SEMESTER SERIES : GISELLE BARRERA – Making the leap – Coming to Goizueta as an International Student

Going back to school to get your MBA is not an easy decision to make. When you add the fact that you have to leave your country, your family, friends –and life- behind, the decision can become much more complicated.

This is exactly where I was about a year ago, pondering whether I should go to Business School. I had a good job, enjoyed the closeness with my friends and family, but had clear goals I was determined to achieve.  After going through the initial research, the application process, and receiving that -long awaited- call that I had been accepted, I felt a mix of excitement and relief. I thought it would probably be downhill from there. But it wasn’t, my whole life was about to change.

Attending Goizueta’s Welcome Weekend was a great experience that definitely made the transition easier. The fact that I had already visited the school, met some of the current students and some of the prospectives that would be my classmates eased the anxiety of coming to a new place and starting a new life from scratch. I do not know how the Admissions team does it, but they put together a pretty amazing group of people, and you will be able to see it even before you come to class. You will make friends from the admitted student group and cherish those friendships. I was admitted to other schools and was fortunate enough to visit other admitted student events, but there is just something different about our school that you will not find elsewhere. Our core values of Community, Diversity and Accountability are not only written on the walls, they are lived and breathed everywhere you go on the school.

There is also an English Language Program that international students can attend before orientation if we feel the need to polish our English skills before classes officially start. Overall the Emory population is extremely diverse and as an international you feel part of a very global community.

Once you arrive in Atlanta, you realize you have an incredible support system from day 1. There are a number of current students, faculty and alumni who live in the area and are willing to give you their help if you need it. Before moving here I often thought I might feel alone because I would have no family here. But very soon after arriving I realized I had a family within Goizueta, there are always social events going on both inside and outside of campus, so you are never out of the loop from the community.

There are many challenges you face as an international student: the cultural differences, the language barrier, and the adjusting period, but the Goizueta Community truly takes you in, so you never feel out of place. We often hear how diverse teams come up with the best ideas and problem solutions, and I think this is one of the main reasons our program is so successful, because we make the most of everyone’s different experiences and we help each other succeed.