Sophomore hopes to visit all seven continents by graduation

Elie Grassley learns about other cultures through international travel


Used with written permission from Elie Grassley

A photo from sophomore Elie Grassley’s trip to Antarctica. According to Grassley, she hopes to visit all seven continents by 2021, her graduation year.

Kate Schneider

Sophomore Elie Grassley said she started traveling internationally when she was a baby. She said her love for travel comes from observing how differently people around the world live.

“I think I was around 3 or 6 months old when I first traveled out of the country. It’s always been something that I’ve enjoyed. It’s just so fun to immerse yourself into different cultures — see how different people live,” Elie Grassley said.

Elie Grassley’s dad, John Grassley, said she first considered traveling to all seven continents a few years ago, and over time it became a realistic opportunity. She has now traveled to six continents, every one except Australia.

“I think it was three or four years ago. She talked about (traveling to all seven continents) as an idea and a goal. After we went on a few trips and it was going to be a reality, so we decided to keep going with it,” John Grassley said.

According to Elie Grassley, cultures and laws around the world vary greatly from those in the United States. In order to travel to certain countries, she had to learn their laws and parts of the language.

“I’ve learned that every country is different and there’s a lot of different culturesdifferent ways of doing things,” Elie Grassley said. “A lot of places you don’t have the same freedoms as the U.S., so you have to know the laws before you go or know some of the language because some people don’t speak English.”

John Grassley said he hopes that by traveling the world, Elie will learn there are people living very contrasting lives from her and that she will be able to appreciate other cultures more.

“(I hope Elie will) experience and see all of the different cultures and different types of people that live all over the world,” John Grassley said. “We are not the only ones in this world. (I want her) to be able to respect and visualize and see everyone else, and see how other people live and how they deal with things.”