Guest Post: The Bradford Frost Memorial SIT Study Abroad Scholarship Fund - By Jake Byl and Jessica Santillo
There is something powerful about being in the right place, with the right people, at the right time: It changes you forever.
For us, a pivotal moment happened on a study abroad program in Durban, South Africa in 2004, when we met Brad.
The program was a field-based immersion program that, unlike many study abroad semesters, integrated students fully into local communities. That made for incredible growth, hilarious mishaps, deep friendships, and a rudimentary grasp of the Zulu language (such as “Yebo Gogo!” means “Yes Grandma!” and can be used when answering the phone).
Brad was such a profound part of that experience for us. He asked great questions. He really listened to answers. He made people laugh wherever we went. In many ways, Brad was the seasoned sage of the group because he had already done an SIT study abroad semester in Switzerland. But in other ways, Brad was like the curious child of the group who was willing to ask difficult questions or marvel over a new sight. With his mix of wisdom and curiosity, he helped turn what would have been just an interesting semester into a profound one that changed how we see the world and the people we share it with.
Like many of you, the SIT Study Abroad South Africa 2004 alumni have been struggling with how to deal with Brad’s untimely death. How to honor him, remember him, and continue the great work that he was doing. And at the same time, figure out ways to process our own emotions and connect with others who are doing the same thing. That is why, together with Brad’s friends and family, we have created The Bradford Frost Memorial SIT Study Abroad Scholarship Fund to honor Brad, and his lifelong commitment to connecting with people—whether in his Detroit neighborhood or on the other side of the world. Keeping with that tradition, this scholarship will offer promising students from public universities, community colleges, or HBCUs the chance to study abroad—students who are too often underrepresented in college study abroad programs. In fact, Brad was the only one of our cohort who came from a public university. There are no other Bradford Frosts out there, but we need more people like him.
We need to raise $5,000 by the end of this year in order for this scholarship to get started. Please consider a donation of any amount. It is a fitting activity for this time of year when we gather ourselves and look back at our year to count our blessings and mourn our losses.