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Study Abroad & Global Programs receives financial gift, best wishes from local donor

Date: 5/18/2017

A significant gift from Farmington Hills resident, Ray Okonski, is benefiting students in a two-week study abroad program that explores the presence of American culture in Poland while observing the country’s history, and social and economic transformations.

The 15-day program visits Krakow, Warsaw and Zakopane, and includes short ventures into Amsterdam and Slovakia. Alina Klin, senior lecturer in Polish in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences leads “Poland: A Survey of Polish Culture,” for which students earn up to three credits.

Okonski, says Klin, learned about the trip while attending the Polish Culture Club’s Wigilia, a traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner celebration held last December in collaboration with the Friends of Polish Art, a metro Detroit educational organization that promotes the arts of Poland, its people and descendants. 

“We were delighted when his letter and gift arrived, and so thankful for his support,” says Klin, adding that the donation offsets the students’ travel costs and allows the group to expand its itinerary with a visit to the city of Gdansk and the Baltic Sea.

Recipients of Okonski’s generosity are ecstatic, to say the least, because it helps defray their out-of-pocket costs. Chesterfield Township freshman, Victoria Griffin (second from left), a co-major in Global Supply Chain Management and Public Relations with honors, has been setting aside money all year in anticipation of studying abroad. She applied the donation to the cost of her airfare. 

“At first the Poland culture trip wasn't an option, but because of (Mr. Okonski’s generosity) I am able to go,” says Griffin.  “I am sincerely grateful and excited about all the new experiences the trip will give me.”

Study Abroad and Global Programs is part of the Office of International Programs, which leads Wayne State’s global engagement by creating opportunities that foster international education and research, facilitate the exchange of individuals and ideas that promote global competencies and citizenship, and provide resources that support the expansion of the university’s global agenda.