Scholarship Helps Lead Student to Germany

When Evan Dunbar, a senior Management major and German minor, first heard he received the Languages Engaged Scholarship through the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages, he knew he wanted to use it to help offset the cost of traveling to Germany, but he didn’t know exactly how he was going to accomplish that goal, so he began brainstorming ideas.

Dunbar already had an internship with Stryker Corporation in Kalamazoo lined up for the summer and decided to propose a two-week trip to Stryker’s German office at the end of his internship where his interests in business and the German language could intersect.

Three weeks after beginning his internship at Stryker, Dunbar began coordinating his trip, but plans were not finalized until two weeks before his plane left the United States. He traveled to Freiburg, Germany, with his wife in August to assist the Stryker German team with its manufacturing processes.

man in a red polo standing in front of stryker world headquarters sign
Evan Dunbar at Stryker’s World Headquarters in Kalamazoo, Michigan

“I am grateful to MSU because of the way they empowered me to do something unique,” Dunbar said. “It wasn’t possible to have a perfect plan when I started the process, but they were willing to take a risk on what I wanted to achieve and ultimately helped make my dream a reality.”

During his time in Germany, Dunbar formed business connections and taught the German team American-style presentation skills. He navigated a travel crisis in German, coached employees in German, and communicated on complex technical topics in German.

“I now consider myself entirely fluent in my second language, not because the improvement was so drastic, but simply because I was able to successfully navigate these situations. I now know I can handle any others that arise,” Dunbar said.

Four weeks after returning from Germany, Dunbar was offered and accepted a full-time position with Stryker post-graduation.

For students who are interested in applying to the Languages Engaged Scholarship, Dunbar has some words of wisdom:

“These projects are limited only by your imagination and drive. At their best, they show how incredibly valuable a new language can be to your life.”

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