Global Citizens: Mojmir Petras ’21 Adjusts to New Culture at Andover

Mojmir Petras ’21 is considering picking up guitar or saxophone at Andover.

New Upper Mojmir Petras ’21 flew over 4,000 miles from his home in Bratislava, Slovakia, to arrive on campus this fall. After spending a month at Andover, Petras feels the biggest difference between Slovakia and the United States is the “openness of the people.”

“It’s [a] different culture, different customs, but I think the community is really inclusive so that helped me a lot… It’s kind of weird [because] I’m not used to being asked the question, ‘How are you?’ that often. People just say, ‘Hi, how are you?’ so that [was] kind of weird at first, but it’s really nice,” said Petras.

When applying to secondary schools, Petras followed the path of several of his friends who decided to attend school in the U.S.

“A bunch of my friends went to the U.S., so I was just following the track. I did research, long research, and I found out about Andover. I applied, and I’m an ice hockey player so I got in touch with the coach, and that worked out really well,” said Petras.

Paul Tortorella, Head Coach of Boys Ice Hockey, remarked on Petras’ ability to balance his competitiveness and team spirit.

“Mojmir has the skill and vision to be an asset in all areas of the school. I like the fact that he is a complete competitor, willing to do the unheralded work while having the ability to make exciting plays in the open areas. He’s a great teammate and is really focused on his work while still being able to relax in a hammock,” said Tortorella.

Although Petras has begun to find a place in the Andover community, he also misses home.

“I miss my brother. We talk a lot [on] the phone… but I made some good friends here, so I’m trying to adjust,” said Petras.

One such friend is Gregor Deveau ’21, who lives with Petras in Fuess House. Deveau described Petras’ subtle humor as one of his most notable attributes.

“We live in the same dorm, so he’s already like a brother to me… Here and there when we’re having a chat he’ll say the funniest thing. He won’t say much, but he’ll make everyone laugh. He often sleeps in my room. We have a futon. It’s like his primary room, so he’ll just work in his room and sleep in ours, so that’s funny,” said Deveau.

Shree Menon ’20, another member of Fuess House, feels that Petras has been a positive addition to the dorm environment. According to Menon, Petras has also adapted well to the cultural climate at Andover.

“[Petras] is a really friendly guy. He’s outgoing. He’s easy to talk to. He’s always there when you need him, even in the first couple of weeks. He’s just a good presence to be around,” said Menon.

“I know he is very studious, but at the same time he’s not too serious. He likes to have a good time… We have a good group of friends already in the dorm. [As] an international student, he really fits in to Andover… [He’s] not shy at all, even coming in as a new Upper,” continued Menon.

After being one of Petras’ house counselors for a month, John Bird, Instructor in English, has noticed both Petras’ studious habits and the connections he has formed with peers. Bird is looking to learn more about Petras in the year to come.

“I would describe Mojmir as quiet and studious and serious. He’s very tight with his hockey teammates, as well as some of the other guys in the dorm, particularly new Uppers and PGs. Definitely sociable, certainly… He’s new to me. He’s new to the school, so I’m still getting to know him in a lot of ways, but I like him. He seems like a really nice guy,” said Bird.

While Petras has already identified some of his favorite things at Andover, such as the food in Paresky Commons and his dorm mates, he’s still waiting to find the thing he cherishes most.

Petras said, “Number three, probably Paresky food… Number two is my dorm, my dorm mates. I’m pretty close with them. Then number one, I don’t know. I’ll probably need more time to find my number one here.”