Andrea Gunther, MILR '04
Lessons learned by a foreign national working and studying in the US
Andrea had about 3 years of work experience in HR when she moved from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1999 where she worked for three years as a HR Generalist until she decided to take her Master''s at the Cornell's ILR School in 2003.
Andrea speaks about her experience of working and studying in the US:
"From the "honeymoon" stage, where everything was new and exciting in the new American way of life, to understanding that every culture has both good and bad things to offer, the full transition was to me a process of self-discovery. I also realized that assimilating a new cultural environment while remaining true to your own set of values and customs can be even more complex in the workplace, where expectations for you to fit and conform are usually at a higher stake."
I found useful to assess my strengths and weaknesses under the lenses of both the American and Brazilian cultures, trying to build awareness and some level of self-confidence despite the worries and insecurities that are so common to the transition process. At the ILR School, we have the chance to learn about the Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Canadian cultures (just to mention a few) directly from international students. Interacting with people from all over the world has been extremely enlightening and my cultural understanding has only improved." Read entire essay (pdf).
- Andrea Gunther