By: Audrey Norvell
I try to maximize every opportunity and at Colorado State University, the possibilities are truly endless. Currently, my focus and passion is very much global. Four semesters ago I could never have imagined how many international, social justice, and business engagements I would be, and have been, part of.
Working two departments at the Office of International Programs, I am able to see and hear first-hand the impacts that international experiences have on students, faculty, and staff. There are countless benefits and I find cross-cultural communication and compassion to be such a valuable skills in current society. With my work, my sense of wanderlust exponentially grows every day. The time is rapidly approaching for my unique experience and the opportunity to venture abroad for seven months.
At the end of my next (fifth) semester at CSU I will have volunteered abroad, worked abroad, studied abroad, and personally traveled abroad. This past winter break, in January 2015, I was fortunate enough to participate in CSU’s first Service & Sustainability Alternative Winter Break Program to Nicaragua. Partnering with the non-profit Bridges to Community, a close group of 16 of us traveled to the small community of Rosa Grande where we were completely immersed in the culture. Overall, our group built 3 latrines and 3 stoves, gardened, made local cuisine, and learned of the history and local challenges of the area. After an authentic, local experience, our group turned the focus 180-degrees and became tourists. We visited Masaya Volcano National Park, Ayoyo Lagoon, Fort the Masaya Market, El Coyotepe Fortress, and the Cathedral of Granada.
The structured nature of this program was a great stepping stone to get me started on international travel again (my last journey across seas was to Japan when I was 9) and to prepare me for my summer plans. This summer, after 4 weeks of backpacking the larger western region of the United States, I will turn my attention to Europe. For my work abroad, I will serve as a group leader, supervising and engaging German students as they study English at a university in Bournemouth, England. For 8 weeks I will be arranged with a home-stay and accompany campers to famous sights around the UK such as the Stonehenge and London. After this placement, I will transport over to Prague, Czech Republic where I will be studying international business for the fall 2015 semester.
Although I have never been to Europe and am traveling solo for some gaps in my plan, I am ready to challenge myself in so more ways than I can even prepare for; the first challenge will be meeting the limit of one carry-on of 22-pounds for my flight to Munich. From personal experience, discussions around the international office, and through close interactions with education abroad alumni, I just know how much travels changes you. I find that one can always be guaranteed a quality conversation and connection when discussing travels. I am anxious for this phase of my life and to see how my experiences impact my future. Next time I’ll write, I’ll be able to report on numerous countries visited, numerous cultures experienced, and numerous adventures completed.
— Audrey Norvell is currently a junior studying Business Administration, dual concentrating in Organization and Innovation Management and Supply Chain Management with a certificate in International Business. She works as a student assistant for International Initiatives and College of Business Global Opportunities in the Office of International programs. Audrey is on the board for the Global Business Network, is a committee executive in the Business Diversity Leadership Alliance, is on the COB Career Management Center Student Advisory Board, is in the Honors Program, and is a member of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, No More Injustice, and Fair Trade University.