“Growing up, I sang opera and learned songs from countries I had never heard of in beautiful languages that I wish I understood. This curiosity fueled my passion to explore the world around me with a constant need to break out of my bubble and learn all I could. 

The Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) is one of the main reasons I decided to transfer to the University of Michigan, and I have certainly continued to fuel my passion for global studies and exploration through not only classes but real-life experiences. The language requirement was a blessing and pushed me to continuously work on exposing myself to a culture and language other than my own. The most memorable experience I have is studying in Grenoble, France through Michigan and living in the Alps for the summer. I was able to truly connect to a small community and apply my classroom knowledge in real-time. I will never forget the sense of pride I felt being able to articulate my thoughts and feelings in another language, something I have always wanted to accomplish. 

Without PICS, I would have never pushed myself to study abroad and continue my studies in French even after returning back to school. I am so grateful for the abundance of diverse classes which have allowed me to take a class focusing on every part of the globe (a long-term goal of mine) and will never forget the memories and people I have met along the way. “

Arielle Sturr

BA International Studies (International Security, Norms and Cooperation); BA Political Science ‘21

Hometown: Rochester Hills, MI

Affiliations: Kappa Alpha Pi (pre-law fraternity), TA for Ross School of Business, UROP, Greek Life 

Future plans: “I would like to make an impact on the world through digital optimization. In this new age of COVID-19, it is increasingly important that we work together to make digital resources accessible for everyone.”

Fondest memory of her experience in PICS: “My favorite memory is sitting in the small desk style chairs in the lobby of the PICS building and studying there for several hours. Although this moment may not be as big as studying abroad or traveling somewhere exotics, I enjoyed sitting with people who were studying the same topics as me and genuinely wanted to learn more about the world around us.”

Is there anything you would like to express to your peers, parents, professors, or others?: “Growing up in a relatively small town in Michigan, I felt very content with the world around me. I had not traveled much, but I thought I had a decent understanding of the international system. I was so wrong. The bubble I was raised in never exposed me to the hardships and triumphs of the world and what every nation has to offer. I was never exposed to my impact on the world or how I could make change. The Program in International and Comparative Studies has given me more than I could ever have expected. I will leave the Program not only with an academic understanding of the international system, but with real world experience and memories of learning more about how incredible and complex our world is. I am so thankful to have burst my bubble so quickly and will never again reign myself in and stay content with the knowledge I have. I will continue to grow and learn and listen in order to understand the people and places that make our world so incredible.”