The second term of the first semester often brings just as much stress as the first term, but it also brought me some wonderfully American experiences.
I am a huge basketball fan and the NBA can be a fabulous diversion from schoolwork. This year, during their pre-season, the Cleveland Cavaliers played a game in the Schottenstein Center. I was delighted to have the opportunity to watch the Cavs play right next to my house and having a lifelong Cavs fan with me just made it even better. The stadium atmosphere was completely amazing. The honor of watching the biggest star in the MBA, LeBron James, and his champion teammates was an exciting moment– a nice distraction from the exams and assignments of the program. They truly embody the saying, “work hard, play hard.”
Despite the workload, there is still time to relax with family and friends. On this front, nothing is more traditional in the USA than Thanksgiving. So on the fourth Thursday of November, the 23rd, I spent one of the most traditional and delightful nights of the year with a friend and her family. The image of a big turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, and jellied cranberry sauce is both very accurate and very delicious. I was also lucky enough to be able to try other traditional American dishes like sweet potato casserole topped with toasted marshmallows (my favorite dish) and homemade apple pie. Coming from Brazil, I wasn’t sure what to expect from an American Thanksgiving, but I was thrilled to be welcomed into the tradition and to try all the delicious food. I hope they enjoyed the Brazilian treat that I brought for them, brigadeiros, as much as I enjoyed their cooking.
I had a great time learning more about the holiday. I also had the unique opportunity to get to know my friend’s dogs and their job in agility training. Dog agility exists all over the world, including in Brazil, but I had never gotten up close to the canine athletes. I also got to learn about a very interesting party game called Cards Against Humanity. While not necessarily business-school appropriate, it was great for getting us all laughing at the horrible and hilarious answers.
Had I not come to Fisher College of Business, I never would have had these experiences. I’m thankful for meeting these great people who have welcomed me into their lives and homes. These friends have made the exams and assignments not just easier, but also more enjoyable. They have made the time between assignments more than I could have asked for.
Exactly two months ago, I left my country, my job, my beloved family—and the Olympics, which were being held in my home country for the first time—and prepared to be back at school for the first time in 6 years. After putting in the effort to develop my career in human resources, I had mixed feelings about the journey that was about to start. I was excited that I was finally carrying out my plan of getting my MBA abroad, but was nervous about being in a new place and not knowing anyone. It was also a special moment because, after being in a long-distance relationship for more than 2 years, I was celebrating the fact that I would be living in the same country as my husband!
After getting to Ohio, the difference in lifestyle was evident immediately. Everything that was discussedin Pre-Term is confirmed everyday: it is intense. It is about learning every day, time management and prioritizing, learning tons of material, sharing wonderful experiences with peers and professors. We also are bonding as teams. There’s been amazing teamwork in zip- lining and a scavenger hunt across campus– as well as in graded group projects. And then there is learning more material, coping with stress, experiencing diversity inside and outside the classroom, learning to adapt our own methodologies, learning even more material and of course: having fun with new friends! It’s a lot of experiences– coming at you quickly!
I am originally from Espirito Santo, Brazil, and I lived and worked in Sao Paulo for 6 years. Columbus has delighted me since my interview on campus. The entire city environment, the people, my apartment in Buckeye Village, and all the opportunities here have helped me create a new home (learn more about the city here). I can attest that being an international MBA student at Fisher College of Business has been the best experience of my life so far.
Our professors stressed the idea of envisioning the best outcomes every day when we began this program. They cited “Put the videotape in”– a mantra originally used by Michael Phelps as his motivational motto for performing his best in every race. His “videotape” is the perfect race, in which every movement is precise and flawless. The concept is with me every day.
The whole experience is much more holistic than I was expecting and I can’t wait for the coming semesters so I can take more classes, learn new subjects, meet new people and challenge myself in different areas. I want to “record” and celebrate each of these achievements so that they can become part of my video tape.