When Nerea Lancho, BS’25, arrived in Indianapolis to begin her first year of the Undergraduate Program at the Kelley School of Business, it was the first time she’d been away from her family or her hometown of Madrid, Spain, for anything longer than a vacation. Before she arrived, however, the Kelley School arranged Zoom meetups with staff and other Kelley students so Nerea and her family could grow comfortable with the move and connect with new faces.
“The Kelley Freshman seminar was also a casual way to learn more about campus resources and have time to get to know other students,” Nerea said. “Kelley does a good job welcoming you. I met with my advisors before I got here, and someone met with my parents and I to make sure all our questions were answered before I traveled here. That was great.”
As a golfer, Nerea found it easier to continue playing competitively at the collegiate level in the United States, so she began her search for golf programs. When she found the combination of the IUPUI Women’s Golf team and a top-ranked business school in Indianapolis, Nerea applied to Kelley. While it wasn’t easy adjusting to a new place 4100 miles from home, Nerea says the Kelley School helped her get comfortable.
“In the beginning, it was a bit hard. I was 18 and suddenly living in a different country, on an entirely different continent, on my own. But once classes started, I made new friends, met my golf team, and it got much better. I’ve been here for a year now, and I’m totally accustomed to how life works here, and I made a lot of friends. I even have friends from different countries, so I relate to their experiences,” Nerea said. “People here are very welcoming, especially when they know you are from another country. People seem very interested to know more about you and your culture.”
Another way Nerea met and connected with fellow business classmates is by living in Kelley House, a floor of the University Tower residence hall dedicated solely to students in the Kelley School of Business. Nerea shared classes, hallways, and study sessions with other students on similar career paths.
“You’d always see the same people on the floor, in the hallways, and at class. My group of friends from the Kelley floor are the ones I still have today. It’s a great way to get to know people who are interested in the same things you are,” Nerea said. “You can always get together and do homework or ask them questions – it was a great way to start talking to people and making new friends.”
Nerea also had support from the campus – she was a mentee in the campus International Peer Mentoring Program, and she was recently accepted into the Kelley Indianapolis Honors Program, where she also represents second-year students at the Honors College Student Council. She also attends Kelley Women in Business club events when she can fit them in around her golf schedule. Nerea says there’s so much more she looks forward to sampling on campus.
“If you go to the Kelley student portal online, there are so many events to choose from. There’s something almost every day – from student head shot photo shoots to guest speakers and negotiations workshops for Honors students,” Nerea said. “If you want to get involved, you have a lot of choices.”
While Madrid is quite a bit larger than Indianapolis, Nerea enjoys going to school on an urban campus within a large metropolitan area. Indianapolis is a commercial center of the state, offering students a vibrant downtown and a variety of employment opportunities.
“For me, being in a city was very important. I’m a city girl, so I love the skyline views from campus, and there’s so much to do – you can go out to eat, go shopping, go to museums and sporting events,” she said. “Plus, it’s easier to find a good internship or identify careers you are interested in because you are downtown, where all the businesses are located. Last semester, my accounting class had two guest speakers from downtown offices. Business is so much more accessible.”
Nerea is now a sophomore studying finance and international studies with a minor in economics. Her golf career is also flourishing, alongside her business education. This past semester, Nerea tied for first on her team by stats, and she has played most of the tournaments as the team’s second player.
“This last semester has been a very good one for golf, as I scored an average of 75.68 in the fall,” she said. “I have played all the tournaments we have had since my freshman year, and it’s been an incredible experience to travel around the country while paying golf. I really enjoy meeting so many different people from all over the world.”
As she nears the halfway point in her undergraduate studies, Nerea is looking forward to what the next couple years at the Kelley School hold for her. While she’s still considering finance career paths, she feels that Kelley will help her be a competitive job candidate. She encourages other international students to consider the same college path.
“Even though it can be scary to leave your home country behind, the Kelley School in Indianapolis offers a really good opportunity because you can really develop your skills here,” Nerea said. “Here in the United States, the schoolwork is more hands on—your assignments are less about memorizing things and more about applying what you know toward your future job. Kelley’s program is very competitive, and once I graduate, I know I’ll be prepared for my future career with what I’ve learned here.”