In our new Global Citizen series, we highlight alumni who embody a spirit of global citizenship. Our first Global Citizen in the spotlight is Emily Perzanoski '08, who lives in Bucharest, Romania, where she works for Exiger, a global risk and compliance firm.
From her earliest years, Emily has loved learning about other cultures (scroll down for a reference to 5th Grade at The Country School with Kerri Kelly), and she expanded that interest further in college at American University, where she majored in International Relations and minored in Arabic language. A term abroad in the Middle East served to cement her direction. "One of the highlights of my university experience was studying abroad for four months in Amman, Jordan," Emily said. "I loved my time living abroad and engaging with a new culture."
Both her studies and the term abroad led Emily to her post-graduation position at Exiger, where she initially focused on due diligence research in the firm's Washington, D.C. metro area office. She was able to spend a few weeks in Bahrain in 2017 supporting Exiger's monitorship of HSBC, and last summer she spent time in their Vancouver office, focusing on standardizing their immigration, citizenship, and visa due diligence product.
Emily returned from Vancouver energized about growing within the compliance industry, and so when she learned that Exiger had plans to open a new research center in Bucharest, Romania, she decided to apply for the Diligence Operations Lead role there. Emily was selected for the position, and she's been in Romania ever since, except for trips to exciting locales in and around Europe and a perhaps even more exciting journey home this summer to marry her fiancé, Nick, who has been living in Bucharest and working remotely as a federal government contractor.
Emily said she and Nick have "have loved our experience [in Romania] so far," adding that the transition was "made easier by an apartment balcony overlooking the Romanian Parliament, tasty (and cheap) coffee and pastries on our street corner, and 50 euro flights across the region making weekend getaways a breeze." She also very much enjoys her work, which has her leading a quickly growing staff of around 25 people, focusing on training, product review, and performance management.
We asked Emily if anything in her Country School experience may have impacted the direction she has taken. Here was her response:
I definitely think TCS had an impact on my path in many ways. Most broadly, TCS challenges students and pushes them outside of their comfort zones at a young age. From outdoor education, to athletics, to the poetry recitation, I was taught to be well-rounded in my studies and interests, and to try things I might not have without the opportunities at TCS. Because TCS students get used to trying new things, we're more likely to continue challenging ourselves both in and outside the classroom and into adulthood.
Given her fondness for trying new things and challenging herself, we asked Emily what she and Nick were planning for their honeymoon, to which she responded, "We're thinking about a short trip to Baku, Azerbaijan and Tbilisi, Georgia in July, and then maybe a month or so in India after my assignment is over here in Romania."
These comments, and Emily's general mindset and spirit of adventure, reminded us of a Facebook post from several years back. It was 2014, and Emily was on her term abroad. As part of her time as a term abroad student in Amman, she took the opportunity to travel more broadly in the region. One day, on Instagram, she shared photos of herself near the Giza Pyramids and in front of the Sphinx. She captioned the Sphinx photo with the following words: "5th Grade dreams come true."
After Emily posted the photos, her mother, Tammy Perzanoski, sent a copy of Emily's post to her 5th Grade teacher, Kerri Kelly, who year after year introduces students to the wonders of ancient Egypt. "You were the one who planted the dream," Tammy wrote in her email, giving us permission to share the photos and her comment on our own Facebook page. Here's our post from 2014:
Thanks for sharing an update with us, Emily. It's exciting to watch from the sidelines as you continue to challenge yourself to explore new environments and cultures. Keep dreaming those dreams, and, from time to time, please reach out and let us know where in the world you and Nick are headed next.