Columbia Graduates Share Their New York City Love Stories

For Pedro, José María, Rosario, and Paul, Columbia was more than just an academic adventure. 

February 14, 2024

Pedro and José María

For José María del Pino (JRN'23) and his then-fiancé Pedro, Columbia wasn't just an academic adventure; it was a leap of faith for their love story. When José María was accepted to the Columbia Journalism School to pursue an M.A. in Politics Concentration, Pedro didn't hesitate to leave everything behind and join him in New York.

Legal marriage wasn't a priority. “We didn't want to rush into marriage to fulfill legal requirements,” but Columbia embraced their commitment. José María recalls, “The university never questioned that we were a de facto couple and not legally married. We were accommodated in a family apartment, and all we received was love and support.”

While José María completed his master's and researched for his thesis focused on the Tren de Aragua criminal organization, Pedro pursued his dreams at the American Music and Dramatic Academy (AMDA), one of the top schools in the country for acting.

“Moving to New York was a great family decision. Several colleagues have asked me if it has been worth it. And of course, it has!” José María assures.

After graduating in May 2023, José María landed the coveted J-School’s Investigative Journalism Fellowship in Global Migrations and started a position as a copy editor at Telemundo 47. He also continues to work as a foreign correspondent for Canal 13 in Chile, a job that has granted him the opportunity to report on two historical indictments against former President Donald Trump, and is excited for the news he will get to cover throughout this crucial election year.

The beginning of 2024 brought a new chapter for this couple—they tied the knot! Families from both sides came together in New York to witness their happily ever after and celebrate with friends. “They also got to know the Columbia campus and how our life in New York was while we were studying. They returned to Chile incredibly happy!” José María says.

Rosario and Paul

Though they studied together in Chile at Universidad Católica’s (UC) Engineering School, Rosario Contesse (SIPA’23) and Paul Potin (CBS’23) didn't truly cross paths until their final year as undergrads. Luckily, they both shared the dream of studying abroad.

“During the pandemic, I applied for a Fulbright scholarship and won it. I then applied to programs in eight different universities. Paul told me to choose first, and he would then apply according to my choice because there were MBA programs he liked at all the universities I had applied to. He was very generous and supportive!” Rosario tells.

When she decided on the Master in Public Administration (MPA) at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the Columbia Business School had – luckily – extended the MBA application deadline due to the pandemic, which allowed Paul to apply and get accepted.

“Living in New York was incredible! The best part was having two great groups of friends: one from the MPA and one from the MBA. Being able to be part of each other's Master's through our friends was very enriching for both of us. Paul even took a class at SIPA, and I took one at CBS, in two different semesters, so we had the possibility to be classmates in two courses,” Rosario explains.

In January of 2023, Rosario and Paul traveled to Chile and got married one semester before graduating from their respective programs. After commencement last year, they embarked on a new adventure, this time in London, where they both now work: Rosario at the Bolson Consulting Group and Paul at Harvest Capital Partners Ltd. “We are so happy; it’s a gorgeous city to live in, and the people are very friendly. The downside is that we miss our friends dearly!” Rosario tells from the UK.