Photography: supplied by Kaitlyn Dilsner

Student makes the most of study abroad opportunities

Natasha Katchuk

Thrive met with fourth-year marketing student, Kaitlyn Dilsner, to learn more about her study abroad experiences.

1. Where have you completed study abroad terms?

Earlier this year, I studied at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, Finland. In 2016, I went to Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic.

Kaitlyn Dilsner on study abroad term

2. What first made you think you might want to study abroad or be involved in international business in some way?

I wanted to study abroad because I love travelling and have always been interested in different cultures and learning new things. After a bit of investigating, I saw that it wasn’t expensive, and there were tons of scholarships and opportunities available. My first study abroad experience was a great way to explore internationalism and culture. The second time around, I wanted to pursue international education more specific to my major.

3. What did studying abroad mean to you?

Both experiences had different meanings. My time in the Czech Republic was focused on personal growth and experiencing the world. I travelled by myself to London for a week when I was 19. My second time around, living and studying in Finland, was more about living on my own and connecting more with different cultures. I lived in a dorm with six girls from all around the world. I learned a lot more because my course was specific to my major. It was the best way to learn more about business, growth and competitive strategies in an international setting.

4. What is your favorite story/memory from your study abroad term?

My friends and I had booked a car for a last-minute trip to Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. We didn’t have much more than that planned and were stranded in Estonia because our rental company cancelled our reservation. All we had was a ferry ticket back to Finland and had to find a new car rental and book our hostels. That experience taught me to take it one day a time. It will all work out even though you may not have all planned out at the time.

5. How did receiving the Gary Entwistle and Fred Phillips Travel for Study Abroad Award help you with your most recent study abroad experience?

The Hanlon advisor encouraged me to apply for a new scholarship being offered. I wasn’t sure about applying but did in the end. Receiving the award helped ease the stress because Finland was expensive. Scandinavia is one of the most expensive regions to travel in the world. The award gave me the freedom to focus on experiences as opposed to room and board while studying abroad. I ended up visiting a total of 10 different countries while studying abroad. 

6. Do you have any advice for students considering a study abroad term?

Put yourself out there. It’s a lot of work to go abroad, and it can be overwhelming, at times, but Edwards and the University are there to support you. There is a lot of funding out there to take advantage of, and the value of studying abroad gives you something you can’t get in the classroom. You can’t learn about the culture in the same way without experiencing it. The amount that you change and grow and learn while on study abroad is incredible.

7. Anything else you’d like to share?

Edwards and the University can provide advice on funding and picking a destination. You can combine an Edwards scholarship with the University’s global engagement scholarship. If you have questions about visas, which can be a daunting task, they can support you through it. 

To learn more about the study abroad options available for Edwards students visit

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