Brett Olsen '17

Program: Bosnia and Herzegovina Summer Internship

Major: Global Business Leadership

Minor: Political Science

Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?

I chose to study abroad because I desired an independent international experience. The BiH program interested me because work for an organization in another country. I also wanted to embrace an ambiguous journey, and the BiH internship program was the perfect fit

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.

My cultural experience that left a lasting impression was the importance of genuine conversation in the BiH culture. The people I met during my experience always took the opportunity to have a coffee and share great conversation. I enjoyed the genuine connection shared with so many different individuals during my time there. The people I met along the way offered first class hospitality.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

My overall experience included working during the week. I worked for a Non-profit organization at odd hours during the week. The work was rewarding because our mission was to provide homeless and underprivileged families with basic necessities. I also worked for a Non-Governmental Organization that ran a local permaculture farm. I enjoyed my time interning for these companies, and formed close relationships with my co-workers. I had to opportunity to travel many places and countries along the way. The Balkan region has remarkable natural beauty, and it made my travels unforgettable.

Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?

My summer internship experience left me with a better perception of the similarities shared my humanity. I was able to connect with people I never would have imagined, and take in new perspectives. My experiences in BiH enhanced my desire to continue to travel and experience new cultures in the future.

What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?

I would strongly suggest all students to be open to all study abroad opportunities because it will be an experience of a lifetime!