Gamas goes global

By Amanda Duchsherer
Digital Communication Specialist

MINOT, N.D. –  Although a study abroad internship interested Mary Gamas, she always assumed it wasn’t in her future. It turns out life had a different idea.

“This August I was an orientation leader. I remember my freshman year, walking into the studying abroad seminar, and thinking, I want to study abroad. That never happened,” the Minot State criminal justice senior said. “When I was walking with my group this fall, I was thinking in the back of my head that I’m going to want to go again but it’s not going to happen. I only had one semester left and really had everything kind of planned. Unless they had an internship, it wasn’t going to work. And then they had an internship.”

It wasn’t just any internship, either. The opportunity fit in too well with Gamas’ future for her to ignore.

“I will actually be interning in Madrid, Spain, at a law firm there. The law firm primarily works in human rights work, which is what I’m planning on having a career in so it’s really a wonderful opportunity for me,” she said. “It’s crazy how perfect it seems. It’s been a wonderful, exciting experience. I will leave in January and be there for three months.”

After her initial conversation with Erin Charley, Minot State study abroad coordinator, that August day, Gamas gathered more information before starting the application process. The Minot State Office of International Programs helped set her up with a program called International Studies Abroad, or ISA.  When she arrives in Spain, Gamas will attend a three-day ISA program about bridging cultures before settling in with her placement family and internship. The ISA will continue to support her through her time overseas.

While this will be the Minot native’s first trip to another continent and longest time away from home, she feels confident about the upcoming endeavor.

“It’s good to have everyone in my corner,” she said. “The faculty in my department, in the criminal justice department, have been overwhelmingly supportive. The study abroad office has been amazing. It’s exciting, but also a little surreal.”

As the 2019 fall semester passed, Gamas worked on fulfilling her final requirements at Minot State so she can focus solely on her Madrid experience this spring. With minors in music, honors, and law and legal studies, and a concentration in philosophy, there was a bit to do.

“Just a few things, just tipping my toes in a few pools,” she said about her wide array of interests.  “I’m glad I took so many classes that helped me get to meet new people, experience new ideas, and I always like to challenge myself and try and learn more from different perspectives, so this was a good opportunity to do that. If I had more time, there are plenty other minors that I would add.”

She’s also spent time studying Spanish history and legal terms to help get her up to speed for her internship.

“None of the Spanish studying programs I’ve been using typically cover legal terms for some reason,” she laughed.

In Madrid, Gamas will intern from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays with weekends free to explore. While viewing local architecture and tasting, and hopefully learning how to cook, local cuisine is high on her list, neither hit her number one weekend goal.

“I want to travel in a couple other European countries, too. My big one that I really want to go to is Amsterdam, I want to check out the Hague — or the international court of justice — I mean everyone goes and checks out courthouses, right?”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 01/02/20   

» More MSU News