Student Spotlight Katie Schmitz
Thu, 11/17/2022 - 10:29

Major: Global Studies (Concentrating on the region of Africa)
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Class: Senior

Favorite book and why?
"Dancing Skeletons" by Katherine A. Dettwyler because it offers an in-depth and personal look into the unique cultures within Mali and examines the biological anthropology within those cultures. The biological anthropologist who is the author also does a good job with addressing and debunking common stereotypes toward Africans.

Favorite movie and why?
My favorite TV show is "Anthony Bourdain's: Parts Unknown" because it does a good job at examining different cultures around of the world and doing so through an unbiased lens.

Why Global Studies?
I chose to study Global Studies because I believe in the importance of being culturally aware and making an effort to listen to and learn from our neighbors in other countries. I am also passionate about tackling important global issues and hope to do so through an international organization like USAID or the World Food Program one day.

I chose to study Spanish because I believe it is important to learn other languages, especially when pursuing an international career. Being proficient in other languages allows you to form more personal relationships globally with people who don't share your first language. Also, after you train your brain to learn a new language, picking up other languages becomes easier.

What are some of the best/most interesting classes you’ve taken?
One of the most interesting and useful classes I've taken at UNL is Intercultural Communication. This course provided me with essential tools for operating within a multicultural world and doing so with the utmost respect.

Development in Theory and Practice was also one of my favorite classes. It taught me a lot about how other countries, especially developing nations, operate as well as some of the key issues within these regions when pursing development. This course also showed me what development looks like between different regions, which is important to recognize. I feel like this class prepared me for my aspiring career in international development and gave me a realistic view of other countries and their situations

What are your suggestions for new majors?
My suggestion for new majors is to think of how globalization affects their daily lives and the careers they wish to go into. I expect most people will find that globalization affects their life or desired career in some way. Because of this, it is important to learn about the world around us and acknowledge that our neighbors abroad, really, are closer than we think. Also, through learning about other cultures and places you will learn more about yourself and your community.

Additionally, other majors should consider Global Studies because it offers many pathways to different careers and fields that you may have never considered before and gives you the tools to be successful in a diverse world. If you've ever been interested in a career that allows you to travel and live abroad and to make a real difference in other people's lives, then this might be the major for you!

Extracurricular Experiences:
This past summer, I completed a 5-week study abroad program in Zambia. During those 5 weeks I had the opportunity to visit numerous primary schools in different regions of Zambia and interview 6th and 7th grade students regarding health and nutrition. We also collected data like their height, weight, and arm circumference and with this information completed individualized research projects. Besides having the incredible opportunity to experience and learn about Zambian cultures, we also had the amazing experience of working alongside Zambian university medical students and forming lifelong friendships.Others highlight of the trip include seeing one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls, and visiting two national parks where we saw elephants, tigers, hippos, and so much more!

Last summer I also traveled to Tanzania for 5 weeks to build a house for a family in need through the Hope and Soul Tanzania INGO. Before the trip I created a fundraiser at my place of work and raised more than my set goal to build the house- $9,500.

For my Global Studies internship I taught English and other courses at a pre-school and daycare in Tanzania for 6 weeks. This experience at the time fell in line with my interest to teach English as a second language as a future career.

Other Campus Involvement:
I highly recommend the Peace Corps Prep Program, even if you are not considering applying for the Peace Corps. Not only does a certificate from the Peace Corps look great on a resume, the courses and requirements to earn the certificate will undoubtedly prepare you for any future career. I chose to participate in this program because I aspire to serve in the Peace Corps after graduation and saw the many benefits that it offers.

What are your post-graduation plans?
After graduation I plan on serving in the Peace Corps for 2 years, preferably within Africa. Afterward, I plan to apply for grad school and then pursue a career with USAID and eventually the United Nations.