Paola Perez from Colombia: Studying for an MBA at McNeese State University

Paola Perez from Colombia: Studying for an MBA at McNeese State University

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

I decided to study in the USA because of the opportunities this country offers, to improve my English, and experience other cultures.

Why did you choose McNeese State University?

I chose McNeese State University because it is a medium-size campus, the college of business is accredited by the AACSB, which is an international accreditation, and I always heard about how welcoming the southern culture was.   

What do you like best?

What I like the best about studying here is learning and experiencing so many cultures in one place. I have had the opportunity of meeting a lot of people from all different places in the world.

What do you miss most?

What I miss the most about home is my family and our traditions.

How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?

I have been here for almost seven years. I came to study just my bachelor’s degree in management with a concentration in human resources and a minor in psychology. After completing it I gained work experience and now I’m about to finish an MBA.

My English has improved a lot. It is completely different when you are back home learning the language than actually living in another country where you don’t have another option more than to speak it. I think that’s the best way to learn or improve your English.

What was your biggest surprise?

My biggest surprise about U.S. life is that everything is fast-paced.

How have you handled:

... language differences?

I handled language differences by watching movies in English, looking up any word that I didn’t know, and practicing as much as I could.

... finances?

I handled finances by keeping track of all my expenses. Every month I entered the amount of money my family sent me and all the expenses I had into excel. This was a very helpful way of keeping track of how much money I was spending and how much I had left.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

Adjusting to a different educational system wasn’t that hard for me because I came from an American high school back home.

What are your activities?

I participated in different activities/clubs/programs/student associations such as the Society for Human Resources Management (Vice- President); Student Government Association (Senator); International Business Club (Treasurer); Student Leadership Advisory Council; McNeese Investment Team; and Habitat for Humanity.

How easy or difficult was making friends?

Making friends in the USA is up to you; it is like anywhere else where you need to ask things and keep a conversation, try to join clubs, associations, or programs where you can meet different people.

How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country? 

I’m about to finish one of my career goals which is the MBA. Another career goal is to get my own business. My U.S. education is very relevant to my personal goals and the needs of my country. This is because I’m able to see things in a different perspective, I have different ideas, and I became fluent in English, among other things which will help me to succeed in my business and help with the needs of my country.

What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?

My advice to other students from my country who are considering studying in the USA is that if they have the opportunity to do it—they should take advantage and come study over here. It is a great opportunity where you are going to learn English, meet so many people from all around the world, travel, learn from all kinds of cultures, and open your mind to different opportunities. 

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