By Haleena Phillips ’21
I knew I wanted to travel the world when I saw the countless instagram posts of my peers in countries like Spain, Singapore, and Brazil while I stayed on the brick fort of what we know as Davidson College. With my tight schedule, I did not know how I could fit going abroad into my schedule and the biggest thing was figuring out how I would pay for it. That’s when I luckily came across a list of summer grants from the Center for Career Development’s (CCD) Weekly Digest. The Weekly Digest is a list of updates and information, provided by the CCD, that stem from academic events on campus all the way to summer internships and fellowships. MEET MY WORLD was staring back at me in big bold Times New Roman text as if it was demanding to be seen and I obliged.
Meet My World is a summer travel program, funded by alumni, that gives international students the opportunity to share their home country and culture with a friend from the United States. This program pays for 2 round trip tickets, daily costs of accommodations, and cost of cultural activities. My friend has been trying to get me to visit him in his hometown, Thessaloniki, and who doesn’t want a free trip to Greece? We filled out the application explaining why we wanted to go and should be chosen and were set to go to Greece a week after classes concluded!
Participating in this program was probably one the best experiences of my life. The Meet My World Grant was not only a trip but a journey. Moving from a different state to attend Davidson was hard enough for me but I did not imagine how hard it was for my friend, Dimitrios, moving all the way across the world. I can kind of relate as I know what it feels like to move to an unfamiliar country but I was much younger so I was able to adapt much easier. I became the expert in his life, showing him around and trying to modify him to fit into American culture this past year and a half. He made me realize that he had no interest in trying to fit in and that his perspective and upbringing from his country has made him who he is. I was able to experience this, putting myself in his shoes and personally experiencing the culture that made him who he is during our stay. This trip made our friendship stronger as we bond over our love of travel. I was able to take back some perspectives and aspects about his country that I was able transfer back to other students who may not understand. If you are interested in this program, please visit https://www.davidson.edu/offices-and-services/international-student-programs/grants/meet-my-world-grant. The application is due April 3, 2020.