In weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I want to thank you for your faith in me and for letting me help you support your foreign national employees. Helping foreign nationals has been a passion of mine from the time I was in college.
When I went to Boston University for my undergraduate studies, many foreign national students befriended me. I’m not sure exactly why we were drawn to each other. Maybe it was my affinity for studying languages. Between high school, college and graduate school, I studied French, Spanish, Italian and Russian.
Whatever brought us together, I enjoyed learning about my friends’ cultures and helping them navigate daily life in the United States.
I also got a chance to understand their experience myself. I spent extended stays in Costa Rica, Ecuador and Padova, Italy to strengthen my Spanish and Italian language skills.
Living abroad gave me two key insights. First, it showed me how hard it could be to live in a country that is not your native home. Something as routine as establishing a bank account or paying a phone bill can be difficult to figure out on your own.
Second, I began to understand how our home culture affects how we respond to problems. Often it is an incredible source of strength and resilience.
My experience abroad and the friendships I had with foreign nationals in the United States inspired me to seek a job where I could continue to work with them.
I became an International Student Advisor, first at the University of Houston and then at Purdue University. My F-1 and J-1 students trusted me to help them navigate the complexities of their visas and of living here.
As a Student Advisor, my ability to help my students was limited to my knowledge of the regulations for their visas.
One day a Lebanese student who had fallen out of status by failing to take a full credit load of classes came to me for help. While working to reinstate him, the situation got complicated with extenuating circumstances, and we referred him an immigration attorney for help.
My inability to continue on the case frustrated me. At that point I decided to go to law school to become an immigration attorney myself.
Unlike other areas of law, immigration is governed by several different agencies and a slew of evolving regulations. I enjoy the challenge of keeping up with regulatory changes and using my creativity to manage each individual case. No two cases are ever the same.
New foreign national needs crop up faster than the regulations can keep pace, and often I work to solve a case’s needs without a precedent. I’ve also learned how to tailor the pitch for my case depending on the agency involved.
Most of all I enjoy working with you and your employees so that you can fill positions with the best qualified talent and the foreign nationals you hire can focus on the job they came here to do.
Thank you again. Grazie! Merci. Gracias. Спасибо.