"I arrived in New York 15 years ago as an intern, and that experience changed my life forever," said Andrea Fantozzi, a partner at international accounting firm Prager Metis. "When you have a dream, realizing it requires a lot of hard work. It is certainly difficult to confront oneself with a different culture and having to function in a foreign language presents all sorts of problems, but the personal rewards can be immense."
Prager Metis has been a trusted J-1 host employer, working with InterExchange since 2014, and has provided excellent internship opportunities to young international students in accounting, business, and marketing. Mr. Fantozzi works not only as a partner in the firm, but also mentors Career Training interns in his capacity as the head of Prager's Italian Team. Though the Italian Team's daily tasks include overcoming inbound and outbound regulatory barriers between Italian and American systems, they also work to overcome cultural barriers as well.
Gaia Picozzi, currently a Prager Metis marketing intern following her graduation from Bocconi University in Milan, said: “I have always dreamed of living in NYC and having finished my Bachelor in Economics, I decided to try an experience in the U.S. in order to learn a job in an international environment. I had high expectations about working in the U.S., and the reality of my dream actually surpassed them. Working in an American firm is like a life workout. I’m improving my English, discovering a new approach to work, and really enjoying it”.
Gaia continued “New York is amazing, it’s like a patchwork of every country in the world within the confines of one city. Every day you meet new people from all over the planet, eat different food, and do something you had never tried before. From museums to parties, from shopping to theater, from just chilling at the park or in a café to having salsa lessons, New York makes you love every single day. It makes you wake up every morning with a big smile because you just know that something really special is in store for you somewhere in the city."
The blending of two cultures is not only great for business, but it is great for relationships. "At Prager Metis, we believe that young and international young professionals are an added value, and we are glad to help them live their American dream,” explains Fantozzi. “If they come from abroad, it allows them to learn daily exchanges and the teamwork required by the American approach to business. This makes them blossom both personally and professionally in ways they could not have foreseen before, and their American colleagues benefit as well.”
Teresa joined InterExchange in 2016 as its Communications Manager and loves using her multiplatform storytelling experience to create content that viewers want to connect with. Teresa is a native New Yorker and an avid traveler who has spent time trekking through Western China, Morocco, and Iceland.