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At HBS Like at Home


Gonzague de Montrichard

Gonzague de Montrichard (EC) talks about how international students can feel at home in Boston.

Welcome Home!

[stag_dropcap font_size=”50px” style=”normal”]W[/stag_dropcap]inter term is on and once the happiness of reunions on campus has passed, International students might feel home sick. Don’t worry, because the HBS bubble has thought of them. So, let’s thank our hosts for their support and share some best practices to improve our two years on campus.

With at least 60 inches of snow so far this winter, a lot of international students wonder may be wondering exactly how close Boston is to the Arctic circle. Regardless of the answer, it it still seems far away from home.

Luckily, our school responds by incredible warmth inside to freezing temperatures outside. Our American friends, faculty, and staff members build a formidable community with us. I would like to give a proper shout out to everyone on campus who makes international students feel welcome and included.

Truth be told, as a foreigner I feel more comfortable at HBS than anywhere else outside from my home country. I truly hope that we all acknowledge the efforts Americans are making so we can have the time of our life. On that note, a special thank you should be addressed to Student & Academic Services who ensure backstage that we have the best experience possible.

Despite all the goodwill, some might feel anxious and miss the cozy embrace of their motherlands. Relax! It’s normal! After a couple of years in the U.S., I am still missing my Parisian life, and some of the norms are still far from what I was used to.

As a new semester starts, RCs are coming back from exotic FIELD 2 destinations while ECs recouperate from exhausting journeys around the world. Re-adapting to HBS pace is not easy. Dealing with recruiting puts pressure on all of us. Finding good team members for our different projects is a difficult game. For international students, alone and far from home, it’s even more challenging. And I’m not even talking of making on the spot bright comments in perfect English!

I wish I could spell out a five-step method to overcome HBS craziness. I can’t. However, I can tell you HBS is a place where you don’t have to play it safe. Take some risks! Enjoy yourself! We are here to learn. Adjustments will push you outside of your comfort zone. Embrace them. If risk-taking is not for you at least talk to someone. Get help, ask for a tutor, find a mentor or just a friendly ear to listen to your concerns.

Let me finish with a memory I have of one our great faculty, Professor Joshua Margolis, who on the first day sang “Brave” by Sara Bareilles. It went like this:

Say what you wanna say

And let the words fall out

Honestly, I wanna see you be brave

Friends, RC or EC, be brave! Talk to each other. If you have a something on your mind be brave and tell your classmates or Student & Academic Services.

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February 19, 2015