Since her freshman year at Ohio State, Katie Andraschko has volunteered at Camp Oty’Okwa in Hocking Hills, Ohio, helping at-risk youth and children who have been victims of violent crimes.
Andraschko was a unit leader and responsible for all girl campers and counselors. She said her goal was to build confidence and help the girls, who range in age from 5 to 17, feel powerful.
Andraschko, who wants to work with children who are victims of trauma, said volunteering has taught her patience and de-escalation tactics among other skills that will assist her in the future. “I think the summer was the best training I could have ever gotten,” Andraschko said.
Andraschko said giving the kids one week of childhood is the most rewarding to her and has kept her coming back for the past three years. “I couldn’t imagine my life without volunteering,” Andraschko said. “I think that it has forever changed my life and it is just something that you have to try out.”
What do Brazil, Zambia and Germany have in common? Well here’s one small thing: Lovette Azap visited all three countries within six months.
In Zambia, she met the country’s first president, went white water rafting and rode elephants.
Azap is a future health care worker who dreams of working for Doctors Without Borders. Her time studying abroad gave her new perspective on how to treat her future patients.
“I was able to expand myself outside of my American viewpoint and increase my global awareness of the different impacts culture has in medicine,” said Azap. “For a lot of STEM majors our learning isn’t just science, it’s learning about how to be a human and make connections with our patients.”
Azap plans to use her Ohio State education to help those in impoverished nations and those without the tools to help themselves.
The second floor of the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus is where Nathan Baker has spent time conducting research in Ohio State’s Language Sciences Research Lab, part of COSI’s Labs in Life exhibit.
Working alongside Ohio State researchers, Baker, a third-year in psychology at Ohio State Marion, analyzed the way people process and learn language by performing hands-on demonstrations with the public and conducting interviews after. In the future, Baker said he wants to pursue a career in industrial psychology, and getting experience with research as an undergraduate student will help that goal.
“It gave me a lot of experience with designing interviews and conducting experiments,” Baker said. “My project was specifically on learning in a lot of ways and I think that ties in directly to what I want to focus on.”
Baker received a $4,000 fellowship from the Office of Undergraduate Research, allowing him to conduct his language research. “Normally, I’d have to work three different jobs in completely unrelated fields to pay for college over the summer,” Baker said. “The chance to have funding while doing something that’s important to me and in my area of interest was huge.”
Hydraulic power and motion control
Not many college students get the keys to a $44 million rollercoaster, but Stephen Budweg did while interning at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.
Budweg worked the night shift at the amusement park this summer, repairing and inspecting rollercoasters, including the Millennium Force and The Maverick. This was the first time Budweg, a second-year in hydraulics and power machines, got experience working with the theme park side of hydraulics.
From working on smaller rides to eventually being in charge of his own rollercoaster to inspect, Budweg said this internship has opened doors for him.
“My biggest takeaway was how that industry works and the connections I’ve made there,” said Budweg, a student at Ohio State's Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, Ohio. “I’ve made connections with not only [Cedar Point] but the rest of the Cedar Fair Parks.
“It gave me a better idea of what I want to move forward with after I graduate.”
Jess Calo, a third-year in public health, spent eight weeks interning with Doctor Care Anywhere, a digital health care platform, in London, England.
Calo found the internship with Doctor Care Anywhere through Fisher College of Business’ Summer Global Internship Program, which helped match her with internships that fit her interests.
During her internship, she worked with the National Health Service development team working with the government to launch a pilot program through the public health system in England.
“I thought this was a really great opportunity to make a connection within business and get the experience in an actual office place rather than only doing public-health-based things,” Calo said.
Bella Caruso was excited to go to Tel Aviv University during the summer of 2019.
“I chose this experience because the program was specifically a Middle Eastern conflict studies program and my biggest area of interest is in conflict studies and then conflict response,” Caruso said.
Caruso did not know Hebrew, which made things such as grocery shopping a challenge. “I love cultural immersion. I love throwing myself in situations that I’m absolutely not prepared for,” she said about embracing the new culture.
From this experience, Caruso said the best advice she can give to anyone thinking about studying abroad is to “grow from what you don’t know.”
Industrial and systems engineering
Fikunmi Idowu traveled to Akokwa, Ghana, joining a group of Ohio State students at an orphanage where they tutored children, got water from a nearby river and assisted with other chores. The experience also enabled her to tour Elmina Castle, a former slave-trading post in Cape Coast and learn more about Ghanian history.
“I learned so much about Ghanian culture and also myself,” Idowu said. “I also discovered another side of Ohio State from meeting the people I went on this service trip with.”
The trip was part of a Buck-I-SERV initiative, and funded in part by a fellowship she received from the Second-year Transformational Experience Program. After her trip, Idowu said she has a different outlook when it comes to volunteering, and is eager to continue helping and connecting with those in need.
“For me, I always want to make service a part of my life,” she said. “People give to you and you should give back to your community.”
One evening, Megan Edelman found herself having dinner at the U.S Ambassador to Canada’s residence, talking to different political figures — including U.S. senators — while interning in Canada.
Edelman, a fourth-year in communications, was a part of the Canadian Parliament Internship, a five-week program that allowed students to work in the office of a Member of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. Her time in Canada consisted of writing and editing material sent to the Member’s Riding, writing a press release about herself and shadowing a member of parliament. “It felt like the work I had done mattered and was important,” Edelman said.
While Canada was hosting the G7 summit, she saw French President Emmanuel Macron meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
During her weekends, Edelman went canoeing, hiking, exploring Ottawa and even traveling to Quebec City. “I learned I was much more independent than I thought,” she said. “I was able to branch out of my comfort zone.”
Emily Feltz studied abroad in Ireland and Jordan for three months on the Foundation for International Education’s program “Conflict and the Struggle for Peace: Explorations in Ireland and the Middle East.”
The first part of the trip was spent in Dublin, Ireland, studying peace and conflict theory, using the Northern Ireland Conflicts as a case study. The second portion of the trip was in Amman, Jordan, using the skills learned in Ireland to look at regional conflicts in the Middle East. Feltz also spent four weeks in an intensive Arabic language class.
“I want to work in diplomacy, and you can study these conflicts from the United States, but it’s hard to fully understand the environment and the people involved in them unless you are talking to them or seeing it all in person,” Feltz said.
Feltz, a fourth-year in political science, said because one her instructors was a Jordanian ambassador to Israel, she was able to visit the Israeli Embassy in Jordan and speak to the ambassador. “It’s a great experience to get to [ask questions to the ambassador] yourself and not just read about it,” Feltz said.
Carra Gilson found the perfect intersection for her major in public health and minor in Spanish during a nine-week trip to Heredia, Costa Rica, through the International Studies Abroad program“Heredia, Costa Rica: Spanish Language and Latin American Culture.”
During the first five weeks, Gilson took Spanish classes at a local private school and was able to complete her Spanish minor. She continued the next five weeks in a service learning program where she worked in a nursing home and then a private clinic, finishing her public health capstone experience.
Gilson was a recipient of the Wolfe Study Abroad scholarship, which she said allowed her to continue for the four-week service learning portion of the trip.
“I made so many incredible connections and not just with people but connections to the public health field and in a global mindset,” Gilson said. “I am so excited to bring back [those experiences] to graduate school classes and my undergraduate classes that I’m finishing and hopefully future work opportunities too.”
Divya Krishnagiri, a third-year in biomedical engineering, worked as a research assistant at the Rehabilitation Technology and Haptics Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, this summer.
At the VCU Rehabilitation Technology and Haptics Lab, she worked with a researcher to create devices for individuals with visual impairments. Specifically, Krishnagiri worked on making a design program called Solidworks accessible to those who are blind or have a visual impairment.
Krishnagiri, who is co-president of the Biomedical Engineering Society at Ohio State, found the research position when she spoke to researchers from VCU at a Biomedical Engineering Society conference. Soon after, she was offered the research position.
“It solidifies my desire to be a PhD student; it gave me an idea of what it was like being in a lab for that amount of time,” Krishnagiri said. “It made me realize I could do it for five to six years if I want to get my PhD.
Michael Lee conducted research for three months at a top German university by working with cold spray, a technology used to coat surfaces of metals with particles of other metals.
Lee was one of 13 Ohio State students to receive a DAAD RISE (Research Internships in Science and Engineering) fellowship that allowed him to conduct research with a PhD student from the Technical University of Kaiserslautern in Germany
At Ohio State, Lee studies mechanical engineering and has focused on material property analysis. But this summer, he gained experience with physical systems in manufacturing, a field related to his interests.
“I think the experience [in Germany] is going to lead to a smooth transition when I decide to eventually go corporate and join a company,” Lee said.
While Lee’s weekdays were mostly spent in the lab, he was able to travel almost every weekend visiting cities in Germany such as Frankfurt and Berlin and venturing outside the country to Paris and London. “Being able to [live and travel abroad] alone for the first time was a great thing and I feel a lot stronger from that,” Lee said.
Women, gender and sexuality studies
Faith Lewis believes it’s important for students of color to travel abroad. Not only for themselves, but also to help teach others about cultural differences.
As a first-generation student, Lewis wanted to be challenged and thought Chengdu, China, would be the best place to grow. She was pushed to think outside of a Western framework and focus on different facets of privilege.
“I loved it, I didn’t want to come home,” said Lewis, “You could see so much culture on display, both with similarities and differences [from the United States].”
Lewis wants to focus on public health by facilitating community-based initiatives. More specifically, she wants to improve health care for black and indigenous peoples.
Who would believe that a summer abroad would influence the rest of a person’s life? Emma Newell’s educational track took a turn when she spent the summer in Ireland working and taking classes.
“I discovered that I want to go to graduate school in another country. It made me realize I want to be in the international community,” Newell said. “I want to pursue a master’s in international development at the University of Amsterdam.”
Newell used her Second-year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) funds — which are available to second-year students to create a learning experience they otherwise might not have — to make a unique learning experience for herself. As an agricultural communication major, she wanted to connect to her minors, human development and international affairs, so she went to Ireland and worked in a retirement community.
At Ohio State, “the classes you take and the programs you have the opportunity to get involved in are so interconnected,” she said. “No matter your interest area, there is something for you.”
International studies and Romance studies
Adrian Niedermann used his double major in international studies and Romance studies to intern abroad for Proglobal, an agricultural product wholesaler, in Argentina.
Niedermann, whose focus is Spanish, Portuguese and Italian languages, worked to translate Proglobal’s online materials and website in Spanish and English[HP1] .
“The biggest takeaway was gaining crucial practice with my Spanish,” Niedermann said. “As much as I can practice it in class and with my family in the States, nothing compares to actually living in a country where they speak a different language.”
While abroad he was able to travel to other countries and cities in Latin America, including Chile and Buenos Aires. One weekend, he traveled to visit his grandmother who lives in Brazil.
“It was really cool to practice Portuguese and carry on conversations in Portuguese with my grandma and her friends,” Niedermann said.
Geography and French
With majors in geography and French, it’s no wonder fourth-year Isabella Niemeyer visited Normandy, Morocco, Vienna, Berlin and Belgium — just to name a few countries. Her time in Europe also included a camping trip in the Sahara Desert.
“I came to Ohio State for the study abroad program,” Niemeyer said. “I knew they had a really rich [study abroad] program, and I needed real-world experience and to get out of my comfort zone.”
During her time in France, she found her new favorite restaurant and a great bakery near her apartment. Niemeyer immersed herself in the culture — “there’s no better way to learn a language.”
Now, Niemeyer has the courage to apply to jobs in big cities and different countries. Niemeyer said everyone can study abroad as long as their mind is open and they’re willing to challenge themselves.
Not every internship has desks with treadmills, foosball tables or unlimited Coca-Cola products. But for Nick Payiatis, a fourth-year in marketing, this was just another day at the office.
For two months, Payiatis worked as a data strategy and analyst intern for the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta. In his role, he was responsible for analyzing Coke’s consumer data.
“It was really the culmination of doing hands-on work and understanding how data analytics can translate into the marketing world and the future of technology,” said Payiatis, who connected with the opportunity through a Fisher College of Business Career Fair.
Not only does he say he learned valuable skills he couldn’t have elsewhere, but Payiatis said the company culture encouraged growth. “They wanted me to be better, not only during my internship, but preparing me for after the internship and entering the job force.”
Management information systems
What’s better than finishing a minor? How about doing it while in Barcelona? Natalie Perrone was able to finish her Spanish minor while studying abroad.
Perrone’s host mom was instrumental in helping the Buckeye adjust to the culture shock. Perrone not only improved her Spanish speaking skills but also was able to travel every weekend.
“Traveling became easier because every weekend I went to somewhere else,” Perrone explained. “Responsibility-wise, I was always conscious of what I’m doing.”
As for her time at Ohio State, Perrone wants students to get involved in any of the hundreds of clubs or activities Ohio State has to offer as early as possible. Perrone said, “I’m from Michigan,” she joked, “so anyone can do well here.”
Evolution and ecology
A change in major prompted Anthony Ursetti to fulfill his dreams to travel and learn more about himself. The opportunity to study the fundamentals of wildlife management in Tanzania proved a perfect fit for the student who wants to be a wildlife biologist and work in conservation.
“When I decided to go abroad, I knew it was time for me to travel to a place of my dreams and seize an opportunity to learn about myself and my future,” said Ursetti, who's trip was supported in part by the Fund for Education Abroad.
The landscapes, wildlife and people Ursetti interacted with brought him clarity both personally and academically. “I'll never forget the beauty that I encountered in Tanzania,” he said. “The local faculty and community members were some of the most welcoming people I have ever met and they made a huge impact on my life and mindset.”
“Since studying with the School for Field Studies, I have had a clear view for my future path and have never felt so certain that I am heading in the right direction.”
The experience abroad bolstered this conservationist goals to protect humanity and the planet that we all share. “Being a global citizen entails having empathy and compassion for people, regardless of location, nationality, or religion,” Ursetti said. “We have to work together in order to protect our planet and ensure that we can thrive as one human race.”
Economics and Spanish
Growing up in small town in Ohio, Jaret Waters was challenged when pushed outside of his comfort bubble. He credits studying abroad with giving him confidence and helping him find his passion.
“The growth I have seen in myself — from being the child clinging to my mother's leg on the first day of first grade to the fearless adult boarding a plane by myself to the Southern Hemisphere — has empowered me with a sense of confidence that has spilled over into every other aspect of my life,” said Waters.
After studying abroad in Chile and using his Spanish skills in the summer of 2017, Waters was motivated to study Portuguese before embarking on a Fisher College of Business Global Projects program to Brazil in the summer of 2018. Although the program wasn’t language-based, he found himself practicing language in daily life situations uninhibited by the fear of making mistakes.
A Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship granted by the Center for Latin American Studies during the summer of 2019 allowed Waters to immerse himself in Portuguese language study and the culture of Brazil. “I can say with certainty that my FLAS experience has completely shifted my plans for the future,” he said. “I have discovered a passion I have for Latin America and have decided to move to Brazil following graduation.”
A true global citizen, Waters is poised to create cultural exchange opportunities, “I cannot wait to serve as a cultural ambassador between the U.S. and Latin American both in my personal and professional life going forward.”