It all started at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida where Ghislaine Paalman got her associate degree. After that she attended University of Central Florida, but it was at Stetson University where she knew she really belong. “What was hard for me was going from a community college which you know the classes has thirty people to UCF (University of Central Florida) where the classes are like four-hundred students per class. That was so hard for me and my first semester at UCF went really bad because of that,” she says. “After my first semester at the public university, UCF, I started getting use to it and everything went fine after that.
My transition from UCF to Stetson was so much easier because I had a friend that went and did her undergrad at Stetson University and we use to go visit her a lot since it is only forty-five minutes away so I knew pretty much the campus and the classes are so small. I felt just like I felt in high school back home because of the small class sizes and the teachers they really know you. So it is a more personal experience at Stetson than UCF.”
For Ghislaine coming to the United States was about getting an opportunity to experience something new. “I was born in Aruba and I have lived in Holland for four years when I was younger and then went back to Aruba when I turned about ten and I think because Aruba is pretty much Americanize even though we are apart of Holland, but because of the tourism stuff I think we are pretty much Americanize and I have always wanted to come to the states and maybe it has something to do with because I have always lived in Holland and I wanted to experience something new.”
Ghislaine undergraduate degree is in Economics. Now, she is working on an MBA at Stetson University. “I’ve always wanted to do something in Business and I use to like Economics still do, but the Economics at UCF was…I didn’t have the math background for it and I really needed to get done with school to be honest to get a Masters,” she says. “My other brother has gone to Holland to go to college now my mom has two children that are going to colleges and it is just too expensive I need to get done,” she says. “So an MBA is a year and a half and then I am done and I am enjoying now.”
One thing Ghislaine has notice since being here in the United States are cultural differences. She shares a few. “One thing that shocked me when I got here is people like to eat dinner at six (in the evening) and in Aruba we eat a big meal like around noon or two o’clock. That was something I still don’t do. I still eat my dinner at two. That was one of the differences,” she says. “Like me and my American friends we eat at different times. Some other cultural differences are the shops here they close at nine (at night) and everything in Aruba closes at five or six (in the evening). So it is more of a go home and relax and Sundays pretty much all of the shops in Aruba are closed.
Here everything is open. Wal-Mart which is twenty-four hours and there is always somewhere to go to I mean if you wanted to go shopping, but in Aruba, like Sunday we go to the beach with family and friends and hang out, spend some social time together, it is more laid back and in the states everything thing is so fast paced. You have to keep up,” she says.
“I’m living in Florida. Supposedly Florida is slow paced compared to other states in the United States. So there is some major cultural differences but I guess because Aruba is a little bit more Americanize than other islands, I guess that is why I got use to it faster.”
After graduation Ghislaine can remain in the United States for one year and work at a place that is related to her study. She has given thought to a few businesses to work for. “Well, once I graduate at first I wanted to get a job within Price-Waterhouse and Coopers or APMG or an accounting firm like that, but in Florida they are mainly focused on Accounting not the Management part. So the management part they focus on is in up state like in Boston and in New York so that is what I actually want to do, advising and management and how to run businesses and stuff like that,” she says. “But I don’t know if I will get a job like that since Florida mainly focuses on the Accounting part and Auditing part of it, so I don’t know what I am going to do yet, but that is what I want to.”