For senior Boston Kistka, a summer semester in Australia’s Sunshine Coast changed her career direction.
Kistka enrolled at UB on a pre-med track. After taking a few classes, however, she realized medicine wasn’t a good fit and switched to psychology. Later, after taking some education courses, she discovered her interest in teaching and added an education minor.
The summer before her junior year, Kistka had the choice of one of two study-abroad programs: the first was in Italy with a focus on art, the other in Australia, exploring the country’s education system. She chose Australia because she wanted to learn more about international education.
“We must have visited 12 or 13 different Australian schools in the first two weeks alone,” she says. “The curriculum, activities and even the look and feel were all different from American schools. It was incredible to discover what countries from around the world can learn from each other. This trip made me realize I want to pursue international and higher education as a career.”
Since her time in Australia, Kistka has gained more experience in higher education and international studies. This past summer, she was a teaching assistant for Upward Bound, a federally funded program designed to help high school students from low-income families succeed in college. She’s also an am-bassador for UB’s Office of Study Abroad and gives campus tours for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
Kistka is thankful for the support that enabled her to participate in these experiences: the President’s Circle Scholarship for Study Abroad, the Roberta A. and George E. Stevens Fund for International Experience, and the UB Fund for the Honors College.
“I wouldn’t have been able to afford this study-abroad program if it weren’t for the scholarships I received,” she says. “Donors may not realize it, but they’re giving more than just money. That trip changed my educational direction, career goals, personal interests and, ultimately, my life. That’s powerful.”