The sparks that ignited: IE University’s own love stories
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we wanted to share a few stories from IE University alumni who found love at our dear institution.
According to a study conducted by Facebook Data Sciences, approximately 28% of married graduates attended the same university as their spouse. It is no surprise then, that there are many couples who met their significant other at IE University. Read some of our favourite #IEUlove stories below:
Helena and Nassim: Who have been together throughout their Undergrad and Master’s degrees at IE University
Helena Oettingen: Bachelor in International Relations, 2019, and Master in Cybersecurity, 2020.
Nassim Ouazghari: Bachelor in Business Administration, 2019, and Master in Talent Development and Human Resources, 2020.
Nassim was born and raised in Rabat, Morocco. Helena is from Bavaria, Germany, but grew up in Bolgheri, a small town on the Italian Tuscan coast. After five years together, this IE University alumni couple reflect on their multicultural love story that began in the mountains of Segovia (you just can’t make this stuff up).
When reflecting on their relationship, Helena and Nassim stated, “There are definitely more cultural differences between our respective surroundings than between one another—we felt pretty aligned from day one. It just goes to show that growing up in different countries, speaking different languages and learning different things matters very little.”
Helena: “I really, really appreciated how welcoming his family and friends were in Morocco. I’ve rarely seen a country where people were just so open and happy to meet you.”
Nassim: “Helena was studying Arabic during the bachelor’s program and I’ve been working on my Italian, which I really like, especially because of the different accents. I’m not going anywhere near German though, at least not yet.”
Ariella and Francisco: Whose story began at Segovia’s Irish pub
Ariella Suarez and Francisco Pichardo: Bachelor in Business Administration, 2019
They say that the best relationships start off as friendships, and that proves to be true with Ariella and Francisco. Initially meeting as Bachelor in Business Administration classmates, the IE University couple reflects on their four-year #IEUlove story, which began where all good stories begin—at the Irish pub.
Ariella: “I’m from Honduras and he’s from the Dominican Republic. Since we are both Latin, we clicked immediately and were very good friends before we started dating. Then one day at the Irish pub in 2016, we spent hours talking outside. Soon after we started going on dates, and the rest is history. Before dating, I never imagined I would end up with him. But apparently he had a crush on me since we first met!”
Francisco and Ariella: “Our time in Segovia was very unique and special, we will always remember that town as the place we met and fell in love. Going on dates, walks or even going to classes together while in Segovia was very charming. Apart from that, all the traveling we did during our time at IE University was also very special.”
Sofia and Jacob: The international couple whose love keeps Dublin
Sofia Choy: Bachelor in Psychology, 2017.
Jacob Lunden-Welden: Bachelor in Business Administration, 2018.
Sofia, who’s family is originally from Hong Kong, was born in the US and raised in Spain. She met her equally international counterpart, Jacob, the opening week of the school year in Segovia. Jacob, is a Swede who grew up in Seoul, South Korea, was smitten with Sofia from the first moment they met. After six years together, this couple reflects on their favourite cultural differences, and what they’re up to now.
Sofia: “The first cultural difference that we appreciate about one another would be all the delicious food that we have introduced to each other. And the second one would be the excuse to celebrate all the traditional holidays from our different countries! A few of our favorites include Chinese New Year, Midsummer’s Day, Mid-Autumn Festival, Fettisdag, Three Kings Day and Thanksgiving.”
Jacob: “After graduating from IE University, we both worked for a while in Madrid. In 2019, we decided to move to Dublin to start our careers in tech. We are still living in Dublin and have enjoyed some fantastic times in the sunny summers and snowy winters.”
Sara and Luis: An IMBA couple who are now mastering the art of parenthood
Sara Lindgren and Luis García Sanes: International Master in Business Administration, 2008.
Sara, who is originally from Silicon Valley, California met her husband Luis, from Perú, in an elective class during the International Master in Business Administration program. Luis remembers Sara as the funny, cute girl who sat in front of him and always did her homework. After 11 years together, they have two lovely multinational daughters, a combination of Spanish, Peruvian and American. The couple reflects on their favorite memories as IE University graduates.
Sara and Luis: “Perhaps it’s not just one memory, but more of a feeling of various moments. Over the years, we have had so many get-togethers with our fellow alumni friends from IE University—whether it’s those who visit us or those who we go to visit—and it always feels like we are picking up from when we last saw one another. We get to relive our moments and learn about our respective lives and families. At the Global Alumni Weekend for our 10-year class reunion, we were having appetizers and our daughters briefly joined us from the kid’s zone. It was super special to see all of our friends again, on IE University’s campus, each with their kids and with their stories. It was that moment where we realized that we have these long-term bonds that last way beyond the classroom.”
Alex and Saber: The couple who swiped right to the altar
Alex Crookes: Masters in Finance, 2019.
Saber Rad: Dual Degree International Master in Business Administration & Master in Finance, 2019.
Dating app success stories are few and far between, but this Canadian powerhouse couple has defied the odds time and time again. From navigating a long-distance relationship to completing their master’s degrees together, this couple has done it all. They are now living in London and, after five years together, the couple shares their insights on long-distance love and reflects on their time together at IE University.
Saber: “If possible, move together and study together. I get that this is not an option for everyone or everyone’s goals, so it’s important to communicate. If you are doing long distance, be clear about how you go about talking to each other—schedule dates, schedule chats, do not be frustrated if your partner does not write you back, etc. Sometimes they’re on the opposite side of the world, meaning Saturday night for one is Sunday morning for another and we could just be in different moods as a result of it. The point is to keep your line of communication crystal clear and always be honest about what you want, you cannot read one another’s mind. Love defies all, and a little distance will not change that.”
Alex: “Saber calls our time studying together a marriage incubator because we were in classes all day together and lived in a tiny apartment, meaning we hung out 24-7 – which accelerated our connection. While I eventually sent him to sit at the back of the class because he was distracting me, it was lovely to study and take classes together.”
María José and Kyriakos Chatzipantelidis: The couple with a Big Fat Greek love story
María José Ruales Holguín and Kyriakos Chatzipantelidis: Master in Market Research and Consumer Behavior, 2018.
Someone can come into your life, and change the course of your life completely. This is exactly what happened with María José and Kyriakos, who are currently building their life together in Athens. An Ecuadorian who never imagined she’d end up living in Greece, María José, with Kyriakos by her side, is now fully immersed in the Greek language, life and culture. After three years together, the couple reflects on the unforeseen adventure that has since become their life together.
María José and Kyriakos: “We were not expecting this at all, and that’s the beauty of not knowing what life has in store for you. We both like traveling, meeting new people and learning about other cultures, so we were open to the unexpected adventures life had prepared for us, and we went for it. And we’re so happy that we did.”
Article written by Alexina Clements from the Global Alumni Relations department. If you are an IE University alumni couple and want to share your story, please email Alexina at: firstname.lastname@example.org