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June 5, 2018

Saying Sí, and Oui, to Studying Abroad

Retiro Park is one the most gorgeous sights in all of Madrid. One of my favorite parts of the parks is the Palacio de Cristal, pictured behind me. On a sunny day, the Palacio de Cristal illuminates everything around you.

Matthew Petrouskie was eager to leave for Madrid in the fall of 2017, but at the same time he felt intimidated and nervous. The Adelphi junior was about to spend a full semester in a country where he knew no one, with a different language, a different type of money, even a different dinnertime—10:00 p.m., when many in the country finally sit down to eat.

How would he get along?

As it turned out, his trip to Madrid was life changing, not only defining his time at Adelphi, but also helping him decide on a future career.

“I was exposed to a lot of different ways of thinking and a lot of different ways of life. It gave me kind of a global perspective and a much more well-rounded sense of what was going on in the world,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine my experience at Adelphi without it.”

At Adelphi, there are many ways for students to add an international experience to their college career. Petrouskie, a member of the Class of 2019, found two ways to visit Europe through the University.

A dual economics and Spanish major in the Honors College, he spent spring break in Paris in 2017, forgoing vacation to learn about the European economy. He joined a group of a dozen students led by two business professors, Charles Baker, Ph.D., and Monica Yang, Ph.D., for a program focusing on the French business world. The 1-credit course brought the group to the French stock exchange as well as to a meeting with officials at a French bank and a marketing agency, plus visits to museums, restaurants and historic streets.

One of the many benefits of studying abroad is the ability to take weekend trips to anywhere in Europe. In December, I traveled to London and had the chance to visit the Tower Bridge. London was a wonderful experience and reminded me very much of New York City.

A few months later, Petrouskie was back on the Continent in Spain. He took classes in Spanish and English at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (King Juan Carlos University). His courses included Spanish literature, culture, dancing and politics. He also tutored local high school students in English and traveled throughout Spain and Western Europe.

“I had a lot of opportunities to grow,” he said.

Petrouskie, now 20, plans to attend law school, possibly to focus on business law. He’s also considering international law, a topic he became interested in after his two trips. He hopes to take a gap year to live in Europe, most likely in Spain, before he starts his graduate studies. He wants to teach English while he’s there.

“I had such an overwhelmingly positive experience in Spain and Europe,” he said. “It felt after leaving that I only cracked the surface, and there were so many more things that I left untouched. It just made me want to go back.”


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