Recent graduate Crystal Pihl has always had educational interests that reached far beyond her Midwest home. But it wasn't until she began her education at PSU that the windows of the world truly opened.
For Pihl, who finished her degrees in international studies and Spanish this May, it started out with a college roommate from South Korea and fascinating international conversation groups. Before long, she was hitting the road: spending a semester in Finland, taking a trip with the College of Business to Kazakhstan, and searching for humanitarian internships in Latin America.
That's when opportunity really came knocking.
Pihl got in touch with the International Organization for Sustainable Development, which recommended her for an internship with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations. Last fall, she spent a semester in the Big Apple, staying with international friends she'd met at PSU.
"You learn so much in school, but I really didn't know how the UN process worked and why it does what it does until I was there," Pihl said. "And the help my friends gave me - I wouldn't have had the same experience if it weren't for the friendships with international students I met at PSU."
Pihl, who recently returned to NYC to search for a humanitarian position that will allow her to help fight human trafficking, says her opportunities to get out into the world have taken her on a path she'd never dreamed.
"The international student representation here on campus was invaluable for me," she said. "Those relationships have changed my life forever."