Nunzio Colonna Thiel | Faces of Midland
Taking a Chance
His first stop at Midland University didn’t last very long for Nunzio Colonna Thiel.
A junior Marketing/Communications major from Mallorca, Spain, Nunzio arrived at Midland in January 2020, excited to take the first step of his college journey. He had barely settled in when COVID-19 hit in early March, and as students went online for the remainder of the semester, he returned to Spain. He remained in Spain for the following fall semester and took classes online.
While it might have been easy to decide the Midland experience just wasn’t meant to be, Nunzio was determined to return to campus. “My parents were worried about me returning in the fall, but I knew I wanted to come back in the spring. I love my tennis teammates, and while tennis might be considered an individual sport, I wanted to come back and compete with my team.”
Nunzio returned for the spring semester, and Midland has been his home ever since. He chose Midland because of his comfort level with his coach, Bruno Campos, a native of Brazil who also made the decision to attend college in the states. Nunzio also knew there were other international players on the team, including one from Spain, Miguel Abete. “I looked at several other schools, but after talking with Bruno, Midland was the best option for me. I wanted to be somewhere where there were other international players on the team. Having someone to communicate with right away was very helpful.”
Making the decision to attend college in an entirely new country didn’t take place without some anxious moments. It can be difficult for an 18-year-old to make the decision to go thousands of miles away to college, something Nunzio pondered the day before he arrived at Midland. “I remember on my plane ride from Spain to Chicago, I started thinking, ‘what am I doing?’ It was a scary time because you are going to a new place where you don’t know anyone, and they speak an entirely new language.
“I was a small fish in a big sea and felt a little lost. It was challenging at first, but after a month, I started to get used to it. I started to understand things a little better, got to know everyone, knew where I had to go, and began to feel more confident in myself. Now, Midland is like a second home to me.”
What has helped make it feel like home is the attention to detail from his professors and their willingness to listen and provide support when needed. “In Spain, you are asked to handle most situations by yourself. At Midland, the professors have been so friendly, which is a new thing for me, and it’s been really cool. You are able to raise your hand in class, and your professors are willing to help with whatever you need.”
His involvement on the tennis team has helped with transitioning to life in a new country, but it goes beyond the tennis courts for Nunzio when it comes to socializing with others. “I’m not one of those people that likes to sit in my room all day. I enjoy being around people, and at Midland, you’re fortunate that you get to know a lot of people. I enjoy going to other sporting activities and places across campus. Even if you’re not talking to them, it’s still fun to be around other people.”
A well-rounded student who can speak five different languages, it should be no surprise that Nunzio would like to someday have a career in social media. “I have some business ideas and have started to put some plans together. I would either like to have my own social media agency, work with branding on social media, or have an online store to sell products. My first thought would be to start my own business in Spain, but as I spend more time in the U.S., there is a chance I might stay here.”
Nunzio may be uncertain about where his future home will be, but he’s glad that along life’s journey, it has included a stop at Midland. “I wanted to experience something new, and I came here without any family or friends. I know it might be a crazy experience, but it’s something I would encourage others to try. You get out of your comfort zone, learn a new language, and make friends from all over the world.”
Nunzio Thiel is a junior marketing/communications major from Mallorca, Spain. To share your story or nominate a friend, email firstname.lastname@example.org or post using #FacesofMidland.