Meet our Peer Advisors

Meet The Study Abroad peer advisors


Maria Carson

Maria Carson, Ireland, 2016.

From: Battle Creek, MI

Major: occupational therapy.

I spent 2 weeks in Ireland on a pre-freshman, faculty-led study abroad in 2016.
"My decision to study abroad was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Ireland was a place I knew I always wanted to travel to, because of this study abroad I was finally able to see this place in person. Even though this trip was short I learned a lot about myself and I was really pushed out of my comfort zone. I definitely want go again, and for longer this time!" 


Amyre Dennis

Amyre Dennis, China, 2015.

From: Kalamazoo, MI

Major: global and international studies (anthropology and East Asian focus)

"Study abroad was something I have always wanted to do. I love the thought of learning in another country other than my own. I studied Chinese language and culture in Beijing, China. I have been interested in Chinese culture since I was a child and I knew that if I really wanted to learn how to speak Chinese I should go to China! Study abroad has given me confidence. I had never felt so complete until I went to Beijing. Sure, it was scary at first but I am a better person for it. In China I realized that I wanted to be in the museum science field and that is what I will use my major for. Study abroad has given me life long friendships and a second home. I am ready for the world because I know a few more people in it."








Michelle Hinckley

Michelle Hinkley, Italy, 2016.

From: Eaton Rapids, MI

Major: English - rhetoric and writing studies

"I studied abroad Summer I 2016 in Florence, Italy as well as spending a week traveling throughout Italy beforehand. It was hands down the most amazing experience of my life, it is something I will never forget and I will think about it every day for the rest of my life. While studying, I got to learn just how authentic and truly beautiful Italy, and its people are. While traveling, I became a new person going outside my comfort zone. Embracing the real Italian way was difficult but it was okay to be lost for a while, it helps you find yourself. Studying abroad has unearthed a new me, the one who was okay with trying new things and immersing myself in the culture around me. It allowed me to stop and appreciate the beauty that was all around me. I could go on and on about my study abroad experience, but it is something that every person should do. Trust me you will not regret it!"



Oseas Benjamin Hudy-Velasco ("Benjamin")

From: Lansing, MI

Major: Aerospace Engineering (minors in French, Chemistry, and Mathematics) 

Benjamin Hudy-Velasco, France, 2017.

"I studied at IAU College in Aix-en-Provence, France during the sprng semester of 2017. Since my childhood, learning French has been somthing I have wanted to accomplish and I decided to study abroad during my senior year of college to continue learning this skill I had cultivated from high school. In spite of the preconception of engineering and study abroad as incompatible, I chose to travel to France to improve my mastery of their language and discover new places in the world. Even Though this pushed my graduation back by a year, the language skills and memories I acquired while abroad were definitely worth it. I traveled to 16 different countries, met people from all over the globe, and discovered that all it takes to make a friend, even when you're half a world away from everyone you know, is to be willing to talk and listed and find the things that are common to human beings everywhere."


Lauren LaLonde

Lauren LaLonde, Spain, 2017.

From: Portage, MI

Majors: Spanish secondary education, global international studies.

I have studied abroad in Ireland as part of a summer II faculty-led program on Colonialism and Terrorism in 2016 and in Spain during a summer II language-intensive program.

"Studying abroad was something that I always had in mind, and once I actually did it, it was everything I had hoped for and more! Though it challenges you and pushces you out of your comfort zone, you learn so much from it, and I honestly think it has helped shape me into who I am. I encourage every single student to give it a try, I truly believe that this is the best experience you can have while in college. While I love short-term travel, it is a completely different experience to be living on your own and taking classes in a foreign country (and a better one in my opinion)! Some of the best memories of my life so far have been while studying abroad, and I can't wait to see where I go next!"




Joshua Place, Germany, 2015. 

Joshua Place

From: Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Majors: global and international studies, German.

I studied abroad at Bonn Universität in Bonn, Germany during spring semester 2015

"My decision to study abroad was the best decision that I have yet to make in my college career, let alone my life. Going back to Germany as an individual studying at university was a completely different experience from when I was initially in Germany as a youth living with my family. Aside from strengthening my German skills, the lessons I learned abroad have contributed to the person that I am today. Although the biggest lesson that I learned while abroad was that life begins at the end of your comfort zone,  study abroad is not something that can be summed up in a short text, but rather something that should be experienced firsthand."


Christopher Van Meter

Christopher Van Meter, Germany 2014-15.

From: Commerce Township, MI

Majors: Aviation Flight Science, Aviation Management, German.

"I studied German language for a full academic year in the town of Tübingen, Germany. The year I spent abroad was the most transformative year of my life, not only with respect to my mastery of German, but also in regards to personal development. After I was left to my own devices in a foreign country, I became better equipped to cope with situations of adversity that might come my way. I had always enjoyed being challenged throughout my academic career, but the challenge of escaping the bonds of my comfort zone was the most rewarding to overcome. Although the program seemed extremely daunting in the beginning, I was able to not only survive but thrive in the environment, and the feeling of accomplishment that resulted from my success fuels my ambitions of entering an aviation career in Germany."