Student chooses WKU for study abroad opportunities
- Author: Mary Bidwell
- Author: Wednesday, July 8th, 2020
For Zena Pare, a junior from Alvaton, the fundamental question at the start of her college experience was: “How can I study abroad multiple times?”
A recipient of the Cherry Presidential Scholarship, she came to WKU because she was able to use her award to study abroad. “There were no limits on where I could go,” Pare said. “Mahurin Honors College [faculty and staff] cared if I came here and truly wanted me to succeed.”
Pare didn’t have long before she embarked on her first international adventure. Before arriving on campus, she reached out to the WKU Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning about achieving her dream. She joined the Semester at Sea (SAS) program as a freshman, a foundational experience that shaped her perceptions and career trajectory. As her journey took her through Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America, she was able to explore different cultures and forge new friendships with the support and care of SAS staff.
She recalled evenings spent exchanging stories with fellow international students. She shared memories of growing up in Kentucky, and they told stories of life in their respective home countries. As Pare notes, “making friends from all over [the world] made me evaluate my perspective on things. It may not have always changed how I felt, but I can better understand their perspective and came out of the program with a more open mindset.”
With a triple major in international business, economics, and corporate and organizational communication and a minor in American Sign Language Studies, Pare seeks a degree with an international focus and an impact on people.
“I want to do meaningful work and I also want to say that I am helping someone,” Pare said.
During fall 2019, Pare volunteered at the International Center of Kentucky as a Refugee Case Management Intern. She assisted full-time case managers with reviewing client files and supported clients throughout the resettlement process.
“From this experience, I solidified my interest in working with people from many backgrounds. I want my work to be impactful and meaningful, and the International Center of Kentucky helped define and connect this with my majors,” Pare said.
As she looks to the future, Pare seeks to continue this global focus with more adventures abroad and internships in her chosen fields. She has already traveled abroad to Costa Rica on a second international trip to learn more about sustainable economic development in the region. She plans to attend the American Business School of Paris for a future semester and continue studying abroad throughout the rest of her undergraduate career. This summer, she is interning with the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis in St. Louis, Missouri.
While Pare has not entirely determined her future career path, she is considering a career with an international business or organization, U.S. Department of State, or the Federal Reserve System.
At WKU, Pare is involved with a variety of organizations across campus. She supports future Hilltoppers as an HonorsTopper for the WKU Mahurin Honors College and as an Admissions Ambassador for the WKU Office of Admissions. She is an Honors Freshman Orientation Retreat (H4) counselor and serves on the Honors Development Board. She holds leadership roles in Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority and is recognized as a member of the Order of Omega Greek honor society. She is also the president of WKU Women in Business and is part of Christian Student Fellowship.
WKU's Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning (SAGL) serves the WKU community by engaging students, faculty, and staff in diverse, educational, and cultural experiences through faculty-led, exchange, consortia, and other study abroad opportunities. While study abroad opportunities for the fall of 2020 are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can explore future programs and funding options with a Study Abroad Advisor. Visit https://www.wku.edu/studyabroad/ to learn more.