Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

PEO | A Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity

By Ashley Stone

In spring 2016, Sam Areman, Nebraska soccer alumna (2015) and letterwinner, utilized PEO funds to complete a digital marketing internship with Production Paradise in Barcelona, Spain. Her experience, as recounted in her own words below, shows the impact found within the "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity. 

Through the Post-Eligibility Opportunities (PEO) Program, I completed a two-month digital marketing internship with Production Paradise, a visual media company in beautiful Barcelona, Spain. While in Europe, I was able to travel to Morocco, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Iceland. The experience was absolutely incredible, and I’m so thankful the PEO scholarship allowed me to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My biggest takeaway wasn’t only the practical knowledge gained from the experience that greatly prepared me for my current job as a marketing specialist for the National Research Corporation, but also the opportunities I had to step outside my comfort zone. While being uncomfortable is sometimes difficult, it forced me to grow, providing and equipping me with the confidence I need to take on any endeavor that comes my way.  

Montserrat “Stairs to Heaven”

I went into my internship in Barcelona not knowing what to expect. While the city became my home for a brief moment in time, I didn’t know anyone in Barcelona or anyone interning with Production Paradise. My apartment was a block away from “La Sagrada Familia,” one of the most breathtaking and exquisite cathedrals in history, and my internship office was in “the World Trade Center” building, right on the main port of Barcelona, surrounded by water on three sides. My trek to work each morning was not as easy as I expected it to be, which included a combination of walking for 20 minutes then riding the metro for another 20 minutes.

La Sagrada Familia

World Trade Center - Barcelona

While I was constantly reminded by friends and family back home to be aware of my surroundings, especially in lieu of recent terrorist attacks around the world, I truly never felt threatened as a female traveling solo. (And, while Barcelona is one of the worst cities for pickpockets, I was never pickpocketed!) Yes, bad things are inevitably happening in our world, but there are good people everywhere, too. Through traveling, I was able to interact with people from vastly different cultures and demographics, and when it really comes down to it, we are all similar in more ways than we think.

The most humbling experience I had while abroad – and probably the most outside my comfort zone – was on a weekend excursion to Morocco. I shared a meal with a farmer in a rural Moroccan village, where adequate healthcare and schooling were nonexistent. Yet, the farmer and I had more in common than one would think. We had family, we had friends, and we had love; and that’s really all that matters. I left Morocco with a similar feeling that I had as a student-athlete returning from Nebraska’s NoFilter service abroad trip to Guatemala in summer 2015 - I was humbled and remembered what truly matters most in life. None of these revelations would have happened if I hadn’t stepped outside my comfort zone. And, thanks to PEO and Nebraska’s service trip to Guatemala, I was able to have new experiences and expand my horizons.

Reflecting on my experience, I went into my internship experience a bit nervous as I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life professionally when my experience was over. I didn’t know anyone, was unfamiliar with where I’d be residing for the duration of my internship, and had no idea what experiences I would have. Fast-forwarding two months to the end of my internship, I left with a clear direction of what I wanted my life to look like professionally and the tools and skills I needed to make those dreams a reality. I left with a handful of lifetime friends from around the world, a taste of different cultures, and a more worldly perspective on life.

Overall, PEO is an incredible opportunity that allows recent graduates/letterwinners to follow our passions and have once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Nebraska truly cares about developing student-athletes, not solely for athletics, but, more importantly, for life. I cannot say thank you enough to the Nebraska Athletics Department for the endless opportunities and support I had as a student-athlete and continue to have as a letterwinner alum. 

- Sam Areman, Spring 2016 PEO Participant 

Chefchaouen, Morocco



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