A chance to ‘grow in ways beyond the academic’


It’s a tradition that children climb up the maypole to grab large hanging pretzels. So, during the Maypole festival in Salzburg, Thomas Pinella “thought I'd give it a go. It was harder than I imagined.”

Thomas Pinella ’18 wanted to push himself out of his comfort zone. He wanted to be exposed to new experiences that would force him to adapt and learn more about himself and the world.

The computer science major achieved all that, and more, during his semester studying in Hungary at AIT Budapest, an institute specifically designed for English-speaking computer science students.

Pinella says he came back with “new computer science knowledge, good stories, and some great friends.”

And credits he could apply to his major from several of the courses he took.

Particularly memorable was a road trip. “We rented a couple cars and 8 of us spent an extended weekend traveling through Croatia, stopping to stay at hostels at night and stopping to hike mountains during the day,” Pinella says.

Thanks to help from the staff at the University’s Center for Education Abroad, the application process was “relatively easy,” Pinella says. “I was mostly concerned about not getting accepted into the specific program I was applying to, but fortunately it all worked out in the end.”

His advice to other students thinking about studying abroad: “Do it. And treat it as an opportunity to grow in ways beyond the academic. You'll be meeting heaps of people from different cultures and sharing your own experiences along the way.”


Thomas Pinella and his friends enjoyed surfing at a beach in Lisbon, Portugal.