Wadzi"At a time when my experience of the U.S. was limited to college life in a small Midwestern town, the Fischlowitz taught me about the nuances and complexities of American life around the country. It also challenged me to grow and be more independent at a time where I could have chosen to be shepherded and comfortable. My travels, supported by this generous gift, began preparing me for my Watson fellowship, years later.”
      — Wadzanai Motsi ’12 (Zimbabwe)

The Fischlowitz Travel Fellowship provides an opportunity for Grinnell College international students to pursue casual yet purposeful independent travel in the United States, focused on deep exploration of a chosen theme. One award of $5,000 is available each year, made possible through the generous support of Teresa and Merle Fischlowitz ’53.

Fischlowitz remembers his friendships with students from abroad as one of the most rewarding aspects of his time at Grinnell. He believes traveling independently in the United States has the power to enrich an international student’s education, beyond what can be accomplished by living for a few years in any single community. This award was established to provide opportunities for meaningful travel to students who might not otherwise be able to pursue it during their time at Grinnell.

Learn more about how to apply for this exciting opportunity below or contact Jaime Chambers, international student adviser.

Application Process for Fischlowitz Travel Fellowship

Applications for funding are due Monday, February 5, 2018, by 4 p.m.

All candidates must submit a complete application form, including uploads of the following documents.

  1. Travel Proposal (1500 words or less)
    • Overview of your theme and motivation, offering personal context for how and why you chose this topic;
    • The learning goals your project will help you accomplish, including as it relates to your experience of U.S. culture;
    • How you will prepare for the potential challenges of this trip and of independent travel.
  2. Itinerary and Budget
    • A proposed itinerary of travel dates, locations, and landmarks, including a detailed budget projection. Consider how you will use the maximum grant allocation of $5,000 ($4,300 after federal tax withholding) to cover transportation, meals, lodging, admission fees, a “safety net” for emergencies, etc.
  3. Resume

All candidates must also secure one (1) reference from a Grinnell faculty or staff member, submitted via the online reference form by Monday, February 5, 2018, by 4 p.m. It is the applicant’s responsibility to request this recommendation with adequate advance notice (and to provide their recommender with the link).

In late February, the selection committee will select finalists to be invited to interview. The final recipient will be chosen and notified by early March.

Selection Criteria and Grant Limitations

Fellowship applicants must be degree-seeking international students (non-immigrants from outside of the U.S.) of first-, second-, or third-year standing at Grinnell College. The successful candidate will demonstrate maturity, openness, resourcefulness, curiosity, and planning in his/her application materials and interview. One purpose of this award is for international students to encounter American life and culture outside of Grinnell, Iowa — particularly those who might not otherwise be able to do so. Therefore, preference will be given to applicants who have not previously traveled extensively in the U.S.

Applicants must tie their travel together with a theme they are curious about, which can be very broad or very narrow. It should be compelling, creative, driven by genuine interest, and connected to some dimension of U.S. American life and culture. Successful applicants will demonstrate a cohesive connection between the places they wish to visit. However, travel is not limited solely to the chosen theme. (For example, if a recipient goes to New York City to look at art, they might also visit the Empire State Building or see a play while they are there.) Examples of past recipients’ themes can be found below, and applicants are encouraged to meet with Jaime Chambers to think through their planning.

Funds may be used during the period of the award for transportation, lodging, food, and events or other activities consistent with the spirit of the fellowship. 

Travel funded by the Fischlowitz Travel Fellowship must:

  • Include some time spent in a large metropolitan area, as well as at least two regions of the U.S. outside of the upper Midwest (New England, Middle Atlantic, Southeastern, Pacific Northwest, South Central, Plains States, Mountain West, or California).
  • Last at least 2 to 3 weeks and no longer than 10 weeks.
  • Occur during the fall, winter, spring, and/or summer break periods. Recipients are chosen in the spring semester — travel may begin after the final day of classes that term, but must end by the last day of spring break the following year. Recipients who will be fourth-year students must complete their travels in the summer before returning to campus.

In the fall semester following their receipt of the grant, fellows will be required to offer an on-campus presentation that summarizes and reflects upon their travels. They will also be encouraged to share the experience with the Grinnell community, presenting at local venues and submitting creative work to be shared in the OISA’s publication, MOSAIC. 

Former Fischlowitz recipients are invited to direct their alumni giving toward this fellowship, thus granting a similar opportunity for future international students at Grinnell College.

Previous Fischlowitz Travel Fellowship Adventures

Misha Gelnarova in a Grinnell College tshirt displays her Spartan race number and medal, with beautiful Hawaiian cliffs in the background

Misha Gelnarova '18 (Czech Republic) used her Fischlowitz funding to explore extreme sports culture in the U.S.

2017-2018

Michaela Gelnarova ’18 (Czech Republic) "Extreme Sports in America" On her solo journey through New York, California, and Hawaii, Misha will be exploring the adrenaline-fueled culture of extreme sports in the U.S.

2016-2017

Aleksandar Hrusanov ’18 (Bulgaria) “Music in American Culture” Aleksandar used this opportunity to explore cities that have been important sites in U.S. music history: Seattle and grunge, Memphis/Nashville and country, New Orleans and blues/jazz, and Los Angeles as the home of one of his personal musical heroes.

2015-16

Xiaoxuan Yang ’17 (China) “Sustainability Lessons in U.S. Landscapes” Xiaoxuan’s theme of sustainability led her on a journey into vulnerable ecosystems. She also took a closer look into how cities, organizations, and higher education institutions across the U.S. are implementing greener practices.

2014-2015

Bo Wang ’16 (China) “College Sports in America” Bo explored the world of college sports in the U.S. by traveling to California, Texas, and Louisiana. Bo will continue her travels over winter break.    

2013-2014

Frank Zhu ’15 (China) “Backpacking and Photography On the East Coast” Frank set out on a photographic journaling adventure by traveling to Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington DC.

2012-2013

Zhanni Gao ’14 (Singapore) “Architectures of the U.S.”  Zhanni explored architecture in various regions of the U.S., considering their historical context as well as their relationship to people by traveling to Washington DC, Massachusetts, Virginia, and California.

2011-2012

Jose David Achio Mendez ’13 (Costa Rica) “From Thirteen Colonies to World Power” David explored historic colonies and government centers in Virginia, North Carolina, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts.

2010-2011

Radka Slamova ’13 (Czech Republic) “Hiking and Photography in U.S. National Parks”  Radka explored the natural wonders of the U.S. by traveling to Utah, Wyoming, California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Illinois.

Chandara Veung ’12 (Cambodia) “Modernity and Antiquity, Science and the Arts: An Exploration”  Chandara visited skyscrapers and science and arts museums to learn more about the U.S. and its relations with Asia and Cambodia in particular by traveling to Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Washington DC, Florida, Texas, and California.

2009-2010

Wadzanai Motsi ’12 (Zimbabwe) “Evolution of Gospel Music in the U.S./Rediscovering Gospel Music” Wadzanai retraced the history of gospel music in the U.S. by traveling to Connecticut, New York, Georgia, California, Louisiana, and Tennessee.

Gizeh Becerra Becerra ’10 (Mexico) “Vestiges of the Wild” Gizeh explored national parks to learn about environmental conservation by traveling to Virginia, and New York.

2008-2009

Hai Tran ’09 (Vietnam) “American National Parks and Entertainment”  Hai investigated national parks and entertainment venues in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Georgia, Colorado, Utah, California, Oregon, and Washington.

Karuna Giri ’10 (Nepal) followed a path centered on the theme of “water”  including whale watching in Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, New York, and Illinois.

2007-2008

Saugar Sainju ’08 (Nepal) “Observing the Influence of Science and Technology on American Culture” Saugar traveled to Nevada, California, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New York, and Massachusetts. 

Eleni Tsivitzi ’08 (Greece) “Frank Gehry designed structures”  Eleni traveled to Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and California. 

2006-2007

Andriana Nikolova ’07 (Bulgaria) “Hike and Bike America” Andriana traveled to Florida, Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona.

Luzat Khandkar ’07 (Bangladesh) “Exploring Popular Ethnic Food Culture in the U.S.” Luzat traveled to Nevada, Washington, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, and New York.

Trymore Magomana ’07 (Zimbabwe) “The ABCs of America” Trymore traveled to Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, Washington DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. 

2005-2006

Jiazhen Chen,’07 (China) “Presidential Trip Around America”  Jiazhen traveled to Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Washington DC, Virginia, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Nevada, and California.

Ingrid Selechnik ‘06 (Guatemala) “Searching for and Seeing Jewish Life in the U.S.”  Ingrid traveled to Nevada, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

2004-2005

Yuliya Hedynach ’05 (Ukraine) Yuliya traveled to New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, and California. 

Ekaterina Pekarskaya ’05 (Russia) Ekaterina traveled to Illinois, Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Washington DC, New York and Massachusetts. 

Maciej Pluta’05 (Poland) Maciej traveled to New York, Massachusetts, Washington DC, Florida, Nevada, Arizona, California, Washington, and Illinois.

2003-2004

Omondi Kasidhi ‘05 (Kenya) “History, Geography, and Culture of the United States”  Omondi traveled to Massachusetts, Georgia, Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, and California. 

Yee Mon Thu ‘04 (Myanmar) Yee Mon traveled to Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Georgia, and Colorado.

2002-2003

Choedpong Khannabha ‘04 (Thailand) Choedpong traveled to Colorado, Washington DC, Florida, New York, Louisiana, and Illinois.

Andreata Muforo ‘04 (Zimbabwe) Andreata traveled to Wisconsin, California, Arizona, New York, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.

2001-2002

Swamunu Ntalu ‘02 (Democratic Republic of Congo) Swamunu traveled to Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Arizona.

Xu Wang ’04 (China) “Cross Country Biking Tour of the U.S.” Xu traveled to California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.