Marissa has an HBA from the University of Toronto and a postgraduate certificate in Corporate Communications. She recently finished a study abroad program in Ghent, Belgium and is an advocate for anyone who is interested in taking the leap and studying abroad. She is an avid traveler who is looking to turn her career into a lifestyle through continuing her work internationally.
I have always had the urge to travel the world but I had suppressed these feelings for the first 20 years of my life because I thought that getting a university degree straight out of high school was my first priority.
Upon receiving my degree, I decided it was time for me to jet off and finally see the world I’d been itching to see. I began my journey backpacking through Central America and as the saying goes, I had caught the travel bug, which any avid traveler will tell you is definitely a thing.
After taking a year off to travel I began to struggle with the idea of having to settle in one place. After seeing so many other beautiful places to live in I decided to prolong the inevitable by going back to school. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy after having a taste of a different life traveling so I decided the only way I would be fully satisfied with going back to school was if I could travel while I studied.
This time my studies took me to Belgium, where I experienced a completely different culture filled with chocolate covered waffles and shops that closed in the middle of the day for lunch.
I had the ability to immerse myself in a different culture while still having the security of a daily routine by going to school. I became a true Belgian and adopted new cultural attitudes towards life and school by seeing the different ways in which other cultures and institutions operate. There is definitely a different style to living in Europe that is embodied within each piece of food, fashion and overall attitude towards life and work.
I had the opportunity to add extra value to my degree by studying abroad that went far beyond the course work I was taught. It gave me the opportunity to work in an international context with people of different cultures. Even though I already come from a multicultural country, studying abroad provided me with a completely different perspective by removing me from the comforts of my own country.
One of the reasons I am so passionate about traveling is because of how much you grow as a person just from taking yourself out of your comfort zone and studying abroad is no exception.
Having the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally while getting to travel the world is truly priceless. It is an experience of a lifetime that is not only valuable to your own personal journey but your professional one as well.
As I am sure most young graduates can relate, the job market is becoming increasingly competitive and also much more interconnected. Being able to work on an international level and being able to understand the different ways in which other cultures and economies operate is truly an added value to any young professional’s career.
So when you are deciding whether studying abroad is right for you, take into account the extra value that money can’t buy. Be aware of the unique opportunity that lies before you that so few other people are fortunate enough to get the chance to take.