After going through a difficult divorce last year, I made a decision. I promised myself that I would visit Paris sometime in 2017. It was my number one on my list of destinations. I thought I might as well start at the top. I didn’t know how I would go or with who, but I made a promise to myself to explore every avenue until it felt just right.
For the last two years, I had started taking classes to finish my bachelor’s degree. I had earned my associates almost twenty years ago when I started working at the university. I had always wanted to go on and get my bachelor’s degree and knew if I didn’t take advantage of the tuition benefit that employees have, that I would always regret it. In 2014, I finally had the support and encouragement I needed to pursue my degree. I knew it would be challenging because my job had evolved so much over the past year. I was the busiest I had ever been in a job or in my life. My job had turned into a rewarding career that I loved, but it could be all consuming if I let it. I worked tons of hours, and really didn’t have time, but I knew I had to make this investment in myself. I thoroughly enjoy being back in the classroom. It has definitely been another rewarding challenge.
I was meeting with my advisor one day to map out what classes to take. We were chatting about how long it would still take me to get through the Management program that I wanted to pursue and he said, “You should think about doing a study abroad trip. You can earn some credit in between semesters and travel to a great place.” I was ecstatic since I love to travel. After all, that was one of my goals and what better way to travel than with some students. I decided to learn more about it. I visited the Study Abroad office and they explained that there were all kinds of trips available to take. Of course, I knew where I wanted to go and asked questions, but just waited to see what would unfold.
As it turned out, there was a 10-day trip to London and Paris through International Business Seminars during the holiday break. This particular company had attracted many NIU business students. And after talking with an IBS alumni ambassador, I was convinced this was my opportunity to meet my personal goal. As it turned out, I wasn’t able to earn credit toward my particular program, but I learned the trip was about 20% cheaper if you weren’t a student and I could still go. I just had to participate in the sessions provided for the students. To me, that was a plus to be able to be a part of the lectures and visits to different businesses in those amazing cities. It was really an advantage to have that cultural background while in those cities. I was also really pleased to find out that there would be plenty of free time to see all the sights and do whatever we wanted. It was a perfect fit for me. The trip was fabulous and I was able to ring in the New year in the City of Light itself.