Global Understanding in Practice: University of Nebraska Study Abroad

Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink
Photo courtesy UNK.

Daniel Kritenbrink is a Nebraska native and a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Kearney. While a student at UNK, he participated in a short study tour to the Soviet Union. He spent the following full academic year at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan. Study abroad is the capstone opportunity for demonstrating global understanding. Today, he is The United States Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Vietnam.

Krittenbrink credits his travel abroad experience for developing more than his language skills. He cites the development of insights into Asian cultures, networking, collaboration, and problem-solving. UNK Professor of History Dr. Doug Biggs agrees, “International travel is the best education possible. For the first time in students’ lives, they are the minority. International travel teaches our students to become much more self-reliant and self-confident. These experiences greatly expand their world view and greatly change who they are as people.” Dr. Biggs led the Nebraska Semester Abroad program to the Czech Republic in spring 2018 and will take another group in fall 2019.

All University of Nebraska campuses offer opportunities to travel and study abroad. Information about programming is found at the Education Abroad Office at each campus. Travel programs may be as short as ten days or as long as an academic year. Proficiency in another language may or may not be a requirement. Study programs include a wide array of topic areas, from the sciences to the humanities.

Regardless of the topic of study, the length of program, or the location abroad, students report similar successes. Calvin Vong, a student at UNO, says, “Studying abroad offered me the opportunity to grow as a person and to see the world in a different perspective. I learned to embrace change, learn more about myself and recognize that there is more to life than I previously thought. Being exposed to so many cultures abroad helped me gain a better understanding of how people in other countries think and act. After studying abroad, I feel refreshed and more determined than ever to achieve my goals.”


(credit: “Engaging the World: 2019 Global Engagement report” from the University of Nebraska Office of Global Engagement.  View the full report here. )