Claire Borchers, International Studies and Spanish major, Ross School of Business minor
“Pursuing Bonderman also represented my determination to more fully engage with what I've studied - as an International Studies/Spanish double major, I had always planned to study abroad long-term. But I found myself in a bit of a catch-22; competing for Michigan’s Track and Cross Country teams would come to mean that leaving Ann Arbor wasn't feasible. I was also drawn to the independent and boundless nature of Bonderman. For a long time, my life has been dictated by academics and athletics, realms that offer consistent community and require subscribing to a considerable degree of structure. I’m grateful for how it has shaped me as a person, but I’m drawn to the freedom and independence of Bonderman for what it can teach me about myself and the world.”
Abigail Kennedy, Philosophy major, Business Administration minor
“I know that this fellowship will be one of the most challenging adventures I'll go on in my young adult life. I hope that throughout this journey I will become a stronger, wiser, and more independent person. I also hope to become more open-minded about the world and more inspired to make it a better place. Bonderman, for me, is an opportunity to begin in a new direction. For much of my life I had created a plan for myself that was safe and expected. I still have the same end-goal, of working in international law and on humanitarian projects, but Bonderman gives me the chance to re-think my path for getting there. If I truly want to make an impact on the world, I ought to get out there and start learning about it."
Tariq Mekkaoui, Biomolecular Science major, English minor
"My view is limited to my experiences at University of Michigan. With the experiences in towing intersectionality of identity, I understand that cultures and people carry complex identities, but I am lacking in the insight of a global outlook on identity. As stated on the Bonderman Fellowship website, 'Fellows will engage with cultures, people, and areas of the world with which they are not familiar, providing an opportunity to develop a new global outlook on life'. Understanding that there are people with experiences I do not understand is what excited me about the Bonderman Fellowship. As a Bonderman Fellow, I hope to learn from others about culture, people, and life."
Bronte Munson, Psychology major
“During my time at Michigan, both in the classroom and out, I’ve since been exposed to a variety of perspectives, beliefs, and different life experiences. This has been humbling and exciting and has taught me more than I could have imagined about myself and the world I’m part of. I applied to Bonderman, because it was an opportunity to continue growing, learning, and exploring on the global scale, in the unique way only solo travel allows. As a psychology major, I’m fascinated by others. I’m most looking forward to the many people, fellow travellers and locals alike, I will have the opportunity to connect and converse with, and surely learn from.”
All of the Bonderman Fellows for 2019-2020 will officially depart in August 2019.