Opening Up the World to Carlson School Students

Friday, August 28, 2015

The positive experiences Bob and Karin Moe, ’56 BSB, had traveling overseas both for business and with their family directly inspired them to support Carlson School students in their study abroad efforts.

Bob had been an avid traveler since he was a young man—he sailed around the world in an aircraft carrier during his time in the U.S. Navy—and was always ready for that next adventure. He also gained insights while on business trips for Polaris.

As a couple, Bob and Karin both discovered Europe on their own, meeting different people along the way by Eurail pass and being swept up in new sites, cultural perspectives, and experiences.

“My first overseas experience was a real eye opener, especially the history and the art. Anything we have here in the U.S. is in a museum. In Europe, it’s everywhere around you,” says Karin. Later, the couple traveled to Kenya and Tanzania among other destinations.

“When our children were at home, we started taking them abroad and I thought it was a very maturing experience,” Karin says. “Now our grandchildren are going abroad in their college programs. It makes them interested in the world and I think it’s a very enriching part of their life. So, when we found out the Carlson School required all students to have such an experience, we thought it was going to be fabulous.”

To assist undergraduate students in fulfilling their education abroad curricular requirement, the Moes established the Robert and Karin Moe Study Abroad Scholarship. This scholarship awards $500 to $5,000 toward students’ expenses overseas, making it possible to select the location and length of program that best fit their educational goals, which they might have had to forgo because of cost. So far, nearly 90 students have received Moe scholarships for their international experiences and many more will be awarded within the next year. 

“I am really proud that the Carlson School was one of the first U.S. business schools to require students to study abroad and that we have the opportunity to support so many young people from across our state.” 


—Karin Moe

The Moes enjoy getting cards and letters from their scholarship recipients wherever in the world they are throughout the school year. Last winter, Karin was able to hear first-hand about how their experiences have changed their view of the world and the growing global marketplace.

“I met students at a recent gathering and almost none had gone abroad before. The first question I asked was where they were from. I was fascinated by the fact that most of them were from Minnesota. I was supporting my own state!” she says. “Most of them are from small towns and I thought this is going to be a real defining moment for them. I am really proud that the Carlson School was one of the first U.S. business schools to require students to study abroad and that we have the opportunity to support so many young people from across our state.”

Karin recalled a student sharing that she had questioned why she had to go abroad to get her degree. After she made her global education sojourn, however, the student felt it was the best thing that ever happened to her. Karin says, “That’s the advantage of requiring it and I can’t help but think they will look back and realize how it helped them grow as a person. If you can have a broader perspective about things, you’re just going to be more successful and have more confidence.” 

Bob and Karin have been pleasantly surprised by the students’ letters of gratitude articulating their goals along with occasional postcards with their unique reflections.

“Some talk about the relationships they made overseas and how they became really close there,” she says. “They talk about going back to where they studied. Some of them say they would like to work overseas. I think it adds to their mindset—something they didn’t have before.”

Several of the students offered a comment that Karin found most touching of all – the hope that they will be able to give back and provide scholarships themselves sometime during their life. Karin adds that anyone who supports study abroad programs is providing a life-defining experience for students.

“I’m sure it helps them in their careers because they develop a global perspective and that’s the world we’re living in now,” she says. “I think they all come home with that kind of feeling.” 

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