Michael Waite’s co-​​op work in Ger­many — engaging in polit­ical out­reach and helping to run a small busi­ness — gave him some pretty full days. Con­sid­ering Waite also played for a German hand­ball team and bonded with his for­eign team­mates, the senior soci­ology major came away with a pro­found inter­na­tional experience.

It was really a true two-​​for-​​one,” Waite said of the spring 2010 co-​​op.

Waite, a Pres­i­den­tial Global Scholar, worked for the Munich chapter of Democ­rats Abroad, where he pressed Amer­i­cans working or studying over­seas to keep up with pol­i­tics back home and to vote via absentee ballot as the 2010 midterm elec­tions approached. He also estab­lished the chapter’s Face­book page, and attended the organization’s inter­na­tional meeting in Italy, which drew rep­re­sen­ta­tives from chap­ters across the globe.

Along with his work for Democ­rats Abroad, Waite helped the Munich chapter’s chairman, Quaide Williams, run his small busi­ness. The pub­lishing com­pany, go! Lan­guage Press, has cre­ated hand­held lan­guage learning tools that trans­late and con­ju­gate verbs for for­eign travelers.

Waite learned first­hand what it takes to run a small busi­ness. He pitched the prod­ucts to lan­guage insti­tu­tions in dif­ferent coun­tries, estab­lished new busi­ness rela­tion­ships, and attended a major trade fair. The lan­guage tool itself even came in handy in Waite’s own travels — which in turn made pitching it a lot easier.

I was in the midst of trying to learn German myself, so I had more of an under­standing of what people might be looking for when they’re trying to master a lan­guage,” he said.

Yet his bustling days spent alter­nating between these two roles were only part of his global expe­ri­ence. Back in Boston, Waite had played on a hand­ball team coached by a German man, who con­nected him with a club team in Ger­many. Waite estab­lished a strong rap­port with his new German team­mates, and reg­u­larly con­versing with them also improved his German.

Hand­ball was the best way for me to get a real taste of German cul­ture,” Waite said.

Joining the team also led to another remark­able oppor­tu­nity that Waite had never expected. He was invited to Dor­magan, Ger­many, to par­tic­i­pate in a week­long Team USA training camp in May that served as a tryout for the 2012 Summer Olympics. There, Waite wore his country’s colors while playing along­side some of the sport’s elite athletes.

That was one of my biggest thrills,” he said.