When Roberto came to Auburn University to finish up his undergraduate studies, he never imagined he would accomplish so many personal milestones, like meeting the love of his life, getting married, or becoming a leader. When he first arrived on campus, he focused on getting a business degree so he could help run his father’s shop back home in Brazil. He was also nervous about living abroad for the first time.
“In the beginning, it wasn’t easy — I had to leave my hometown, my family, and my friends to go to a different country with a new culture and a new language,” Roberto said. “I was scared at first, but I overcame these fears and the challenge[s], and the whole experience has been totally worth it.”
Roberto met his future wife, Katie, shortly after arriving in Auburn, Alabama. Katie, who was one of Auburn Global’s orientation leaders, showed him around the school his first week on campus. They hit it off, and the rest is history.
“We were friends, we would hang out together on the weekends, and then we got closer,” said Roberto. “We [had been] together for about two-and-a-half years. I’m graduating now, it was the right timing, and so I proposed and we got married last December.”
Katie helped Roberto find a social life on campus, but Roberto also made many friends working, joining clubs, and playing sports. Roberto is passionate about soccer and quickly found an intramural team on campus, where he could participate and make friends. In his second year, Roberto joined the Auburn club soccer team and traveled across the US, seeing different parts of the country and competing with students from other schools. By senior year, he was president of the soccer club.
“It’s very important to find a community and be involved on campus,” said Roberto. “A lot of times, if you are not busy, you tend to stay at home and not do things. So I would recommend to other international students to stay busy and keep your mind occupied. Have stuff to do.”
In addition to playing soccer, Roberto took steps to build his resume by working on campus and finding internships. His first role was as an executive suite ambassador at Auburn football games, where he got to experience the excitement of a full stadium of passionate Tigers fans.
“It was a good experience — especially for me — since I like sports. American football, we don’t have anything like it [in Brazil]; it’s a very American experience,” said Roberto. “Since I would work the football games, sometimes I would be able to see the Auburn War Eagle circling the stadium.”
Roberto also worked as an Auburn Global Student Ambassador, where he got to meet prospective international students, answering their questions and showing them around campus. “I was able to help students coming in, and supported them in any way that I could. I learned so much and I was able to develop leadership skills from these experiences,” Roberto said.
In his senior year, Roberto interned for credit with the marketing department of popular US fast-food chain Chick-fil-A. Roberto’s internship was supposed to last three months, but he did so well, they kept him on for an extra six months. The experience helped define what Roberto is looking for as he applies for his first professional role.
“It was awesome, [and] it was my first experience working outside of campus,” said Roberto. “I was able to find the job that worked with my visa through the university. I had some assignments and was able to get credit for the internship.”
With his Chick-fil-A internship completed and graduation looming this spring, Roberto and Katie are ready for the next step in their lives, both personally and professionally. They plan to move to Florida, where Katie has landed a post-graduation job, and to be closer to family. Roberto is using the work, study, and internship experience he gained at Auburn to apply for marketing roles in the area.
“Auburn University has a great business program. I have learned so much from all of the professors and the courses throughout my years here,” said Roberto. “I was able to get an internship last summer, and I’m really excited to be graduating in May. I’m just ready to get started.”
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