This year we are doing our Foreign Language Award for International Study (FLAIS) fundraising campaign in honor of WLL alum Ian Olson Gunther (Spring 2013 French major/International Studies minor) who passed away unexpectedly in November 2020. A polyglot and a peace ambassador, Ian greeted everyone he met with a generous spirit and an open heart. In addition to his French studies at NKU, Ian also took classes in Arabic, Chinese and German and dabbled independently into studying other languages. He studied abroad at the Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, in Mexico and in Munich. During his undergraduate studies, he could be seen and heard everywhere a foreign language was spoken: in classrooms, at festivals, films and university and community events. He led the French Club as Vice-President and President and joined the German Club and Kiksuya/First Nations Organization. Ian was a consummate lover of languages and embodied the world citizen of the 21st century.
Why support FLAIS? Since FLAIS was initiated in 2005, we have awarded over $35,000 to more than 100 World Language and Literatures students to support study abroad trips. FLAIS is entirely donor-funded, and we are grateful to all who have donated in the past. While study abroad was brought to a halt by the pandemic, programs are opening back up, and our students are eager to go abroad once more.
Why support student travel? A study abroad experience can transform a student's life completely. Studying abroad offers WLL students the opportunity to be fully immersed in their language of study, which improves their fluency. These experiences also provide students with valuable direct exposure to other cultures, giving them the confidence and tools they will need to be the international leaders of tomorrow. Our goal this year is to raise $1,500 to support a new group of global travelers.
But don't just take our word for it... Hear what some of our former FLAIS scholars had to say about their experience!
Spanish major Faustina Mulnick went to Granada, Spain, in Spring 2020 and had to leave early because of the pandemic. Despite not being able to spend the entire semester there, the experience was impactful.
Faustina Mulnick - Granada, Spain
"As the world was rapidly shutting down, I was over 4,730 miles from home. As a double major in Spanish and anthropology, studying abroad was always a goal of mine. However, fleeing the epicenter of the Covid-19 virus was definitely not something I was expecting. The night before I left Spain, one of my flights got canceled. My host mom frantically booked me a 2 a.m. bus ticket so I could still make my second flight. Yet, during the few short months that I was in Spain, I still managed to ride camels in Morocco, swim in the Mediterranean Sea, and meet people from all over the world. I see my study abroad experiences not as a disaster but rather as the best learning experience of my life. Although the challenges themselves were daunting, they ultimately gave me new problem-solving skills and the confidence to handle whatever unpredictable issues come my way." - Faustina Mulnick
Japanese major Ian Combs spent the 2019-2020 academic year at Gifu University in Gifu, Japan. He was fortunate to be able to stay in Japan despite the pandemic. He also describes the experience as life-changing.
Ian Combs - Gifu, Japan
"I could probably write a novel about this, but it made me realize a lot of things I thought were important or scary before don't really matter anymore and that the world is huge with all sorts of stuff to experience. It was very mentally freeing to meet people from all over the world and realize that there's more than just America. Living by myself was also a first for me, so I got to figure out how to survive and get around a foreign country on my own. Also, my best friend I made here (perhaps one of my best friends ever) is vegan, and he introduced me to veganism, and now I'm also vegan. I made all sorts of friends and got to know myself better, and my entire worldview got larger. I developed new beliefs and ideas, and it's clearer to me what really matters in life." - Ian Combs
of Thanking You
Not only will your $25 donation get you a mention in the program for our annual Senior Awards Banquet in spring, but it could also purchase a ten pack of coupon tickets on the Tokyo Metro or about a week's worth of coffee and croissant for breakfast in Madrid.
Not only will your $50 donation get you a mention in the program for our annual Senior Awards Banquet in spring, but it could also buy a roundtrip train ticket from Caen to Paris or about two nights in a hostel in Berlin.
Not only will your $250 donation get you a mention in the program for our annual Senior Awards Banquet in spring, but it could cover the average costs of local transportation, books and supplies in León, Spain or passport and visa to study in Quito, Ecuador.
Not only will your $500 donation get you a mention in the program for our annual Senior Awards Banquet in spring, but it could also cover most of the costs for local transportation during a semester a Nanzan University in Japan or personal expenses during a summer program in Munich, Germany.