After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022, Anastasia, an H.R. Manager from a small town in southern Ukraine, feared for the safety of her eight-year-old son.
“We lived in a literal nightmare,” says Anastasia. “I didn’t want to leave Ukraine because I loved my country [and] I loved everything I had built there, but I wanted to protect my child.”
In late spring, Anastasia and her son packed their things and moved across the world to live with their U.S. sponsor in Long Island, New York, where they started their lives over from scratch as the summer set in. Waiting on work authorization, Anastasia couldn’t jump into the workforce right away, but she felt more than ready to make the leap.
“I was ready to go to the nearest pizzeria and be a waitress – it was a question of providing for my son and surviving,” says Anastasia. “But I have two master’s degrees, and my friend assured me that I shouldn’t do that.”
By September, Anastasia had her work permit and found Upwardly Global, where her job coach guided her through their “perfect” training program, helping her transfer a master’s in human resources and six years of HR management experience from Ukraine into the professional U.S. job market.
“When I learned about Upwardly Global, I understood that everything would be fine [and] I would be in good hands,” says Anastasia. “I had a great desire to start work here, and based on my experience and skills, I was sure that I would be able to find a good job with their help.”
After just one month in the career coaching program, which helped her build her resume and interview skills, she landed a job as an IT recruiter at Raj Technologies. But even as her new life and career in the U.S. fell into place, war raged on in her home country.
“My family’s still there in Ukraine – I left my mom, my dad, my granny, my cat,” says Anastasia, who tries to call every single day.
Anastasia’s family of two is settling into a routine – each day, she goes to work and her son goes to school. It hasn’t been easy to start over while the rest of her family lives under constant threat, and despite her worries, Anastasia is grateful to have found a better life for her son.
“The fact that I’m working now is a good example for [my son],” says Anastasia. “If you want to survive, you have to work, and you have to work hard.”