Adventures Abroad and At Home
Grace Tam ’22 calls Valparaiso, Indiana, home but always sought adventure and learning beyond the Midwest. Thanks to creative opportunities to travel during her college years, Grace discovered what being a citizen of the world means to her.
Currently Grace is studying at La Universidad Veritas in Santa Rosa, Heredia, in Costa Rica. She has been immersed in business and engineering concepts to deepen her passion for her newly adopted major and diving into how she can make the world a better place.
Grace was drawn to study in Costa Rica because of the country’s national commitment to sustainability and its environmentally conscious citizens. This mindset and investment in the future of the entire country was especially appealing to her.
“One of my most interesting courses in Costa Rica is about sustainable development and environmental awareness,” Grace says. “I learned how businesses can take environmentally sustainable and conscious decisions for surrounding areas and businesses they work with and even implement those actions and decisions through their supply chain to make an impact.”
An integrated business and engineering major with a Spanish minor, Grace has embraced the challenges of learning in another language and living with a host family.
“Staying with my host family is amazing. I’m treated like a member of their family, which I would have missed out on if I was staying in a University residence hall,” Grace says. “And, my host mom makes the best food!”
Study Abroad was always in Grace’s plan at Valpo. It was not necessarily an easy path to navigate because she changed majors and colleges, but Grace made it a priority and found the flexibility to make it work.
“I found that Valpo offers a lot of opportunity for travel, and I’ve really sought chances to explore,” Grace says.
In the past three years, Grace traveled to Las Vegas with the Valpo chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers for a concrete convention; Mexico City with St. Teresa’s Catholic student center on a mission trip to build connections and volunteer; Guatemala with WAVES (Working Across Vocations Everywhere through Service) to install a solar panel system for a health clinic; and now Costa Rica for a semester abroad.
When she returns to campus, Grace is excited to find her place in the College of Business community. As a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council, she has contributed to helping the College of Business find ways to improve the student experience with her contributions. She is also interested in exploring ways to invite more College of Business students into the student organization WAVES, to increase opportunities for inclusion and participation for additional majors and interest groups.
“All the trips I’ve taken have really influenced me,” Grace says. “Valpo is just one corner of the world, and I found a lot of opportunities. If you are persistent, you can discover the opportunities that will impact you for life.”