KINGSTON, R.I., — May 10, 2011 — The University of Rhode Island’s International Business Program was the ideal opportunity for graduating senior Karolina Gaide to see the world and prepare for a career filled with international travel.
“From the very beginning I knew I wanted international business and German,” said Gaide, 23, who moved to Rhode Island from her native Latvia in 2004.
In sixth grade, Gaide learned some German and had always wanted to be able to converse in the language. Through the International Business Program, she spent a year in Germany, interning at Volkswagen in Emden and taking courses at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. She traveled throughout Europe and visited her father in Latvia frequently.
“Coming to URI was an amazing experience because of all of the things I was able to do,” said Gaide, who lives in Westerly, has a 3.4 grade point average, and also spent a semester in Japan before her year abroad in Germany. “At first I was concerned about going to school so close to home but I used the money I saved with in-state tuition to travel and have these amazing experiences. When I think about the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met, these are great times.”
As the only English-speaking intern at Volkswagen, it took some time for Gaide to adjust and hone her German skills. She worked in marketing and saw firsthand how a large, international company operates, cycling to different buildings on Volkswagen’s vast plant. She focused on event organization, working on the launch of the automaker’s new Passat. In recognition of her excellent translation skills, she was tapped to give tours of the plant when American high school students visited.
“My German language skills are so much better,” said Gaide, who is fluent in English and Latvian and rates her German fluency as intermediate. “The cultural experience was amazing.”
Gaide, who works on URI’s Kingston campus in the Office of International Education’s Study Abroad Program, plans on moving to New York City after graduation to search for a marketing job at an international company that requires international travel. She has already done her research and lined up an interview with a German corporation.
“I would love to live back in Germany and be able to travel extensively,” she said. “That would be the perfect scenario.”
She credits her German professor and advisor, Doris Kirchner, as being very influential in her education. Kirchner met Gaide freshman year and knew right away that Gaide was an exceptional person.
“Her intellectual curiosity and interest in getting to know and understand other cultures and to learn their languages led her to study abroad in both Japan and Germany,” Kirchner said. “I was impressed by her determination to integrate study abroad into her time at URI and take part in the international opportunities the International Business Program offers.”
Gaide also praised Political Science Professor Emeritus Arthur Stein for his expansive course on World Cultures and Religions. In her travels, Gaide has made friends from all over the world and is looking forward to visiting them. She became hooked on soccer while in Germany and hopes to be in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.
“I plan to be there. I want to go to the continents I have not been to yet, South America, Africa, and Australia. You’ve got to go and see it, right?” She asked with a big smile.
A true wanderer, Gaide insists that when she is in one place for a long time, she gets anxious. “I need to keep moving.
SEEING THE WORLD: University of Rhode Island graduating senior Karolina Gaide interned at Volkswagen in Germany as part of the International Business Program. Having come to Rhode Island from her native Latvia in 2004, Gaide is looking forward to a career with an international corporation that requires international travel.