(Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories about students from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications completing summer internships.)
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On March 17, Emma Riglin stepped off the plane and felt like crying. She was supposed to be in Argentina until July, but the coronavirus pandemic sent her home after just three weeks abroad. While walking through the Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, head hung low, she saw a familiar sight that cheered her up.
It was a Penn State backpack.
She looked at the man wearing the backpack and could think of only one thing to say: “We are!”
“He said, ‘Penn State,’ and started talking to me,” Riglin said. After a whirlwind, last-minute trip from a foreign country through three airports, customs and facing a five-hour drive home, “it really calmed me down,” she said.
Riglin, a senior advertising/public relations major, had wanted to visit Argentina ever since she was in sixth grade. Also majoring in Spanish and minoring in global and international studies, she was ready for a five-month immersive experience in the South American country. Disappointed with the abbreviated visit, Riglin made the best of it.
“Even in the short time I was there, I got to explore Buenos Aires,” she said. “I got to experience a tango class and a drum show, which was amazing. And I made some really good friends, but I was sad because I didn’t get to do trips to Patagonia and Uruguay. The day I got on the plane home was the day we were going to take a ferry to Uruguay.”