When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone? Karen Gambardella shares how beautiful it can be to step outside your established boundaries like the time she decided to help international students acclimate to the United States.

Gambardella, a CFES National Advisory Board (NAB) member, applied for a summer job while attending Northeastern University in Boston that involved on-boarding new students from China and Nigeria. The summer program gives international students the opportunity to take college classes, acclimate into college life, and eventually matriculate into one of seven partner universities across the US.

“Step out of your comfort zone as much as possible”

During the eight-week training, Gambardella conducted one-on-one English tutoring sessions with students, planned on and off campus events to help students acclimate to their new environment, and participated in a myriad of other activities.

“Learning is a two-way street; you can learn just as much from the people you are training, teaching or mentoring as they will learn from you,” says Gambardella, a training coordinator at TransPerfect – the world’s largest provider of language and technology solutions for global business.

When asked what was most important about the experience, Gambardella shared the following: “Seeing the transformation of the students, both academically and personally, was really inspiring, which goes to show how special it was to see people flourish in front of your own eyes. Their English skills improved significantly, their confidence grew, and they were overall much more self-sufficient,” she adds. Her experience with tutoring and love of teaching others self-sufficiency across languages led her to her job as a training coordinator at TransPerfect.

Gambardella, who says she learned how to work in new situations with people she didn’t know or share a culture with, is excited about the opportunity to share her new knowledge mentoring young professionals in her role as a CFES NAB member. “I am excited to get involved.”

The National Advisory Board is a network of professionals who help CFES Brilliant Pathways alumni by offering professional support.