An International Bond

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Image of two women, one dark haired with glasses, the other blonde, standing together and smiling.

When Ashley Winchester moved to the East Kootenay, it was to be closer to her brother but then she fell in love with the area. When she decided to start her post-secondary education, Ashley registered into the Tourism and Recreation Management program at the College’s Cranbrook campus.

While Ashley expected to get an education that would help her to build a career, she has also learned a lot from her fellow students, especially those from other countries.  Though going to school with International students was not a new experience for Ashley, it has proved to be a life-changing one for her at the College.

One of Ashley’s fellow Tourism & Recreation Management classmates is Julie.  Julie came to the College from Antwerp, Belgium.  She sat behind Ashley in one of their classes and they found themselves paired up for a class project.  Soon a tremendous friendship blossomed.

Ashley has always loved learning about other cultures and has found that being in class with International students allows her to broaden her perspective and to learn from the customs and experiences of people who have grown up differently from her.

Ashley and Julie frequently talk about the differences in their lifestyles, their school experiences and their cultures.  They found, however, that despite these differences, they share very similar values and goals for their futures.  They are now the best of friends.

Ashley would strongly recommend her fellow students be willing to open their minds and their hearts to the International students at the College.

“I encourage others to open their horizons and to learn from those with different backgrounds and who may be from different social classes, “she says.  “Simple things that we take for granted might be a big deal for someone from a different country.  It is fun to experience things through their eyes.  It is also a great feeling to know you have positively impacted someone’s time in Canada.”

When Ashley completes her Tourism and Recreation Management program, she hopes to continue working for Parks Canada for a while before finding work that allows her to travel – perhaps on a cruise ship.  She hopes to eventually become a cruise director or a sales representative for a cruise line.  And, of course, she will continue to nurture her friendship with Julie and build new friendships with people from around the world.