Each day Down Under, Pete Schimeck would put on a shirt and tie and head to the office.
Meanwhile, Shane Holl would head to the beach.
“He’s showing up to work in board shorts and a tank top, and we gotta go into work in 90-degree heat in a shirt and tie,” Schimeck joked.
Holl and Schimeck, senior starting defensive ends for the Augustana football team, were among a group of Augie students to earn academic credits while working two-month internships in Australia in January and February. The sixth-year program, Augustana in Australia, sends about 50 juniors and seniors to Sydney each year and is popular among athletes, said Karen Petersen, director of business internships at Augustana.
Along with Holl and Schimeck, tight end Keith Abbey, receiver Jordan Peart and linebacker Mitch McGilliard also made the trip.
Holl’s experience was definitely unique.
The North Aurora, Ill., native worked for Let’s Go Surfing, a surf school located on Bondi Beach. Holl learned how to surf — “I actually turned out to be pretty decent,” he said — and even met St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson, who came in for surfing lessons and was surprised to be recognized.
“He couldn’t believe it,” Holl said. “We ended up talking 15 to 20 minutes.”
It wasn’t all sun and waves for Holl. The business administration major earned valuable experience in marketing and also helped set up the shop’s Facebook page.
“I got thrown into a company that I didn’t know anything about,” Holl said. “I had to learn and adapt quickly. And I got to surf every day, so it wasn’t too bad.”
Schimeck, an economics major, ran financials for SalDoce Fine Foods, a small food distribution company. Schimeck said his research led to the company purchasing new financing software he recommended.
“I just talked to them recently in correspondence, and they said they liked what they finally used,” Schimeck said. “I was kind of happy to see my work go to fruition. It was a cool experience.”
Holl and Schimeck said the highlight of the trip was a visit to Cairns during spring break. They went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. They went bungee jumping.
“But my highlight was definitely sky diving over Cairns, which was unbelievable,” Schimeck said. “The video was hilarious. My face before we jumped out is priceless.”
Football was never too far from their minds. The teammates joined a local gym and said they motivated each other to work out and stay in shape.
Their coach, Rob Cushman, wasn’t overly concerned about it.
“Yeah, we’d like to have them 365 days a year, but that’s not the reality,” Cushman said. “This is Division III football. They’re here to get an education, and we encourage them to do anything they can to prepare themselves for the next step in life.”
The trip turned out to be an incredible bonding experience for the five Vikings who went.
“We were already close to begin with, and we became even closer,” Schimeck said.