I expanded my cultural understanding through international travel

By Alexa Ganzeveld ’21

Growing up in Waverly, Luke Everhardt ’21 had many on-campus experiences prior to becoming an official Knight. But it was the combination of academic programs and campus atmosphere that eventually led him to enroll.  

“With it being closer to home I still had some familiarity. It was a big transition from high school to college and being at Wartburg helped with that process,” Everhardt said. “Wartburg worked the best for me compared to other small, private colleges.”

Everhardt began his college career as an international relations major with a German minor, but later picked up political science to broaden his education.

“I’ve always had an interest in politics, but I was more into the general international side of things, like foreign relations and learning about other parts of the world. I discovered that there was a lot of overlap between international relations and political science and decided to do both. Learning about political science has definitely helped me become generally more aware of politics. It’s something that I enjoy learning about, and I think it’s good to be informed about politics because it affects our everyday lives,” Everhardt said.

One of Everhardt’s favorite courses was Comparative Politics, which compares political systems in countries around the world.

Luke Everhardt

“I really enjoyed taking that course because you can see how other systems compare to the United States. I was able to see how things are different and give comparisons as to how things could be changed to make a country more effective or make the political system more effective. I really enjoyed learning about different political systems around the world. It definitely gives you more insight into the culture and society of those countries,” Everhardt said.

In the course, students partner with a classmate to write a paper that examines political climates of other countries.

“We examined six post-Soviet countries and looked for potential ethnic conflict in those countries. We presented that paper at a conference, so that was a really cool experience that I had,” Everhardt said.

Presenting at a conference wasn’t the only unique experience Everhardt had at Wartburg. During his freshman year, he traveled with a group of students to Germany to better his speaking skills and expand his cultural understanding.

“We stayed in the city of Marburg in Germany, but visited others areas as well. While we were there, we were all placed in different courses at a school in Marburg. Each student enrolled in different levels, according to their proficiency in German,” Everhardt said. “That was a really fun and cool experience because there were also people from other countries who were at the school as well.”

On campus, Everhardt was involved in many clubs and organizations that expanded his learning beyond the classroom, including International Club, Global Connections, the African Representative Council, and German Club.

After graduation, he will volunteer with Urban Servant Corps, a faith-based nonprofit in the heart of Denver, Colo.

“The program has a small group of people who live in a house in Denver, and each person is assigned to work at various nonprofit organizations that work in areas of social concern, like homelessness, environmental sustainability, refugee and immigration services, and working with underserved youth. I’ll see where it takes me after that,” Everhardt said.