When COVID-19 was first declared a pandemic in March 2020, Elizabethtown College Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management Petru Sandu was just two months into his sabbatical in Spain.
Despite the pandemic, Sandu decided to stay as a visiting professor at the University of Jaen in Andalucía in the south of Spain. Over the course of six months, he taught two courses at the University of Jaen, one in entrepreneurship and one in strategy.
Sandu said the highlight of his sabbatical was his students, and although his time abroad was affected by the pandemic, he learned how to best share his experience with them and advance the international content of his courses.
“I love the students; I love their motivation, their love of English, their desire to improve their English skills with writing and speaking,” said Sandu. “Some of them are still in touch with me now. I’m still helping them with some projects and articles.”
This was Sandu’s second sabbatical to the University of Jaen. When he first traveled to Spain in 2013, he used the opportunity to take classes in Spanish and truly learn the language. Going back gave him the opportunity to become fluent.
“Spanish is a language that I treasure and a culture that I treasure,” said Sandu. “I call Spain my second home.”
While he was in Spain, Sandu finalized and published a family business research paper in a peer review journal with one of his students who graduated in 2020. Sandu also had the chance to work on the St. Thomas Business Plan Competition with a team from Etown who qualified for the finals.
Because of his own international experiences, Sandu is passionate about students taking full advantage of the opportunity to study abroad during their time at Etown. He believes the best way to know a country is to dive into the culture.
“Students should go abroad because when we live here, we take things for granted,” said Sandu. “When we travel, we broaden our horizons every single step. By getting out of their comfort zone, they will learn, they will grow, and they will experience.”
Sandu is grateful for the opportunity to have taken multiple sabbaticals in Spain, and he believes being able to share what he’s learned through these experiences will help his students.
“My international experience in Spain will benefit my students by encouraging them to study the world, improving the content of my classes, and then expanding the scope of my research to international entrepreneurship and international business,” said Sandu.