Having trouble reading this email? View it on your browser.
The Insider

A Grand Adventure

On May 5, 2010, Grand Valley State University student Robyn Schultz’s parents watched her board the plane that would take her 14 hours away to the Nanjing Lukou International Airport in China. “Mom and Dad were anxious; this was the first time I’d been out of state without them. But they knew the trip would give me the insight I’ll need to teach the Chinese language and culture,” said Shultz.

Schultz’s study abroad experience was life changing, but like many parents, hers had questions about costs and safety. Mark Schaub, executive director of the Barbara H. Padnos International Center, has talked with hundreds of parents like Shultz’s about these concerns.

“When my son studied abroad in Japan, I knew the statistics – students are no more likely to be a victim of crime in a foreign country than they are in the U.S.,” said Schaub. “My worries were more mundane. Would he know how to cross a street in Japan? He’s a picky eater, so what would he eat? I was anxious the whole time, but it was worth the positive impact the trip had on my son.”

Schaub advises students to attend the Padnos International Center’s regular study abroad meetings to learn about the variety of study abroad opportunities, including costs and duration. “Some programs cost more than Grand Valley’s tuition. Others, like in India, are actually cheaper than a semester at Grand Valley,” said Schaub. He also recommends planning two years in advance for scholarship and financial aid application processes. Students have the option to work with study abroad advisors to have their experience count for their major, theme, or general education requirements to avoid paying for extra semesters.

“The best thing we can do as parents is to expose our children to the world,” said Schaub. “They learn how to navigate within a different culture, and this is a crucial quality that employers look for in today’s economy. As parents, we have to let our sons and daughters spread their wings. Grand Valley helps students do that through study abroad.”

For more information on study abroad programs, meeting dates, scholarships and costs, visit the Padnos International Center website or call 616-331-3898.



Volunteering at Grand Valley

Parents may have had different ways to volunteer at their son or daughter’s high school, but what is it like at the university level? Greg Goodwin and Nadja Putters shared their volunteer experiences and how getting involved affected their lives.

Greg Goodwin
Zion, Illinois

"I found out about volunteering at Grand Valley when we brought my son up for his freshman orientation and stopped by the Family Association’s table. I had been the president of our local high school’s athletics boosters club, and this was a great way to stay involved with my son, but not intrude on his life. That’s why I decided to volunteer at Grand Valley. I was recently a parent ambassador for Grand Valley at a college fair for our local high schools. As a parent, I was able to inform attendants about this university and the great resources they have for students like my son. I understand my son’s school environment now, and recommend parents get involved giving back to this school."

Nadja Putters
Royal Oak, Michigan

"When my daughter first came to Grand Valley, I was worried about staying in touch with her life but not becoming a 'helicopter' parent. That’s what is great about volunteering with the Advisory Committee of the Family Association. I’ve helped during orientation, move-in week, and Family Weekend and have always had great experiences. My involvement has changed the way I relate to Grand Valley. I’ve become familiar with the campus and my daughter’s academic life. I’ve also met a lot of other parents, so now we have connections here in case my daughter needs help. By volunteering, I have gotten back more than I’ve given. That’s why I feel it’s essential for parents to get involved."

For more information on volunteering at Grand Valley, visit the Volunteer and Service Information page on the Family Association's website.



Calling All Lakers!

The students at Grand Valley's Telephone Outreach Program will be calling parents, alumni, and students starting in mid-November for our annual campaign.

Please take their call!

This is a great opportunity to find out about giving to the Grand Valley Fund, the primary source of unrestricted private funds for the university. Gifts to the Grand Valley Fund go towards priorities like:

  • Scholarships
  • Advising
  • Internships
  • Expanding study abroad
  • Counseling
  • Tutoring

Our student callers will also inform you of upcoming campus events and news, and will check to make sure they have your most current contact information. Visit their webpage for more information about the Telephone Outreach Program.