Hoos in the summer

U.Va. students share their favorite summer stories

While some students take the summer as a chance to relax, many University students have been volunteering and working across the globe. A few students shared their summer experiences, both abroad and home in the states.

Gabby Busche and Tyler Burd

On the day of the semi-finals of the EuroCup, more than just professional soccer was being played. Over in Düsseldorf, Germany, third-year Commerce student Gabby Busche and third-year Engineering student Tyler Burd jointly organized a soccer clinic aimed at integrating refugees in the community with local German children. Puma sponsored the camp, donating soccer balls and cleats.

“Based on the refugee situation in Germany, the German government is trying really hard to integrate [refugees],” Busche said. “So they don’t allow for the refugees to be separated or isolated.”

One of Busche’s favorite moments was when one of the children at the camp kept pointing to her ring finger. Eventually, a translator came over and explained the boy was asking if she was married. The clinic included around 25 of these refugee children, their families and about 30 local Germans. Busche and Burd said they chose soccer because of the universality of the sport.

“The goal was to have [the refugees] be able to integrate into the local culture,” Burd said. “The day ended in scrimmages. The kids would be walking off the field having their arms around [each other’s] shoulders or talking with one another.”

Michael Rueda

Fourth-year Commerce student Michael Rueda interned with the Roush Fenway racing NASCAR team, rotating between work in marketing, business development, communications and social media promotion. His jobs included many different assignments, such as finding potential sponsors for the Roush Fenway in locations the team would be racing in.

“I’ve always been a really big sports fan and I looked into a bunch of sports to see if there were any internships available in sports marketing,” Rueda said. “Working in sports is definitely not always glamorous. When you’re behind the scenes it’s tough work but I enjoyed it and confirmed that [sports marketing] would be something I’d want to get a job in.”

Sarah Brotman

Third-year Batten student Sarah Brotman first fell in love with Israel while there on Birthright, which spurred her desire to return this summer through a program called Onward Israel. The program placed Brotman in a position where she shadowed and assisted the CEO of the non-profit organization Alternative Actions, helping to plan weekly talks and debates between Israelis and Palestinians.

“[He was] one of the few people who would actually acknowledge that the things that happened to them are unfair. [It was about] getting Palestinians to accept that Israelis aren’t monsters and Israelis to accept that Palestinians aren't monsters,” said Brotman. “It taught me a lot about myself.”

Brotman said even if she does not figure out exactly what she wants to do after college, she now knows she wants to incorporate her work in Israel in some way.

“The older you get the easier it is to make excuses about why you shouldn’t do something,” Brotman said. “I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the best two months of my life.”

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