December 14, 2015—
Kaila Pietila wants to push her boundaries by studying for a year in Malaga, in southern Spain. The competitive national Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is going to help her do it.
The Gilman Scholarships offer grants for academic studies abroad to US undergraduates with limited financial means. The program’s goal is to better prepare US students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.
And that’s exactly what Pietila, a fourth year marketing and management student in Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics, wants to do. “I want this to be my first step toward becoming a global citizen,” she says. “I plan to take this experience and make a difference by giving back and contributing to the increasingly interconnected community of our world, as I build my career in an international setting.”
She’s not quite sure what that career is going to be yet. “I haven’t quite figured out exactly what I want to do when I ‘grow up’ because I’m interested and passionate about so many things,” she says. “I know whatever path I take will most certainly involve people, but I’m hopeful this experience abroad will help clarify my next step.
Malaga, in Southern Spain
She’s going to Universidad de Malaga to study international relations and Spanish language. At this point, her knowledge of Spanish is limited to the basic vocabulary and phrases she learned in high school in Hartland, Michigan, “so the language barrier will most certainly be a challenge,” Pietila says. “However, I’m excited to focus on language while fully submerged within the culture through my Spanish coursework, daily interactions and travel abroad, and while living with my host family.”
What made her pick Malaga?
“Malaga attracted me with its melting pot of cultures and unique location as a pinnacle of European and African influences,” Pietila says. “It is a study abroad destination not chosen by many American students, allowing for more cultural immersiveness, but it’s a popular choice among students from elsewhere in Europe. It’s a perfect place for me to study, analyze, discuss and debate global business communication in an international setting.”
Pietila has been working in Career Services since her first year at Tech. The staff there are proud of her for winning the Gilman Scholarship—but not surprised at her success.
“Everyone at Career Services could see that Kaila was a star from the moment she started as a student assistant with us,” said Julie Way, assistant director for career development education in Career Services. “Throughout the last four years, she’s consistently gone above and beyond and exceeded our expectations. We’ve enjoyed seeing her grow personally and professionally and have very much appreciated the value she’s added to Career Services.”
Michigan Technological University (www.mtu.edu) is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.