For Bobby Leytham ’18, a single semester in Spain was a game-changer.
Now a software consultant for a powerhouse company in Bilbao and a player on Spain’s national men’s lacrosse team, Leytham is living his dream, said UMW Professor of Spanish Jose Sainz. A bachelor’s degree in business administration and four years’ experience as a student-athlete from Mary Washington prepared him for the challenge of juggling life as an athlete and a professional living abroad.
Leytham, who grew up in Charlottesville, played lacrosse at Albemarle High School. He was on the varsity team throughout his time at Mary Washington, where he majored in business administration and played guitar with the Sideshows, an all-UMW band he started with friends. But he’d come to college with a desire to study abroad, so when he learned of a faculty-led trip to Bilbao, he joined it.
“I had never been to Europe, and I knew it would be easy to travel around to different places,” said Leytham, who visited everywhere from Rome to Rotterdam during his time abroad.
He studied for months at the University of Deusto, where an international business course led to a visit to IDOM, a company that offers engineering, architecture and consulting services in the Spanish market. When his stint abroad ended, Leytham said adiós to Bilbao and IDOM, but he knew in his heart he’d return.
Back at Mary Washington, he approached Sainz, who also directs UMW’s Center for International Education, for help securing a post-graduation job with the company.
“From the first minute I walked into his office, he has been willing to help however he can,” Leytham said about Sainz, who helped him review job qualifications, work through the application and write his résumé.
Shortly after Leytham completed his degree at Mary Washington, he got a call from across the Atlantic. He’d landed a job with IDOM, where he helps clients update, integrate and automate business processes. Each day, he draws on the lessons he learned at UMW, both in the College of Business and on the field.
“After four years of balancing school and lacrosse,” he said, “my time management skills are really strong.”
As a member of Spain’s national team, Leytham travels the region, indulging in the geographic and cultural diversity he loves, from the lush, green mountains of Basque Country, where he lives, to Catalonia, from the Balearic Islands to the Canaries.
“He saw an opening,” Sainz said. “It really is his dream come true.”
In celebration of International Education Week 2019, Nov. 18 to 22, UMW shares stories of students who have studied abroad. One in three Mary Washington students volunteers, interns, conducts research, or joins a faculty-led trip or other UMW-approved experience outside the United States, according to Center for International Education (CIE) Director Jose Sainz. Visit CIE or call (540) 654-1434 for more information.