While backpacking through Europe, Nick Van Woert ’11 tried to leave others with a good impression of Americans.
At the same time, he was fascinated to learn how Americans are perceived by Europeans and other travelers. “Listening to the different interpretations of what an American is, was really eye-opening. One of my personal favorites is that we sound like cats when we talk,” said Van Woert, who is attending school in Malta near Italy. “It is hard to explain … but involves the e-o-w sound from meow, which is overall pretty funny.”
Van Woert is enrolled in a dual master’s degree in conflict resolution between the University of Malta and George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. At the end of the intensive, year-long program in September 2013, he will have a master’s degree in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason and a master’s in conflict resolution and Mediterranean security from Malta.
Once Van Woert earns his degrees, he has several options: working for the U.S. State Department as a foreign service officer or for the United Nations in peacekeeping or peacebuilding operations, or continuing onto a Ph.D. program.
A native of Hilton Head Island, S.C., Van Woert said he didn’t think he would be in Malta without the Model United Nations class he took his second semester freshman year.
“I didn't realize it at the time, but when the class had come and gone and I was no longer representing the Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia, I realized how intrigued I was with the world across the pond,” Van Woert said. “It led me to taking the initiative to study abroad in the ancient city of Rome for five months my second semester sophomore year.
“After going abroad once, I was craving to come back,” he said.
A history major with a minor in social sciences, Van Woert found the undergraduate education he was looking for at Winthrop.
“I wanted a big school where I could meet new people, but at the same time small enough, to be able to run into familiar faces from time to time,” he said. “The location was key. With Rock Hill being right next to Charlotte, it made Winthrop an even better decision, plus it wasn't too far from Kings Mountain Complex and Historic Brattonsville, so I could occasionally go take a hike and see some scenery.”
Van Woert’s Winthrop experience was rounded out by his work as a facilities supervisor at the DiGiorgio Campus Center; by his membership with Winthrop’s club lacrosse team; as a creator of poddle-ball courts around campus; as a participant in geocaching; being a huge fan of the band Polar War, now Dunder Chiefs; and as the founder of the Winthrop Paintball Club.
“These were certainly some of the best times of my life,” said Van Woert. “But with these experiences and memories from Winthrop as a foundation of who I am, I will always know at the end of the day that I am a garnet and gold Eagle.
Last updated 2/25/2013