When it came time to make her college decision, Suffolk junior Olivia Rae Hoover knew exactly what she wanted to do.

“I wanted to fly away to Europe as quickly as I possibly could! I knew I wanted to improve my Spanish abilities and I knew I wanted to study abroad for multiple semesters. Suffolk University’s Madrid Campus allowed me to do both.”

In the fall of 2014, she packed her bags and flew to Madrid where she discovered “a tight-knit community warmly supported by amazing faculty and staff.”

Right away, Olivia noticed something different about her new home. “Other school orientations include name games and little prizes,” she says. “Suffolk Madrid’s idea of new student bonding is getting in a bull fighting ring together or going down a zip-lining course. Where else can you even get that?”

She complemented her classroom studies with invaluable experiential learning through an internship, too. “I requested to be paired with a big name company, to work completely in Spanish, and to be in a management field,” she says.

Olivia interned in the financial planning and analysis department at Carlson Wagonlit Travel Agency.  “I learned a lot about finance, accounting, management, databases, and Excel,” she says. “I learned about the laid-back Spanish workplace and about a professional company culture that works internationally. This aligned perfectly with my major and accomplished multiple goals I had set for myself when coming to Madrid.”

“I also learned a lot of Spanish vocabulary because my internship was entirely in Spanish, written and spoken alike,” she continues. “When I arrived in Madrid, I was fluent already, but I lacked a lot of workplace vocabulary and Spanish slang. After two years at Suffolk Madrid and with this internship under my belt, I can proudly say that I am fluent in the language and would feel confident using it in the workplace in the future.”

Olivia also had the opportunity to learn about the world while traveling around Europe during her two years abroad. “There are some things that can’t be taught in a classroom,” she says, “so why not get your classroom knowledge and cultural experiences at the same time? My two years were filled with unforgettable and surreal moments, like touring castles in Germany and riding camels in Morocco.”

And since students can take their required courses while in Madrid (not just electives), she was able to stay on track in her double major in international business and management.

“I can’t imagine having started my college experience any other way,” she says. “Madrid became my home. By the end of my time there, I felt more comfortable and familiar in Madrid than I did in any US city I visited afterward.”

Thanks to her experiences in both Spain and the United States, she’ll be at home anywhere in the world.

Learn more about our Madrid campus, including our new four-year International Relations program.