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Around the World

After Mission Trips in Mexico and Costa Rica, Honors College Sophomore Travels Abroad to Italy
Around the World

While on her mission trip, Knobloch brought supplies to underprivileged families living in the mountainside rancheros of Arteaga, Mexico.

Kendall Knobloch always strives to live outside her comfort zone. 

The Honors College finance sophomore said she likes to continually push herself in order to become a better person.   

“I have a twin sister. Last year, we split up when she went to school in Dallas, and it was a really hard transition into college …  I didn’t really know how to be on my own,” she said.  “But I knew if I stepped outside of my comfort zone I would grow.”

That attitude has led her to participate in two mission trips, travel with the Equity and Inclusion Campaign to Washington, D.C., and to end up in Italy earlier this summer.

As a part of a study abroad program, Knobloch recently traveled to Paderno del Grappa, a small town in the Veneto region of northern Italy. Administered through the University of Iowa, the program featured professors and students from twenty different universities and over ten core business classes.

When Knobloch wasn’t brushing up on her business knowledge, she traveled to Venice, Florence, Rome, and Cinque Terre.  Highlights of the trip included eating with the cast of The Jersey Shore at their pizzeria in Florence and attending a mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter’s Basilica.

“The trip was by far the most challenging and rewarding experience I have had thus far in college,” she said. “By pushing myself to travel to Europe for the first time alone, I learned more about not only Europe, but about myself than I otherwise would have.”

In addition to traveling around the world, the 20 –year-old Baton Rouge native has also been very active in helping at the LSU Poverty Center, and she assisted Professor Pam Monroe in her research concerning poverty. 

“[Professor Monroe] is very interested and invested in pushing for legislation for early childhood education, welfare reform, medical care reform, and social programs,” she said. “She asked me to sift through different texts concerning the issues and summarize my findings for legislators … it was a great experience to feel like my work was aiding in those efforts.” 

Knobloch described herself as being “very academically oriented” in high school, and she said that the Honors College has helped her to stay focused on academics while also incorporating her love of service through programs like LASAL.

“What I’ve learned through being in the Honors College, what I didn’t know before or fully understand, is that school is not everything,” she said. “So instead of having as many career goals, I feel like now the goal is balance.”

Knobloch, whose love of service was first realized through a poverty class she took in high school, said that the Honors College Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) program provides her with an opportunity to help others and to learn about the problems facing Louisiana. 

“I’ve always struggled with understanding why I’m so blessed and that others aren’t, and I’ve always felt this responsibility to do something about it,” she said. “LASAL helps because we study poverty and coastal erosion in a nontraditional way."

Through LASAL, Knobloch has traveled to Tensas Parish, one of the poorest areas of the state, to see poverty firsthand. 

“I think it just puts things in perspective,” she said. “It just makes you realize how selfish you can get in college (with) your own goals, your own plans; there’s so much outside of that. Also, if you want something, you can work hard enough and you can get it.  A lot of people don’t have the opportunities to do that.”

Outside of her work with LASAL, Knobloch has gone on multiple mission trips in different countries, where she provided many different types of service. 

“I did a few mission trips in high school — it was mostly hurricane relief, but I loved it. I was there for one purpose and that was to help other people,” she said.

As a member of Chi Omega, Knobloch participated in two all-Greek mission trips to Mexico and Costa Rica, where she ministered to orphans and visited nursing homes. 

“I didn’t know anyone going but I felt like I needed to do it, so I did it and I absolutely loved it. In Mexico, we helped the blind start a business making piñatas, we visited the sick, and we did outreach,” she said.

Knobloch said her service experiences have taught her to be grateful for her own opportunities and has afforded her a new worldview.

“I think just the experience of seeing the reality of not being an American has taught me a lot — you get so caught up in what we have around us, and you don’t ever see the other seventy percent of the world,” she said. “I feel like time is money here, and (in other countries), time is more relationship-oriented.” 

Currently, Knobloch is participating in an internship with Arthur J. Gallagher International Insurance Company, where she is working with the heads of different insurance departments on their projects after completing a week of training in Chicago. 

Whatever her future holds, Knobloch is sure to continue to take on new experiences. 

“Anything that’s challenging or uncomfortable makes you grow,” she said. “The scariest things turn out to be the best.”

 

Story by Elizabeth Clausen, LSU Honors College

For more information, contact the Honors College at 225-578-8831