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Passport to Inspiration

A gLI student holds up her passport with a smileFor GLI Fellows, all of the costs associated with obtaining a passport are covered during the program’s annual Passport Day. As part of the Beyond the Classroom experience, the GLI provides a gateway to the world, where students can order their passports, have their certified passport photos taken, and fill out the necessary documents, all in one convenient setting. Over two dozen GLI students participated in this years’ event, while other campus and community members were able to take advantage of the convenient passport processing for the day.

Providing a passport is the GLI’s first step in giving students the life-changing experiences that travelling abroad brings, and the passport itself acts as a bridge from Montana to the outside world . The event is unique, because GLI students are not only able to apply for a passport (with all the necessary parts and pieces in one place), but all costs are taken care of by the GLI program.

A free passport also provides the spark of inspiration to travel for many students who have never considered leaving the borders of the North American continent, especially as they dive deeper into the GLI program and explore their own interests and pressing questions of the world at large. Some students will journey not only to learn more about the culture they are studying, but to learn more about themselves.

“I am excited to get my passport,” says Will Matross, a GLI sophomore and participant in Passport Day. “Next summer should have me in Ireland. I will be working on a research project for the Irish Studies Department while connecting my own heritage and family history.”

While GLI sponsors the event, Passport Day wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the Missoula Public Library, the Griz Card Center, and the incredible generosity of donors to the GLI program, who give GLI students the gift of better understanding the world in which they live.