Fischlowitz Travel Fellowship

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 $5,400 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 OISA.

“The Fischlowitz Travel Fellowship enabled me to combine my dual passions of theatre and international human rights in a uniquely exploratory manner, giving me the impetus required to pursue both my interests to the fullest extent possible personally and professionally in the future.”

Mithila Iyer ’19 (India)

Application Process for Fischlowitz Travel Fellowship

The application deadline for 2022–23 will be announced in early fall.

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

  • 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.
  • 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 $5,400 ($4,700 after federal tax withholding) to cover transportation, meals, lodging, admission fees, a “safety net” for emergencies, etc.
  • Resume

All candidates must also secure one (1) reference from a Grinnell faculty or staff member, submitted via the online reference form by the application deadline. 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 OISA 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.


Diana Chege ’22 (Kenya) will visit different Black women and their kitchens to explore Black women’s experience in the U.S. in order to understand what it means to be a Black woman in America. Inspired by courses she has taken in Grinnell and her experiences with her mother in their home kitchen, Diana will visit historic, corporate, and communal kitchens to interview and learn more about how Black women view their work in these personal or corporate spaces, and what these stories reflect about American food culture as a whole.


Antonella Diaz ’23 (Ecuador) is the 2020–21 recipient of the Fischlowitz Travel Fellowship. Antonella will seek to befriend strangers by requesting to take their portrait and ask for their stories with questions like, What does it mean to be American? Her travels will take her to New Orleans, Nashville, New York City, and Los Angeles in a journey to form meaningful human connections by embracing the fear of befriending strangers and asking for their unique perspectives.


Tommy O’Donnell (UK) “Food Sovereignty in the United States” Tommy used this opportunity to explore food sovereignty in the U.S., and how different communities across the country have tackled the challenge of food sovereignty and continue to do so. His travels took him to New York, Massachusetts, Kansas, Louisiana, California, and Washington.


Mithila Iyer ’19 (India) “Minority Theatre Culture in the United States” Mithila explored American identity through the artistic expressions of marginalized people, braiding together her dual passions for theatre and human rights. Her travels took her to California, Texas, New York, and Washington, D.C.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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