Countdown to Madrid

Hello everyone! My name is Martin Klena and this is the first (and admittedly least exciting) of many blog posts I’ll be creating this summer. I’m a twenty-year-old triplet from a tiny rural town called Danville in the middle of central Pennsylvania. Being from this area, I have always enjoyed spending time outdoors, both recreationally and athletically. My other hobbies include music and anything competitively, especially watching and participating in sports. When it comes to watching, I have always been a fan of Pittsburgh’s professionally sports teams due to family ties to the Johnstown area. Partially for this reason, when it came time ot go to college, I decided to go to school in Pittsburgh.

I am in my third year of study at the University of Pittsburgh as a computer engineering major with a prospective minor in Spanish. Outside of the classroom, I have spent all but one semester of my undergraduate career as a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, an organization of which I am now president. I have also been able to gain some work experience at school, with a semester as an intern for the Institute of International Studies in Education where I participated in a presentation at the United States Department of State regarding cybersecurity in other countries. Furthermore, I have been fortunate enough to spend each of my collegiate summers in a different country on various study abroad programs. Thus far, I have done independent research about the cenotes of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and taken classes on sustainability in Munich, Germany. Both of these experiences were overwhelmingly positive and allowed me to experience new things, meet exciting peoples and grow as a person. I hope to continue this trend this summer when I have an international internship in Madrid, Spain.

The IIP Madrid program will doubtless be an amazing experience. As I previously mentioned, the two most important aspects of my undergraduate studies have been Spanish and computer engineering. This trip will provide me with the unique opportunity to intersect these two fields in a global setting. With the added benefit of not only seeing but living and working in a truly historic city. Personally, this program will allow me to grow as an independent individual. While I will have support and advice from my peers, coworkers and host family in Madrid, I will also have to be internally motivated and self-starting with little things like navigating public transport as well as big things like being an effective employee. Professionally, this program will provide me with my first work experience as well as a glimpse into not just a typical modern workplace, but a global one. The daily work experiences I have throughout the program will certainly help me with future jobs. Finally, from an academic standpoint this program will help me finalize both my major and my minor and serve as an all-important real-world glimpse of how the skills I’ve gained in the classroom can be applied in the real world.

I am incredibly excited for the things this summer will have to offer.