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Scholar Takes His “Grit & Determination” Across the World

By January 10, 2023April 9th, 2024No Comments

Kyler Bernritter, a 2021 Wichita State University Rudd Scholar, had the opportunity to study abroad in Sweden during his Fall 2022 semester. Below, Kyler answers some questions about his once in a lifetime experience, and shares what he learned, what challenges he faced, and how the Rudd Scholarship helped in making this opportunity possible.

View outside of Kyler’s apartment window.

Where did you study abroad?

I studied in Jönköping, a medium-sized city situated in the south-central portion of Sweden.

First snow in Jönköping, Sweden.

What took you the longest to adjust to?

I think the difference that took the longest to adjust to was the various changes in how the academic system works in conjunction with the long winter nights.

Grič Tunnel entrance in Zagreb, Croatia.

What was your favorite location you visited?

I loved every location I visited, and each had its own unique charm; however, I think my favorite excursion was to Zagreb, Croatia. I loved the Mediterranean climate and the old architecture that made up the city. It was fun to walk aimlessly through the old streets and discover hidden gems (not to mention the $36 roundtrip airfare that was frosting on top of the already very rich cake).

Sweden – Norway border.

How did this experience help your professional development?

It helped me tremendously. One of the cultural differences academically was that there was a heavy emphasis on group work. In many cases, effectively all work was group based, which enabled me to develop my leadership skills and work with a wide range of people from all over the world. Additionally, being emerged into a different culture thousands of miles away from everyone I knew pushed me to grow and rely upon myself in ways I hadn’t experienced back home.

Stockholm, Sweden.

How did the Rudd Foundation support you in this experience

Though the Rudd Foundation was on the other side of the pond, they were always one email or call away. Their assistance and mentoring didn’t stop due to the distance, and though I was geographically far, in many aspects, I was closer to the scholarship than ever before. The whole team went out of their way to make sure I was adjusting to my new environment and were very flexible as I worked through the peculiarly limited methods of paying rent. And similarly to being at home, my housing was paid for and I was given a food stipend to help cover the cost of groceries. This doesn’t even begin to address all the upfront work Corri and the others did before I left to answer my many questions and, oftentimes, develop new plans and procedures due to the trailblazing nature of this experience for the scholarship.

Kaunas, Lithuania.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I want to thank Corri, Alma, Danielle, and the entire Foundation for helping make this possible. The Rudd Scholarship has taken away the financial burden of higher education which has enabled me to focus on growth and development and take these opportunities that otherwise would have been out of reach.

This experience exposed me to different cultures, people, and ways of thinking that have enhanced my worldview, while also allowing me to better appreciate the many great things we have back home. Leaving your comfort zone and fully emerging into a new culture is an educational experience unparalleled by anything else and allows you to discover new ways of thinking; and, more importantly, yourself. I hope that other Rudd Scholars will take advantage of the tremendous framework the Rudd Foundation has been developing to allow us to study abroad and that you take the leap of faith and see just how far your grit and determination take you.

Kyler is now back on campus at Wichita State University, and ready to tackle his last semester of school. He will be graduating in May with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. The Rudd Foundation family is very proud of all that he has accomplished in such a short time, and we are excited to see what his bright future holds!