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June 28, 2018
By Grace Niemeyer, communication assistant
Twenty Northwest Missouri State University students embarked on a study abroad experience to Dublin, Ireland, last month and recently capped the experience with six-week internships.
Dr. Deborah Toomey, assistant professor of business, created and led the trip through Academic Programs International. Northwest’s Melvin D. and Valorie G. School of Business leads a study abroad experience every year, but this was the first with an internship component.
“I see participating in study abroad to be the most life-altering event you can complete during your college career,” Toomey said. “Being in a different country, even for a short time, requires you to grow as a person, to become more empathetic and more globally aware. I told the students less than 12 hours after arriving in Dublin that they have already changed because of this experience. You cannot learn this from a book, you cannot learn it from a lecture, you must experience it for yourself.”
Students completed two in-class orientation sessions and three online discussion before departing. Upon arrival in Ireland, students completed two weeks of cultural immersion with mornings spent in a classroom setting and afternoons visiting popular tourist locations. Morning session topics included pre-assigned discussions on how to do business in Ireland, Irish sports and leisure, religious impacts, entertainment, music and Irish culture.
Students began their six-week internships after the two-week immersion program. Internship placements included the finance department of Trinity College, sales for a local radio station, medical device marketing and sales, human resources, social media and engagement.
For Kaili Sager, a junior business management and marketing major from Omaha, Nebraska, the experience was her first outside the United States. She interned for a digital marketing company and wrote for College Times.
“Being able to have the opportunity to have an internship and fully engulf myself in the Irish culture has been amazing,” Sager said. “You really get to learn a lot more rather than just visiting all the tourist destinations.”
Students kept four-day work weeks, which provided them with time to explore Ireland and other areas of Europe during weekends.
“Three-day weekends allowed me to have more cultural experiences than if I had just stayed in Ireland,” Kayleigh Pergerine, a senior industrial psychology major from St. Joseph, Missouri, said. “I was able to travel to Amsterdam and London. I got to see canals, the Van Gogh Museum, the British Museum, Abbey Road Studios, and so many other beautiful buildings and people.”
Sager added, “The world is truly so much bigger than we may think. There are so many amazing places and people I got to meet while abroad. I’m going to come back to the states with an open mind and really make sure I am making the most out of each day.”
Toomey hopes students gained a deeper understanding of the opportunities and potential for their future careers.
“I hope they continue to explore and learn about others, and understand that it really is the best way to do business,” Toomey said.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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