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From Florence to Texas: Dealing with culture shock in international roles



“You start questioning, ‘Am I not fitting in?’ Then I realized that the coffee machine was in a dark room where people just go individually, pick up their drink and leave. And that was a massive culture shock for me as an Italian.”

Building relationships in an alternative way

However, as Bersani immersed herself more into the Toronto scene, she realized that Canadians are “super kind” – and have a different way of building a relationship.

“It’s so interesting interacting in another culture – adopting to the Canadian way. I found a way to build relationships in a way that was more like their way and not my way.”

And then when she finally found her feet in Canadian HR, Bersani upped and left for Texas and another type of culture. Now, as Executive Director of Human Resources at energy technology giant Baker Hughes, she’s never looked back. Speaking to HRD, Bersani says she’s fully settled into the Houston way of life. 

“I feel very local here, but I’m also involved with the Italian community here. I’m a member of the Committee for Italians Abroad – my goals are to help the Italian community, especially the new people that come to Texas too so they suffer less culture shock.

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