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Troy Segala ’16 spent last spring semester studying in Spain.

A Year Abroad: Shanghai and Barcelona

09/02/15

As Troy Segala ’16 of Cheshire, Mass., returns to campus this month, he does so with a world of experience under his belt: the business management major spent his entire junior year studying abroad in not one, but two vastly different countries.

C:\fakepath\Troy Segala China vertical crop.jpgFirst up was a fall semester in Shanghai, China (see photo, right).

“I think the biggest thing was getting as far out of my comfort zone as I could get,” Segala explained. I wanted to be in a different part of the world and speak a different language. I knew that China would be the ultimate ‘out-of-comfort-zone’ experience.”

However, Segala also wanted to experience Europe, and, at the same time, practice the Spanish he’d learned over the past five years. He next headed to Barcelona, Spain, where he spent his spring semester.

“I was able to practice my Spanish there. Every day I learned a few new words and practiced with the people of Barcelona as I got to know that culture,” Segala said.

He continued, “I realized that, in business, you need to be flexible, and you need to be confident not only in your product, but more importantly in the customer who’s buying it. When you get this larger experience where you’re seeing different cultures and how they react to their own marketing methods, it really gives you an understanding of what they need.

“It’s seeing how they buy, how they do things, and I think that’s really important, considering in America we are a melting pot with all of these diverse cultures. They are bringing all of these diverse needs to America.”

His classes in China included “Chinese Law” and “International Financing.” His class in “Mandarin Reading and Writing” met every day for three hours.

“Everything we did in class we were already using as we walked through the streets of Shanghai,” Segala explained. “Every day was a practice session, right after class. That was probably the most inspirational class, out of all of them.

“It was a little scary at first to see and hear everything in Chinese,” he continued. “Most everyone there over the age of 25 doesn’t speak very much English.”

As a result of the class and living in China last fall, Segala speaks Mandarin Chinese well enough to carry on a conversation, and even joke with others who speak the language.  

C:\fakepath\Troy Segala France reunion crop.jpgOne of the highlights of his spring semester in Spain was the opportunity to reconnect in Nantes, France, with friends (pictured right) he’d met in Shanghai.

“They completely opened all of their homes to me and I spent time with them. It was just an unbelievable experience. How small of a world is it that I met people in Shanghai and then went into their homes in Nantes?”

One of the most exciting parts of his experience in China happened over the National People’s Day Weekend. During the week off from classes, he traveled to the southern-most tip of China, near Vietnam, to a city called Sanya that features “the most beautiful beaches.”

Segala originally came to MCLA as a transfer student. Previously an engineering student at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, “I switched my major to business and I knew that MCLA had a wonderful business department. It’s so close to my home, and I’ve had so many extended family members go through the business department at MCLA. They only have high praise for all of its professors, through the generations at the College.”

A huge bonus is the fact that MCLA accepted every single college credit he earned during his year abroad. Segala says he’d love to live and work abroad.

“I have such an excitement from exploring different cultures, everything from the language to food,” he said.