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Huskers Head Abroad

By Ashley Stone

This summer five alumni athletes will board planes headed to France, Peru, and Spain to be the first participants in Nebraska's Post-Eligibility Opportunities (PEO) program to use funds for study abroad experiences.

Those participating in experiences include:

     - Matt Gilbert (Cross Country): Barcelona, Spain
     - Jennie Laeng (Gymnastics): Cusco, Peru
     - Jacob Olson (Cross Country): Barcelona, Spain
     - Nicole Schwery (Swimming & Diving): Lille, France
     - Coleman Tokar (Gymnastics): Cusco, Peru

While abroad, participants will attend classes on human mobility regarding artificial limbs rehabilitation and sports training (France), community wellness (Peru), and the history of Barcelona (Spain).

Participants are looking forward to learning more about their specific study abroad subject areas, participating in cultural excursions, and using this time to relax and re-charge before entering the next stage(s) of their lives, whether the workforce or beginning graduate programs.

“I saw participating in a study abroad experience as an opportunity to get away from the rigorous studying and competing I have done the last five years and relax for a few weeks before I start my career,” said Olson. “I've never been outside of North America, so I'm excited for the chance to go overseas and experience Europe.”

Having been abroad before, Laeng is most excited about expanding her cultural awareness and understanding to effectively collaborate with local Peruvians.  

“While I've been abroad before, this experience will allow me to be fully submerged into the culture and communities of Peru,” said Laeng. “I'm excited to collaborate with those in Peru to work toward the common world goal of health sustainability and wellness and build upon this experience as I enter graduate school this fall for public health.”

Heading off to experience new cultures and countries, both Olson and Laeng are thrilled to each have a fellow Nebraska alumni athlete going with them.

“Matt (Gilbert) and I have always planned on studying abroad together,” said Olson. “We are the only two graduating seniors on the cross country team and have been roommates for the past four years. I'm looking forward to having someone I am familiar with in Spain and am excited to share the experience with a good friend, also making traveling safer since we'll be able to use the ‘buddy' system.”

Similarly, Laeng and Tokar planned to study abroad together as well. Laeng said, “Having a fellow student-athlete with me in Peru will be a small comfort in a foreign place.”

Additional summer 2017 PEO participants include:

     - Courtney Claassen (Soccer): Harbour Sports Marketing Internship; Auckland, New Zealand
     - Christian Cox (Baseball): Porter Distributing Sales Internship; Aberdeen, S.D.
     - Ryan Irick (Gymnastics): University of Kansas Cancer Center Research Internship; Kansas
       City, Kan.
     - Ford Zitsch (Tennis): University of Missouri Translational Research Internship; Columbia,


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