Originally from California, Caldwell had retired as a lawyer when she and her husband decided to move to Canada. They were drawn to Vancouver Island’s beauty and temperate forests – and that’s where Caldwell focused her search for programs in digital design.
“It was after I had already been accepted to a larger university that I came across North Island College. The NIC website really captured my attention - and isn’t that what digital design is about?” said Caldwell.
After learning more about NIC’s program offerings, Caldwell found the College checked a lot of the boxes she was looking for.
“NIC offered a 2-year diploma in Communication Design at a much lower cost and they have admission agreements with several universities that would allow me to transfer in as a third-year student if I wanted to continue my education,” said Caldwell. “I realized that NIC is an important part of the communities on Vancouver Island, and as a result, the college has direct relationships with local employers. For me, the tuition savings at NIC, the exceptional faculty, the CareerCentral connections and the beautiful Comox Valley campus – all of that made the decision easy.”
The pandemic forced Caldwell to complete her first two terms remotely from California before arriving in person in the Comox Valley. Caldwell found the support she has received at NIC, both online and in-person, has had a positive impact on her ability to be successful, and that the support has been more fulsome than she experienced during her previous educational experiences at larger institutions.
“Even before my first day as a student, everyone at NIC wanted me to succeed. Whether I was taking classes digitally or on campus, in Canada or in my home country, it didn’t matter. There are so many resources available here,” said Caldwell.
“Our goal is to ensure our international students are fully supported, both as they join NIC as a student and throughout their educational journey,” explained Mark Herringer, NIC’s Executive Director, International Education. “We’re here to support students with everything from accommodation, connections in the community, employment opportunities and academic support.”
That support included helping her transfer to a different program when Caldwell decided to change direction in her studies.
“I changed to the Business Administration post degree diploma in Global Business Management and it’s been a great fit,” explained Caldwell. “A lot of my courses from the Communication Design program transferred so I didn’t lose any time. I was able to use those credits towards my business diploma.”
Caldwell really wants to inspire others to consider NIC, especially people later in their careers who want to try something new. “While it was a leap of faith to return to post-secondary education, I don’t regret this decision. Studying at NIC is an opportunity to learn new things and create my own next chapter. If you’re thinking about coming to NIC, I say, ‘Just do it, and don’t look back.’”
Discover all the opportunities and services available for international students: www.nic.bc.ca/international.