Petar Gitsoaika is attending Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He is majoring in International Business and French. Petar says selecting a college to go to require him finding the right one to suit his interest. “Well just looking at liberal arts colleges I looked at the colleges that were on the U-S news rankings top 50 for the U-S because really it would not make sense for me to go to the U-S to just any college, I really wanted a good quality education,” he says.
“So at the same time I really feel that they had this major I was interested in. International Business and Management. Secondly, I was interested in learning foreign languages. I have always loved foreign languages. So Dickinson was this amazing combination of the major I was interested in with [a ]study abroad [program]so I think this is an experience that very few colleges can actually provide.”
Dickinson College offers a liberal education to its students. Petar says that, along with having an opportunity to study abroad in another country for one year is why going to Dickinson is rewarding.
“Well that is one thing that really attracted me at Dickinson College because as you know it has one of the best study abroad programs in the nation which means you are not simply there to travel, but Dickinson’s program are actually serious and they allow you to do what you want to do,” he says. “So that is what I did my third year. I went to France and I could actually take courses towards both of my majors in French. So I think this is an experience that very, very few colleges can actually provide and this is where I really had an appreciation for liberal arts because I could study my international Business Management major and French major at the same time and study abroad at the same time make sense,” he says.
“ I took major degree level courses in Finance in French at the university sitting along side French students. So this is an example how it all made sense for me."
It is natural that most international students have to adjust to cultural as well as environmental changes when they come to the United States to study. That was the case with Petar. Now that he is comfortable being there, Petar uses his free time working with the club he along with a friend introduced to the campus. “For me coming from a big city, the capital of Bulgaria has two million people, secondly going to a foreign country, living with foreign people, speaking [and] learning a foreign language, definitely I had some cultural shock, but you know as everything you get use to it you learn how to get by in such an environment and sometime you start to like it,” he says.
“I found friends here. I found activities that are of interest to me. And my latest passion here…., it has been a big passion is photography. A friend of mine and I created this photography club at Dickinson College that has existed for only one semester. Now we are starting our second semester and it has been an amazing experience,” he adds. “We found so much interest in the subject on campus and we were so surprised that nobody ever thought of creating such a club before. The turn out for meetings is amazing for our club compared to other clubs that have existed many, many years.
For example I can compare it with the French club that I am also interested in, but they have never had such a good meeting turnout. Nobody comes to meetings, but the photography club is something that I really have benefited from. I really have learned a lot from and I was really happy to be involved in.”
Petar says he can see for himself how much he has grown mentally and physically since going to college. “Now when I look at myself I have changed so much…physical appearance, the things that I am interested in, the way my day goes on, my skills to organize myself. Everything has totally changed and I think pretty much I separate my experience in years,” he says. “I see every other year out of this three or four years in college has really contributed in a different way towards what I am now and I have seen incredible growth.”
This is Petar's senior and final year at Dickinson College. He already has ideas for what is to come following graduation. “When I graduate I plan to work in the U-S for about a year or two. I think it really makes sense to complete an American education with professional experience in an American company so that is what I hope to do and maybe later on in my life I can go on to graduate school probably in France or somewhere in Europe,” he says. “I still haven’t decided.”