Alumni Spotlight: Pete Bruno


Pete, originally from Connecticut, is a rising senior majoring in Economics in the Honors College at the College of Charleston. An avid Boston sports fan, Pete also enjoys traveling, alpine skiing, and hanging out on his porch.

Why did you pick this program?

The European Union program has a very unique aspect that differentiated itself from the other programs I was looking at: The academic field trips, which are a crucial part of the curriculum, really sold me on the program.

Hearing about the British perspective on immigration from a British citizen and professor provided a much more interesting and effective learning experience than simply reading about it for a homework assignment. These 21 days of travel allow you to see places, meet people, and understand the country's perspectives better than having your professor tell you about it in a lecture.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Do it. You won't regret it. Your bank account will definitely be emptied, but traveling across Europe and the experiences are definitely worth it. You have the opportunity to make another group of friends with whom you will share some of the best memories with. Because, I mean, when else are you going to be young, able to travel across Europe, and have minimal responsibilities?

What was the hardest part about going abroad?

Trying to find free, reliable Wi-Fi.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

Another student on my program and I, only after knowing each other for two weeks, planned a last minute ski trip to Chamonix, France. We didn't have time to do much planning, so we had to figure out all the logistics on the fly. We booked our hostel, and bus ride from the airport to the mountain on the same day we traveled, and then once we got to the ski town, had to ask people for directions to our hostel.

Somehow it all worked out and we were able to ski on the best weekend they had all season. Although we missed our bus back to the airport and had to instead take a 225 euro taxi, it was totally worth it. Then once we got back to Freiburg, we went to a local bar and stayed up till 5:30 am to watch the Patriots win the Super Bowl!

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.

The Freiburg area is very well known for its thermal baths and saunas. One weekend, I went with a group of friends to a day spa 30 minutes outside of downtown and spent the day relaxing there. We didn't realize this until we got there, but the co-ed saunas are completely nude. Not wanting to stick out, we did as the locals did, and got the full experience of a classic Black Forest spa!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

For the field trips, make sure to do some preliminary research on the speakers you will be hearing from. Then, after the session, thank them for their time, introduce yourself and ask for their business card. You can really use these academic meetings to network.

What classes should I take?

The Leadership class with Kerstin Spurk. It is by far the best class I have ever taken. She is a phenomenal teacher and truly cares about the development of her students. You are asked to do self reflection journals and by the end of the semester you will have a much better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as a leader.