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Top 10 Places to ‘Study Abroad’ at GVSU When You’re Broke AF

For as much as we like to push our GVSU Study Abroad program, the administration seems to have forgotten that a good chunk of the student body has to pay for tuition paycheck to paycheck. However, if you’re a broke student who’d still love to see the world, there are options for you right here on campus!

10.) Sorority Row:

Ever wanted to go to Greece? Well, GV has the perfect alternative for you: a neighborhood of five sororities and one frat house. Enjoy the sweet smell of saltwater air as you pass Alpha Sigma Phi’s house or any of the residents. You’re bound to find some unique cuisine there too. Take a week old Cheeto, set it on fire, and Opa!

9.) The LRC:

Not sure where you want to travel? Get a taste of several countries in the Language Resource Center. Between all the foreign movies, radio stations, and decorative foliage, the LRC gives you a little taste of what it’s like to travel abroad. At least, until a class is in session and you have to wait for one of the computers to free up, then it feels like an airport lobby with a B-rate movie and bitter tea, which is a real travel experience!

8.) The LGBT Center:

Want to travel to a more loving country than your own, like Canada, but don’t have the money for it? Look no further than the LGBT Center. An oasis of pride in the middle of the Midwestern Bible Belt, it’s the best place to go and chill after a long day of classes. Plus, there’s Subway and Panda Express just a few steps away!

7.) The Arboretum:

It’s the dream to see zen gardens in China or Japan, but even thinking about a trip there makes your wallet twitch. Thankfully, the Arboretum’s an affordable alternative. Just imagine that the archway is an entrance to a temple, or the little collections of flowers are cherry blossoms. Sooner or later, you’ll forget all about the suffocating weed stench and that gross couple that won’t stop making out in the hammock.

6.) The PAC:


Trying to afford to go to the Sydney Opera House is impossible, but visiting the Performing Arts Center is a close substitute. The theatre space is nowhere near as glamorous, but it’s a theatre with a stage, which is better than nothing. You can even imagine senior recitals are a performance from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

5.) International Night at the Connection:

Everyone knows the best thing about going abroad is the food. Thankfully, the Connection’s willing to accommodate students whose pockets aren’t deep enough to travel outside America. Sure, the food looks like the leftover ingredients of a Laker Bowl with hot sauce, but it sure beats spending thousands of dollars just to try authentic Ramen.

4.) The reading room at the MIP Library:

Visiting the Library of Alexandria is any scholar’s dream. The best alternative Grand Valley can offer is the reading room on the library’s fourth floor. It’s the quietest place in the entire building, and it feels the most like an actual library. Just imagine the heat from the fireplace is actual desert air, and it’s perfect!

3.) Qdoba in Kleiner:

Sure, there’s the burrito place under Kirkhof if you want to feel like you’ve gone south of the border, but making the hike to Qdoba helps with the feeling of going abroad. Besides, Qdoba is right on the outskirts of Freshmanland, which feels like traveling to an entirely different country all on its own. At least you can have nachos to distract you from the cringe of lanyard-wearers.

2.) Area 51:

Wouldn’t it be great to study on the moon? Well, we’re not there yet, but Area 51 in downstairs Kirkhof is probably the closest you can get. Yeah, it’s just a dark room with a little stage and some tables, but it sounds really cool with live entertainment. How many people can say “I’ve been to Area 51?” Nobody needs to know you don’t actually mean the moon or Nevada.

1.) The clock tower:

Most people would die for a chance to see Big Ben in person, but why go thousands of dollars in debt when you can see a perfectly good clock tower right on campus? Sure, it’s nowhere near as tall, and the Roman numeral four is printed wrong, but at least the chimes still ring! Every 15 minutes. Without fail. Until you go nuts.

It’d be nice to travel outside the country, even if it’s just for a few weeks. Unfortunately, a trip costs more than what your organs can make on the black market. At least Grand Valley has options so you don’t have to sell an arm and a leg to get a taste of studying abroad!

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