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Sept. 27, 2022

Students gain academic, international experiences through summer study abroad programs

By Kourtnie Stenwall, communication assistant

Seven Northwest Missouri State University students took their education internationally during their summer study abroad and internship programs.

The summer abroad programs ranged from a few weeks to a few months and gave students cultural experiences in Ireland, Spain, South Korea and Singapore. With advisement from faculty Northwest’s Study Abroad Office, the students tackled the challenging and rewarding benefits of studying abroad.

Emilie Swaerd

Emilie Swaerd

For more information about studying abroad, contact the study abroad office at or 660.562.1367.

Emilie Swaerd

Singapore, Singapore

Swaerd, a senior international business major from Oslo, Norway, took two four-week-long courses at Singapore Management University to gain knowledge and experience in business. Though studying abroad is required for her major, she has always enjoyed traveling and taking in experiences that are new to her.

“Being from Europe, it’s a lot easier to travel around to different countries, and then I really enjoyed the challenges of moving (to Northwest) my freshman year,” Swaerd said. “When I picked my major, that was also a deciding factor that I got to study abroad for it.”

Swaerd wanted to study in Singapore her freshman year but was disappointed to learn Northwest did not offer a program there at the time. When she visited Northwest’s study abroad fair last year, however, she connected with an organization that offered a summer program in Singapore. 

“I was able to build a network across five different continents, and through this network I’ve gained new perspectives on not just business and work but life in general as well,” Swaerd said. “Getting to know people who come from such diverse backgrounds helped me reflect on my own background as well, and I have a better appreciation of our global world.”

Nathan Armbrust

Nathan Armbrust

Nathan Armbrust

Barcelona, Spain

Armbrust, a senior criminology and Spanish major from Omaha, Nebraska, spent seven weeks abroad in Barcelona, Spain, to advance his learning of Spanish.

“My entire world view has shifted incredibly,” Armbrust said. “I got to meet and know many Spanish natives along with the surrounding history and architecture of Spain.”

Armbrust had been searching for an internship but jumped at the opportunity to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to study the Spanish language and culture. He encourages future study abroad students to explore their interests abroad.

“The world is so large, and it is never all at once asleep,” Armbrust said. “So many individual lives with individual dreams exist, and I cannot comprehend that much human sentience. The Earth is beautiful and ought to be explored.”

Hailie Mentz

Hailie Mentz

Hailie Mentz

Dublin, Ireland

Hailie Mentz, who earned a bachelor’s degree in international business and marketing at Northwest and is now working toward her master’s in business management, had never been on a plane until her summer abroad. Yet, the native of Maysville, Missouri, chose a two-month internship in Dublin, Ireland, to gain more experience for her career and future travels.

“Getting work experience and my internship was really nice,” Mentz said. “It made me want to work internationally and live internationally. It opened my mind up to realize there are opportunities to do that. I never would have known, coming from such a small town, that was even a possibility for me.”

Mentz interned with a digital marketing company, Escalate, where she wrote blogs, helped with client photoshoots and created content calendars for clients. She felt prepared for her internship from previous work with Knacktive, an advanced elective course at Northwest that replicates the creative demands and the team-based atmosphere of a professional, technology-oriented marketing and communication agency.

“My Knacktive team worked together to completely rebrand a company and then presented it to their board of directors,” Mentz said. “I did almost the exact same thing while I was in Dublin. Having that real-world experience in working with the different departments and seeing how everyone’s work comes together to create content really helped me be more versatile throughout my internship.”

Jenna DeLaRosa

Jenna DeLaRosa

Jenna DeLaRosa

Seoul, South Korea

Jenna DeLaRosa, a senior theater performance major from Omaha, Nebraska, spent one month abroad in Seoul, South Korea, studying the Korean language as well as learning traditional fan dancing and K-Pop dancing. DeLaRosa always knew they wanted to study abroad, but a newfound love for Korean culture led them to choose a program in South Korea.

“It was really nice to go to another country,” DeLaRosa said. “I’ve been studying about Korea for a while, and seeing it all in person was really nice. It was cool going to different sightseeing spots and learning about the culture more hands-on than just through the internet.”

By trying a summer abroad program, DeLaRosa sought to reap the rewards of being immersed in another culture for a few weeks.

“It definitely helps you have a broader view on the world and know that the way we do things here isn’t necessarily how things are done in other places,” DeLaRosa said. “It helps with a better understanding of other cultures.”


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215