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Northwest Missouri State University



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Northwest alumna Kayla Warner attended Bond University in Australia as part of the AustraLearn study abroad program. Today, she is Bond’s Faculty of Business marketing assistant.


Study abroad experience leads to career for alumna

Philip Gruenwald

A 2010 Northwest alumna, Kayla Warner, joined the throng of thousands of Bearcat graduates last spring, but the path to her first career at Bond University in Gold Coast, Australia, makes her story unique.

Warner attended Bond in summer 2009 as one of four Americans enrolled as part of the AustraLearn study abroad program. Today, she is Bond's Faculty of Business marketing assistant and works closely with a team of five others - from New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa and Japan.

"I really wanted the challenge to meet people from all over the world," Warner said about studying abroad. "And you really do."

Warner's journey to Australia began in Northwest's Study Abroad Office. She first considered the University's study abroad program after attending study abroad fairs and hearing positive reviews from personal friends that piqued her interest.

Study Abroad Coordinator Jeaneth Puriel worked closely with Warner to find a good university in Australia for Warner's summer trimester.

"I try to match what students are going to need as far as degree requirements," Puriel said. "When they're trying to figure out where they want to go, I try to narrow down the options that are going to be suitable academically for them."

Summer programs are limited in the type of universities that Warner and Puriel considered, so the final choice came down to Bond and a university in Sydney. Warner chose Bond, which enrolls 4,800 students, despite her original plans to avoid a university smaller than Northwest.

"I wanted to give Bond a chance, and I was happy that it was by the ocean," Warner said. "It's definitely the most amazing place. I wouldn't have changed a thing."

A few weeks into the program, Warner found a welcoming circle of friends, a boyfriend and a new appreciation for Bond. After a short while, she was on the phone with Puriel, arranging for another trimester down under.

"When I first talked to Kayla, she knew she was going to go to Australia. That wasn't a question. What she didn't know is that she was going to extend her trip," Puriel said.

After completing the trimester at Bond in summer 2009, Warner came back to her home in Cameron to see her family. Before long, though, she was in another airplane bound to Australia.

Immediately after she finished her last trimester at Northwest, she moved back to the Gold Coast and started an internship at Bond in summer 2010.

"I knew a couple months into being at Bond that I was going to come back as soon as I graduated," Warner said.

A brief internship term at the Bond Faculty of Business' Marketing Department extended into a one-month employment contract, which turned into her current position as marketing assistant in the Faculty of Business Marketing. She also serves as a senior residence fellow, similar to a hall director, so her lodging and food plan are provided.

Warner said her future could include a few years in Europe or a few more in Australia, but she will always call Missouri her home.

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