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November 10, 2017

Nana Robitashvili and State Department Professional Fellows

For Nana Robitashvili, spending six weeks in the United States ended up being an important learning experience in ways she couldn’t have imagined.

Nana RobitashviliRobitashvili is a Georgian citizen who came to the U.S. and the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP)’s CONNECT2Careers (C2C) under the Professional Fellows Program (PFP), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. PFP gives promising young professionals around the world the opportunity to learn about the U.S. government through short-term fellowships in state legislatures and city halls across the U.S., as well as on Capitol Hill and in nonprofit organizations that address policy issues.

Robitashvili learned about this program through the newsletter produced by the U.S. embassy in the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi.

“Because Georgia is a young democratic country,” says Robitashvili, “it is important to learn about more developed democracies [like the U.S.].”

In Georgia, Robitashvili is the deputy director of the Tbilisi Youth Centers Union, where she leads youth efforts in education, workforce development and athletics. Robitashvili holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs. While a fellow with SDWP, Nana worked closely with C2C’s training team to understand what youth workforce development opportunities exist in San Diego and how those opportunities may be transferrable to Georgia.

Robitashvili is particularly interested in shifting attitudes in her home country around educational attainment expectations. She believes not all occupations require university degrees, citing many Georgians who have higher education degrees have difficulty finding work in their areas of study or interest.

“It’s better to be a good hairdresser than a bad doctor,” she quips.

During her time with C2C, one of the many things Robitashvili learned is that financial literacy is a key piece of empowering young adults for career success, something she plans to share with colleagues in Georgia. She also noted that C2C is well-organized, citing its weekly Monday morning meetings as a particularly great part of the culture.

“I like that we do personal check-ins after the weekend and discuss [work] plans for the week,” she says.

Upon her return to Georgia, Robitashvili plans to publish a textbook covering ways to assess personality fits for various occupations and how to match people with opportunities. She is also currently applying to a master’s program in organizational behavior in the U.K., and now realizes from her time in the U.S. that living away from home is far more difficult than she imagined. With this new informative experience, if she is accepted into the program, she would bring her nine-year-old son Nugo to stay with her in the U.K., something she hadn’t considered doing prior to her time in San Diego.

This sense of homesickness has brought her new appreciation for her home country.

During her time here, Robitashvili learned not only about youth employment strategies but the kindness of her SDWP colleagues and Americans in general. She has been staying with a host family, a couple residing in Chula Vista. Her host family and colleagues at SDWP often offer her rides to and from work.

“People here are so friendly, and not just to be polite,” she says. This smashes certain stereotypes Robitashvili has heard about Americans in other countries.

“I have friends now in the U.S.”


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