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When Erica Lirsjö decided it was time to upgrade her education, she knew that traveling abroad would not only provide her with new experiences, but the skills she desired. After working in the retail industry for six years, Erica felt like it was time for a career change and knew that she would need a higher level of education to achieve her goals. “My boyfriend and I had always been interested in living abroad for some time, so I looked around for options. We chose Canada over the USA because it's reputation, and it was also important for us to choose a town with a NHL team since we are such huge hockey nerds!”
After researching Canadian cities and business programs, Erica settled on Ashton College because she felt that the business program had the right mix of courses. “I liked the way you could start the program any month. This gave me the opportunity to meet new students every month.” She felt that the interesting topics taught throughout the program were made all the more interesting because of the instructors teaching them. “I felt like I got the most out of Leadership, Coaching, and Negotiation in addition to Strategic Management.
Studying abroad allowed Erica to not only gain new skills, but also to grow as a person, “Now I know that I can manage halfway across the world not only by myself, but that my whole family can do it too. My youngest son turned one while we were in Vancouver, and people back home thought we were crazy to go abroad with a baby and a toddler, but it worked out just fine!”
Moreover, Erica was able to really improve her English while also making great new friendships and learning about Canadian culture and the different cultures of her classmates.
Erica notes that the hardest part of studying abroad is being so far away from your friends and family,
“Distance and time can be an issue. Sweden is nine hours behind Vancouver, so the only time I could talk to my friends was on weekends or Skype during lunch in school.” In many ways though, Erica felt that Canada really felt like home, “Canada and Sweden have really similar cultures!”
Studying abroad can be a life changing experience that allows you to gain a wealth of knowledge that can put you ahead of your peers. It is important to do research before applying to programs and consider whether the city is right for you in addition to the academic program you may chose.
“Get informed before you go, look up as much practical stuff as you can before you go. Review the transit systems and how the tickets/monthly passes work. Try and find a good place to live before you go, but be careful at the same time, there are a lot of ‘too good [to be true]’ deals out there. Get a good view of the city and the surroundings via Google streetview – it’s amazing! But most of all, just do it! Have the courage to go and you will never ever regret it!”