, but often feel that they can’t. I just wanted to share a little of my story in order to tell you that anyone can study abroad if they really want to.
At Grand Valley, many of the semester long programs cost the same or even less than a normal semester at GV. If you can’t study abroad during the Fall or Winter semester because you’re in a program such as the nursing program (like me), there are tons of options for summer study abroad programs instead. With the help of scholarships and working a part time job, I made my dream come true.
The Padnos International Center and the Office of Fellowships helped me navigate finding study abroad programs and applying for scholarships. It can be a daunting task when you start looking into studying abroad, but GV has a lot of resources to help students out with the whole process.
My advice is to just go for it. The other students I know who have studied abroad have all said the same thing: the work you put into studying abroad will be so worth it in the end.
If spending a summer taking classes with international students, eating crepes overlooking a French castle, and hiking in the Pyrenees Mountains on the weekend sounds like something you’d enjoy, then I encourage you to achieve your dream, too.
Plus, I know what I learned abroad will help me with my future career as a nurse, as I care for people from different cultures on a daily basis, and as I will (hopefully) work as an international nurse in the future. I’ve realized that I learn so much every time I travel somewhere new: about people, the world, and even myself.
Studying abroad has been the best decision I have made thus far in my life, which I know sounds cliche, but it really is true.
Adrianna Lee is a senior at GVSU. She is in her last semester of the nursing program and received the Gilman Scholarship to study abroad.