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Learning Opportunities

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VIPP offers participants a wide variety of learning opportunities and experiences beyond the VIPP curriculum, such as field trips, signature lectures, and cultural events. Read more below about ways you can take advantage of learning opportunities during your time at MSU.

Cultural Events and Field Trips

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VIPP believes learning should be fun! We offer many cultural events to participants where they can learn more about American cultures and lifestyles simply by having fun.

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Our year-round cultural events are also family-friendly: all VIPP participants and their families are welcome to join and make friends. Our cultural events include cross-country skiing, a maple syrup festival, Thanksgiving potluck, and football tailgating.



field trip1.jpgLocal field trips are often organized by either VIPP instructors or VIPP staff for hand-on learning and socializing. 

Destinations include MSU facilities that may not be accessible otherwise, the Michigan Capitol, Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center, Michigan Historical Museum, Library of Michigan, Fenner Nature Center, and local K-12 schools.


VIPP is always working to develop exciting field trips that will take participants to popular destinations in Michigan and in the U.S. for cultural and historical learning. Additional charges may apply.

Brown Bag Lunch Seminar

brown bag series 1 side-by-side.jpgA brown bag seminar is an American practice in which people gather during the lunch hour and learn something new while eating.

VIPP provides two or three brown bag seminars each semester to provide casual learning opportunities to our participants. Brown bag seminar topics are pertinent to safe and healthy living at MSU and in Michigan. The seminars help our participants smoothly transition to American life. Topics we have covered include US K-12 Education, MSU Police, How to Drive Safely in Michigan, Michigan Tourism, Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy, etc.

Conference Travel Grant

VIPP is pleased to provide a conference travel grant worth up to $600 for VIPP participants. 12-month GPEP and SGPEP program participants are eligible to apply if they plan to attend academic or professional conferences, workshops, or other relevant events related to professional development during their program stay. The travel should be within the domestic U.S. For details of eligibility and application process, download a conference travel grant application form (PDF). To read about some of our past travel support recipients and the conferences they attended, click here.

Other Learning Opportunities

Free Language Courses

In addition to VIPP's language courses, there are several opportunities in the East Lansing area for you to improve your English language skills.

If you visit the Volunteer English Tutoring Program website you can find Lansing community resources for free language courses. Make sure to check the time and place before you start attending any class. 

Off-campus and community resources include:

• East Lansing Public Library 
• Friendship House 
• Spartan Village Community Center 

Other volunteer English programs can be found at local churches such as Trinity Church and University Lutheran Church.


Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 150 years. MSU now offers free online courses through a website called “Coursera.”

All of the courses found on this site are non-degree, completely online, and free! These courses act as supplemental material for a class you may already be taking or as a trial run for a subject or field you may be interested in.

The goal of this website is to encourage students and young professionals to step out of their comfort zone and try something new at no extra cost. Here’s a small list of some of the courses offered by MSU through Coursera:

  • Business of Games and Entrepreneurship
  • Principles of Game Design
  • Photography Techniques: Light, Content, and Sharing
  • Music Theory
  • Script Writing

All of the courses offered on this website have a start and end date, but users are welcome to work through material at their own pace. Once you enroll, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun.

If you need additional time to complete a course – not a problem. Course schedules are flexible and you will be provided 180 days of full course access and Certificate eligibility (see terms and conditions for each course). Self-paced courses have suggested deadlines, but you won’t be penalized for missing deadlines as long as you earn Certificate within 180 days.

If you complete a course successfully, your electronic Certificate will be added to your “Accomplishments” page – from there you can print your certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. Note that the Course Certificate does not represent official academic credit from the university.

There are already more than 20 courses offered through this site taught by professors in the Communication Arts and Sciences College, the MSU College of Music, the MSU School of Journalism, the Broad College of Business, as well as the MSU Innovation Hub. If you would like to enroll in classes or if you'd like to learn more make sure to visit for more information.