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Abby Schletzbaum wanted to study abroad so she could experience the “complexity and turbulence of the ‘real world.’” 

She got more turbulence than she bargained for.

Schletzbaum, a junior preparing for a career in emergency management, was in Nepal — researching earthquake preparedness — when the country experienced a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

“I never expected my education to be quite so immersive,” says Schletzbaum, who is back to taking classes on the Lawrence campus. 

Her academic advisors have helped her prepare for a career in emergency management by combining majors in public administration, international studies, and math — and they encouraged her to study abroad for an immersive learning experience.

“I think it’s important for students to study abroad — especially in a non-Western country, even for a short time,” says Schletzbaum. 

Why? An increasingly globalized world. “It’s in our best interest to challenge our cultural beliefs and to understand the commonalities of human experience, so we can serve each other,” she says.

Although Abby Schletzbaum’s study abroad trip was cut short, she continues her research with contacts she made in Nepal. And she wants to return — this time as the leader of a skill-based service learning trip, bringing engineering and structural support as the country rebuilds. 

For more information or to help with Schletzbaum’s post-quake efforts, contact

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