Andre Sofian

IPE Peer Advisor

Major: Computer Science

International ExperienceUniversidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid, Spain - Winter 2017

Why did you choose to study abroad when/where you did?

I fell in love with Spanish culture and history through my high school Spanish classes, so picking Spain as my study abroad country was a no-brainer. I chose to go abroad second semester my junior year, which was perfect timing because I was already settled into college and far into my major.

What was one of the most memorable experiences from your time abroad?

Spelunking and cliff diving for the first time on the gorgeous Spanish island of Majorca.

What was one of the biggest surprises about the location, culture or other aspects of your program?

One of the biggest surprises was how amazing (and affordable) the public transportation was in Madrid.

How do the skills and experience you gained abroad set you apart as a professional engineer?

Studying abroad led me to appreciate and better understand cultures and perspectives that were once completely foreign to me, it improved my communication skills, and it taught me to adapt and even thrive in unfamiliar settings. These skills directly translate to the real world, where I'll be surrounded by unfamiliar faces, adversity, and much more, which is what will set me apart as a professional engineer.

What advice would you like to give to a student interested in an international experience?

If you're even slightly interested in an international experience, just go for it! College is one of the best times, and for many the only time, to go abroad. You'll develop amazing relationships, visit incredible places, and learn more about yourself and the world than you could ever image.

What resources did you use to finance your time abroad?

Tuition for my semester abroad was unchanged, and I was able to use the scholarships and grants that I already had to help finance a good portion of my trip. In addition to my preexisting aid, IPE granted me a $1000 travel grant, I automatically qualified for another $1000 Ginns International grant, and I had the opportunity to gain more aid by blogging for IPE during my time abroad.