Home > Alumni Stories, Career, Distance Education, Global Leadership, MSGL Classes, Student Life, Study Abroad, Uncategorized > From Montana to Taksim Square: The Life of a Distance Learner

From Montana to Taksim Square: The Life of a Distance Learner


Growing up in Montana, where small businesses (aka, Mom and Pop stores) reign supreme and ethical business was never the exception, I was searching for a graduate program that would emphasize ethics, smart business practices and maximizing profits without compromising the standards I was instilled with in my early years. So, I’m proud to say that I decided to enroll in the MS in Global Leadership (MSGL) Program at the University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration.  Due to a death in the family, I needed to stay up here in Montana during my studies, which thankfully, the MSGL program was able to accommodate by placing me on the Distance Learner route. So there I was, up in Montana, enrolled in a full-time program at the University of San Diego.

Berlin Reception

Debbie Bjerke (Cohort 57), front row center, and other MSGL Students at reception in Berlin

Studying international business and global leadership in the classroom and in my case, the virtual classroom, was only a part of my academic experience. I had the unique opportunity to study abroad with the program, which if you can, I highly recommend it. The program currently takes students to China, Germany, Turkey and Argentina. I had already studied in Argentina during my undergraduate archaeological field school, so I had to choose between studying in China and Europe. I ended up choosing to study Global Politics, Policy and Law in Berlin, Germany and Istanbul, Turkey, which would end up being the most rewarding experience during my time in the MSGL Program.

I started off my MSGL study abroad adventure in Berlin. My experience in Berlin taught me more than just international (German) business policies and law. To begin with, Berlin is an incredibly modern city, which I was able to navigate with ease, even though I didn’t know how to speak German. One of the more fascinating places I stumbled upon with my fellow students was a wine bar (Rutz) where the sommelier educated us on German wine.  Another extra-curricular experience that was incredibly interesting, but more moving than anything, was our visit to the Sachsenhausen’s Concentration Camp. In short, Berlin is one big history lesson.

Tour of Berlin

Debbie, fifth from the left, and other students on bike tour of Berlin.

After about a week, we left Germany for Istanbul, Turkey.  This was the most inspiring and eye-opening experiences of the trip due to the protests and escalating uprisings that were occurring in Taksim Square. The unrest was only about a half mile from our hotel.  Coming from a small-town, I wasn’t used to such large gatherings, especially those that are politically charged.  Standing in the middle of the protests was inspiring on many levels. Every night I fell asleep to the banging sounds of pots and pans and young men shouting.

During the European experience, I was reunited with my classmates.  As a Distance Learner, I had only met my Cohort-mates once during the first week of the program, but it was like meeting old friends again. The study-abroad experience, the high-touch academics and the distance learning technology, enabled this girl from a small town in Montana, to feel welcomed to campus and into a professionally diverse Cohort of hard-chargers and future business leaders. If you are looking for a graduate program that offers a great deal of flexibility and provides the tools to succeed, I highly recommend the MSGL program – and at least one of the study-abroad opportunities. You won’t regret it.

Debbie Bjerke graduated with Cohort 57 in early August. She currently resides in Clancy, Montana and is in the process of transitioning from a career in Archaeology to a new career in business. For information regarding the MSGL Program and/or MSGL study abroad opportunities, please contact the MSGL Marketing and Recruitment Manager, Scott Handley at handley@sandiego.edu.  

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: