Jennifer Landrey

Jennifer Landrey
Jennifer in "Le Jardin Japonais", just steps from her residence in Toulouse, France. (Photo: Rebecca Bonkowski)

An email changed everything

Jennifer Landrey was in the midst of five weeks of intensive French classes in Quebec City when she got some news that changed her life. Sitting in her dorm room at the Université Laval, she opened an email from the student aid office at UVic and froze. Then she began to cry. Bursting with pride, she called her mother to share the happy moment.

Jennifer was delighted that she had won the Grace and Harry Hickman Scholarship. But the generosity of the award shocked her even more. Immediately her mind skipped forward to the things she could do knowing she had this financial support, to the pipe-dreams that were no longer out of reach.

A skill to set her apart 

Jennifer loves to write and travel, so she’s aiming towards a career that combines both. She knows travel writing is a competitive industry. She plans on acquiring a skill that will set her apart—becoming bilingual in French and English.

A few months earlier, Jennifer was grappling with a proposed budget for an eight-month exchange in France. After totaling up the costs of flights, passport, visa, rent, groceries, and all the travel opportunities in Europe she wanted to make the most of, she stared at the spreadsheet and wondered how she could make it happen. She began applying for the limited scholarships open to students in her program.

Reaffirming ambitions 

Now she knew this scholarship, named after Professor Hickman, who was a lover of languages and strong Francophile, was going to make all the difference to her balance sheet. Not only that, but it changed her entire outlook on the trip. Her plans grew to embrace volunteering in a seniors’ residence, an internship in Germany, and side trips to a total of 14 European countries, all of which fed her creative imagination.  

Afterwards, Jennifer says she had a newfound drive. She felt assured that her chosen craft was valid and her ambition to become a bilingual travel writer was reaffirmed. 

When Jennifer reflects on the donors’ generosity, it motivates her to continue chasing opportunities. Back in Victoria, she’s working as an editor for the Martlet university newspaper, is taking a concurrent second degree, majoring in French, and is eagerly awaiting 2017, when she hopes to be part of UVic’s proposed first ever travel writing course in Nicaragua.