You may have seen the BEYOND: Diversity banners and advertisements around campus, and Honors student Martin Healey is the person behind the program.
Martin is 21, from Germany, and studying international relations while at Ferris for this academic year. He also works as the BEYOND Program Manager through the Office of International Education.
According to Martin, BEYOND’s goal is to highlight a different topic every year, and this year’s is diversity.
“Our goal is to have students embrace diversity by facilitating discussion about diversity and setting up small events and bigger events where there’s discourse about diversity,” he said.
Martin said that he essentially works to coordinate BEYOND: Diversity events, such as panel discussions, speakers, and activities to get students to think about diversity outside of classroom settings.
“It’s going really well,” Martin said. “I’m enjoying my time. I’ve been given a lot of opportunities here, like organizing a big $15,000 event. Eventually the responsibility is just given to you, and you just start working and have a lot of free room to make decisions and prepare. And in the end, it’s your responsibility if it works out or not, and I really like that.”
Martin’s decision to join Honors stemmed from his desire to challenge himself as much as possible during his time here.
“I didn’t have difficulties with the coursework, it wasn’t very hard, and I thought, okay, maybe there’s something more,” Martin said. “I should make the most out of the Honors Program and really try to use my possibilities here.”
Going to school in another country for a whole year seems like a huge commitment, but Martin said part of studying international relations means you have an inner desire to see what the world can offer.
“Studying for me was always like, I’m away from home, but that’s okay because I’m coming back every now and then,” Martin said. “But it was kind of a new part of my life, and when I came here, obviously I wanted a new experience.”
Ferris and Big Rapids are known for their strong community feel, which Martin has definitely noticed and appreciated.
“I’ve really enjoyed it here,” Martin said. “There are really friendly people. Just the first or second day we were here our car broke down, and immediately people came to help us. So that was kind of the first experience I had. And the friendliness and openness of the people here really continues to amaze me and I really like that.”
One thing Martin doesn’t necessarily love about living here is the fact that Big Rapids is lacking access to an essential dietary staple.
“One thing that annoys me is that you don’t have any good bread here,” Martin said. “I don’t like it; it’s too soft. I’m kind of a bread snob. If you’re from Germany, you have bakeries on every single corner and it’s just amazing.”
Other than Big Rapids’ inability to cater to his culinary preferences, Martin has enjoyed his time here and is currently looking into Master’s programs. He said he doesn’t necessarily have any location preferences and is open into attending school in many places, including Germany, England, U.S., Japan, and South Korea.
“Let’s see where life takes me,” he said.