Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

College experience enhanced with trip abroad for Chickasaw student

 

While studying abroad, Chance Bronstad took time to visit many countries in Europe. Among other sites, he visited the Roman Colosseum in Italy.

To meet Chance Bronstad, you would not think he was a budding international traveler. Mild mannered and soft-spoken, he took a trip of a lifetime while still earning college credits. Bronstad recently spent four months abroad in Prague, the Czech Republic.

The 20-year-old from Waco, Texas, never imagined he would travel more than 5,000 miles to immerse himself in a culture different from his own. While fun, this trip provided educational benefits that will last a lifetime.

Bronstad, currently in his third year of college, is working toward a degree in business administration from Oklahoma City University's (OCU) Meinders School of Business. He is a current recipient of the Chickasaw Nation Native American Business Scholars Academy Scholarship. The scholarship is designed to support higher education in business related fields.

"My aunt sent me the scholarship application after she read about it in the 'Chickasaw Times,'" Bronstad said. "As a senior in high school, I had applied to other schools. The scholarship was so good I figured I would go ahead and apply. When I learned it was awarded to me, I toured OCU. I really liked the campus and the business program."

In part, this scholarship allowed him the opportunity to travel. Through OCU's connections, he was able to complete a semester at the University of New York in Prague.

"The business classes I took while in Prague will transfer into my degree program," Bronstad said. "I will be able to graduate with my class."

Bronstad prepared months in advance for his overseas trip. To be able to study in a foreign country, he had to apply for a student visa with the Czech Republic Embassy in Washington, D.C., and to the U.S. Department of State for a passport. These were the easy parts in preparing for the trip.

"I worked all summer to save up travel money," Bronstad said. "The school arranged my student housing, but I had to buy the plane tickets and cover other expenses."

Bronstad said the educational experience of visiting a country that was once behind the "Iron Curtain" helped him understand differing economies within the world.

"The Czech Republic is a post-Soviet Union country that has changed a lot," Bronstad said.

"It has adapted to a capitalist styled economy and mindset. The government is forward thinking on how they treat their people and the environment."

The way in which individuals treated one another in public and private settings surprised him as well.

"In public, people were reserved and kept a business face on all the time. They are quiet and contained. But when you meet them and in private and a more informal environment, they are really outgoing."

When not busy with school, Bronstad was able to travel to other countries. This included trips to Italy, Morocco, Germany and the Netherlands, among other places. What he remembers about most of his time in Europe is the rich history of the architecture.

"Prague is very old," he said. "I viewed the old Prague Castle, one of the biggest castle complexes in the world. It has a beautiful Gothic style to it. I also made trips to Rome and cities in Germany."

Bronstad is proud of his Chickasaw heritage. His mother, Charlotte Bronstad, ensured he was aware of his roots. She continually reminds him of who he is.

Chance Bronstad of Waco, Texas, prepares for college finals. He recently traveled to Europe while in his third year at Oklahoma City University.

"My mom grew up in the Sulphur area. We spent a lot of time visiting her parents. We went to many (Chickasaw Nation) events with my grandma. Since moving to Oklahoma City, I have made sure to attend each of the Chickasaw Nation Annual Meeting and Festivals. I watch Governor Anoatubby give the State of the Nation," Bronstad said.

Bronstad said the Chickasaw Nation helped guide him in his selection of the school he attended and the degree program he chose. He believes he would not have been able to study abroad without the support of the Chickasaw Nation.

"I am appreciative of how the Chickasaw Nation is supporting my education," he said. "I want to do anything I can to give back. I am blown away to have received this scholarship, as well as the laptop and clothing allowance grants."

Once finished with college, Bronstad would like to pursue a career in either banking or renewable energy.

"I chose to pursue a degree in business administration because it is so broad," he said. "I am concentrating on finance and economics, but I have always been interested in renewable energy: wind, solar or hydroelectric."

 

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