Wartburg has all the opportunities you need

By Abby Denault ’25

Opportunities are plentiful at Wartburg, and Mariah Ambrose ’25 is doing her best to take advantage of every one of them.

During summer 2022, Ambrose headed off to Italy to gain experiences that will help set her apart when she begins searching for internships and full-time jobs in business administration, where she has concentrations in international business and international relations.

Through the college’s partnership with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), Ambrose spent a month studying and exploring in Rome, where she lived in an apartment with other students from around the world.

“My class was about the culture and the religion of Italy because it’s so complex. Like the Vatican is its own country within Italy. It’s a very religious country and is interesting in how that operates,” Ambrose said.

In addition to her class work, Ambrose took time to experience Italy’s culture and cuisine both on her own and through preprogrammed tours.

“I really recommend doing tours because, especially with the language barriers, some signs you can’t read, and they’re really important to understanding where you are and the historic events that have taken place there,” Ambrose said. “I found those experiences rewarding.”

In addition to learning about Italian history and culture, Ambrose knows her time in Rome will be beneficial in her potentially globe-spanning career.

Mariah Ambrose in Italy

“In international relations, you have to travel and interact with people who do not speak the same language or have different cultural standards. I come from a very diverse background already, but being pushed into an environment where nothing is the same really helped me learn to adapt to different cultures. The experience allowed me to gain those professional skills.”

Though the experience was worth it, Ambrose did have to put in some effort during the planning process to ensure she got the most out of her time in Rome. But she didn’t have to do it alone; she had the help of Kathleen Sihler, Wartburg’s study away coordinator.

“Kathleen is the biggest supporter for study abroad on campus. She’s the person who has all the facts and is going to give it to you straight. Studying abroad comes with additional costs, but she helps you work through those dynamics. I got super close with her. She’s easy to talk to, so definitely make her your best friend,” said Ambrose, who was able to secure a Gilman International Scholarship with Sihler’s help. Students who are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant can receive between $100 and $5,000 through the competitive application process.

Ambrose already has begun researching her next opportunity, working with Sihler to apply for a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), a Gilman scholarship opportunity worth up to $8,000, with hopes of going to Korea.

The Critical Language Scholarship program is an intensive summer study abroad opportunity for American college and university students to learn essential languages for America’s global engagement, such as Korean. The program requires a year of prior study in the language, so Sihler helped Ambrose meet this requirement by finding an opportunity to take Korean classes at the University of Northern Iowa.

“I have a passion for learning Korean and just getting more involved in the Korean lifestyle and everything that way. I’m super interested in the Korean culture.”

The experience is another to add to the list of opportunities that Ambrose has found at Wartburg. She attributes her success to the community fostered at Wartburg.

“Wartburg has all the opportunities you need,” Ambrose said. “There’s this value in community, which I know is said a lot, but it’s true because we’re so small. If one person doesn’t have the answer, they’ll lead you to the person that does. With a big institution, I know that’s not always the case.”

Students interested in study abroad should visit www.wartburg.edu/study-abroad or contact Sihler at kathleen.sihler@wartburg.edu.