Switzerland. Brazil. New York. For Charles Ma, stamping his passport has played a big part in earning his Bachelor of Commerce degree. Back in 2007 he caught the travel bug during a vacation to China and three years later, walked away from his career as a realtor to go back to school.
“I loved the real estate industry, but I had an epiphany on that trip and decided I wanted to become a lawyer,” explains Charles, who chose International Business as his pre-law degree.
“ I really think I am who I am today because of these experiences. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to make the connections I did and gain such an advantage from my student experience.”
As Charles advanced through the program—participating in a field study in Brazil, an international trade simulation, an exchange program in Switzerland and a trip to New York City to participate in the National Model United Nations Conference—he learned a lot about business, the world and himself. “I really think I am who I am today because of these experiences. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to make the connections I did and gain such an advantage from my student experience.”
There have been several signs along the way that taking a global approach to his education was the right choice. While in Switzerland in 2014, Charles received the call that he was being recognized with the International Business Student Award at the 2014 Alberta Export Awards. And a few months later he received one of 30 International Business Scholarships from Export Development Canada (EDC).
“It felt like a sign that I was going in the right direction and really made me look forward to the future,” says Charles, who is finishing up his last courses and plans to both graduate and write the Law School Admission test (LSAT) in the fall.
So much has changed since Charles’s first trip outside Canada. “I’ve learned so much—how to deal with the consequences of my actions, that failure is something you have to face on the path to success and that if you never quit pursuing your goals, you can never fail at achieving them.”
Originally published in Spring 2015 issue of Aspire.
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