Our new Spotlight on Success is on Mariami Lolashvili, a recent immigrant from Tbilisi, Georgia. She came to the U.S. four years ago after graduating in Norway and shortly after moving to New York, she received an offer to work with World Education Services (WES). In this article, Mariami shares her inspiring story of integration and provides advice on employment opportunities in the U.S.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Tbilisi, Georgia, and I have been living in New York with my family for over three years. Since I was very young, I dreamed of traveling around the world and exploring different cultures and traditions, but I never thought I would move to another country. Yet here I am in New York, and while I chased my dream by visiting over 16 countries and seeing the world’s most beautiful cities, no other city can compare to New York City. I am a big lover of theatre and classical music—particularly opera. Not surprisingly, my favorite place in the city is the Metropolitan Opera.
How and when did you come to the U.S.?
I came to the U.S. four years ago to join my family who had lived in the U.S. for more than two years. I started learning English when I was eight years old and since my parents had moved to the U.S. before I did, the transition was easy and smooth.
Can you tell us more about your educational background?
I finished high school in Tbilisi, Georgia. After graduation, I moved to Norway to attend Østfold University College and graduated with a bachelor of science in international business and economics. Since I had a great desire to study abroad, I applied for a Norwegian government scholarship and was awarded a full scholarship despite the competition. Some of the things I enjoyed the most in Norway included the viewing the beautiful landscapes called Norwegian Fjords, learning the Norwegian language, traveling around Europe, and living independently.
How did you come to work at WES?
I attended many networking events while I was looking for a job. One of the events I went to was a Pathways to Success seminar offered by Global Talent Bridge. Back then, I did not know that it was part of WES. During this time, I also decided to create a LinkedIn profile, and a recruiter from WES saw my profile and contacted me. Two months later, I started working as a credential analyst for WES.
Did you have other work experience prior to joining WES?
Before I joined WES, I worked as an international communication and project coordinator at Erasmus Student Network (ESN)—the biggest student association in Europe located in Norway—for three years. This was my first work experience where I assisted in creating budget proposals and implemented grant projects that were launched by the European Commission. These grant projects supported student mobility in more than 430 higher education institutions throughout Europe.
What were your career expectations before you came to the
I came to the U.S. with a deep desire to pursue graduate education in business administration. I also came to the U.S. with a desire to explore the wonderful career opportunities the country had to offer. I was lucky to get a great job right away and I am looking forward to the moment when I make a firm decision on when and where I will continue my education in business administration.
What was the biggest struggle you had after moving to the U.S.?
I would have to say that language is one of the biggest barriers that immigrants face. Even though I knew English, it took some time for me to grow familiar with local phrases and words. Adjusting to a new environment and society was really tough as well, but I learned that a small amount of flexibility and tolerance makes everything possible.
Do you have any advice for job seekers in the U.S.?
Because the U.S. job market offers a broad range of career fields and employment opportunities, I advise job seekers to be very specific about their career expectations. Their personal vision on where they want to go and who they want to be can be the biggest challenge they will face during the job search. It is always beneficial to attend job-related workshops and seminars and to join professional associations.
My biggest tip to everyone is: “Don’t think inside the box, remain open to new ideas, and explore career opportunities. Network! Network! Network! Participate in professional networking events, share your story, connect, and do not hold back on your diverse background, leadership talents, and achievements. These may be the biggest traits for your dream job!”