An aspiring international public relations business professional, Bjorn Karlman, could easily be described as a world citizen. Though born in Sweden, Bjorn grew up in Hong Kong and the Philippines, went to school in England, France, and the United States, and is fluent in three languages: French, English, and Swedish.
But why would someone with such a diverse and multicultural background cross the Atlantic to attend school in small town Berrien Springs, Michigan?
"What attracted me to Andrews and what keeps me here are options, options that open up the world to me," explains Bjorn. "As an international public relations and French double major, I see Andrews as great preparation for the globalized working world. There are students from absolutely everywhere. Meeting them and hearing their perspective on issues is fascinating because it challenges me and helps me understand more about the world."
With a student population representing over 90 different countries, Andrews is number six in the country for campus diversity among all private and public universities, according to a report by US News & World Report. A walk across campus can take you from Berrien Springs, Michigan to Kenya, Taiwan, Germany and Australia.
Since his arrival at Andrews, Bjorn has kept himself busy by getting involved. An excellent writer, he has a regular column in the Andrews student paper, The Student Movement, and is on staff in the offices of Enrollment and University Relations. Outside of academics, Bjorn is dedicated to working with AU OutREACH and the kids of Benton Harbor, an impoverished urban area 12 miles north of campus. As a mentor, Bjorn has built strong relationships with his adopted Benton Harbor family, whom he visits every Saturday afternoon. He often takes the kids he mentors on outings, bringing them to fun events on campus. For his strong commitment to community service, Bjorn has recently been honored with the 2005 Michigan Campus Compact Heart and Soul Award.
An honors student, Bjorn excels academically and has had the opportunity to put what he's learned in the classroom to use in great internships. Taking a year off from the classroom, Bjorn spent the 2003-2004 school year doing public relations for his alma mater, Stanborough School in England, where he handled press relations, put on special events, and did recruiting all over the world, including France, Thailand, and Sweden. The summer of 2005, Bjorn will be working as a PR/Marketing intern in sunny, southern California with Glendale Adventist Medical Center.
Next semester, Bjorn plans to take time out to work on becoming fluent in his fourth language, Spanish, in Buenos Aires, Argentina before coming back and marching down the aisle next May. After graduation, Bjorn hopes to one day run his own international public relations company as well as to continue writing, but no matter the level of his success giving back to the community will remain a priority.