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2023 ACIS Scholarship Winners

February 28, 2023 Sarah Bichsel 2 Comments

This was a big year for the 2023 ACIS Scholarship. Not only did we open up the submissions to include any type of creative expression, we also offered the opportunity for student travelers to enter, even if they did not yet have a trip scheduled. It was incredibly difficult to choose as entries came in from across the country in the form of songs, paintings, dances, music videos, and more. In the end we chose these submissions for their beautiful artistic expression which truly captured the essence of the phrase “Travel Changes Lives.”

Grand Prize Winner: “Nomad” – Recipient of a $2,500 ACIS Travel Voucher

Digital Painting Inspired by a Photograph, Source Unknown

By Luciana K., North Carolina

Artist Statement: “Through this piece I wanted to depict the introspective emotions that come from stepping away from the repetition of every day life through travel. Having the ability to travel, whether that be across the world or a few miles outside city limits, has the capability to motivate someone towards change but can alter our perspective of the world around us.”

5 Runners Up – Each will receive $1,000 toward their current ACIS Trip or a 2023-2024 Future Itinerary

“Sit Down and Enjoy”

Watercolor Painting

Mariah P., Kansas

Artist Statement: “No matter where you are, we all eat. One of the greatest things about travel is getting to “sit down and enjoy” the food of that region. I think food is the fastest way to connect with someone and meet with them on a deep emotional level. The dinner table is where the action happens, and by sitting down and understanding someone new, we can live our lives with a better attitude, preparing us for a better future.”

Tell Me You Haven’t Changed”


Annabella M., Washington

Artist Statement: “My poem, “Tell Me You Haven’t Changed,” is passionate and embraces the theme that travel changes lives. In the poem I use sensory details and imagery to convey the emotion in traveling the world and in experiencing new things. I often effectively use the form of a rhetorical question, to drive the theme in the poem. I demand them to tell me that they haven’t changed. I connect to poetry and feel I can truly express myself in regard to the theme in this form.  Traveling is a valuable life experience that allows for personal growth, encourages cross-cultural interaction, and inspires people in ways that can’t leave a person unchanged.”


Violin Composition

Yuuto I., California

Artist Statement: “Travel is not just about visiting places you’ve never been before. It is the act of cultural immersion, the act of rediscovering yourself, and the act of fulfilling your dream. In my original composition, “Voyages,” the piece opens up with calm atmosphere and melody. This represents “pre-travel.” The song soon transitions into “during travel,” where waves of excitement overflow one’s mind as they explore new things, people, and cultures. The last melody seems like a repetition of the first melody; however, they are not completely similar. This “post-travel” reflects how one’s mind was changed through gains earned from precious experiences.”

Reminiscences to a Stranger”


Hannah G., Texas

Artist Statement: “My piece is a deeply personal and introspective narrative, recounting the circumstances that made travel a vital component of my life. By illuminating the harrowing obstacles and starkly contrasting this with the interactions had and lessons learned that made such a journey of self-discovery worth it, I hope I effectively conveyed how “travel changes lives.””

“Adventure Awaits”

Original Song

Erin M., Alabama

Artist Statement: “”Adventure Awaits” is an original song inspired by the stories of a friend that spent the past 2 years living in Africa. I have witnessed the transformation of my friend from someone that cared about nail color and hairstyles to someone who cares more about sky colors and local customs of her friends and neighbors. I have not been to Africa yet, but I am traveling through ACIS this summer to France and hope to be changed like my friend. Travel adventures truly change lives as we experience other customs, cultures, food and sites.”

Sarah Bichsel

Sarah Bichsel

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