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The native of Denver, Colorado had regretted not doing a study abroad trip during her undergraduate years. “I knew going into my MBA program that I wanted the experience of studying and living abroad,” said Roesch. “I chose to study in South Africa because I had already visited there, right before I started my MBA program at San Diego State.”It is obvious that Kirsten Roesch (’10, MBA) chose the right country for her study abroad experience: she ended up moving there!
"I knew going into my MBA program that I wanted the experience of studying and living abroad."
Roesch selected San Diego State for three reasons: She was offered a great financial package, the school’s outstanding reputation and she wanted to experience life at the beach.
During her time at San Diego State, she returned to South Africa to study at the University of Stellenbosch for a four-month course of study. “Though the course work was very similar, the structure of their MBA program is different from SDSU’s (and most other American MBA programs) in that it was comprised of a small group of students who took nearly all of their courses together,” reported Roesch. “There was less opportunity to choose an area of specialization, but it did make group work and discussions easier since the students were comfortable and familiar with each other.”
When her study program was completed, Roesch stayed an extra five months in South Africa, where she embarked on a contract position with University of Stellenbosch’s business school as a research fellow for a corporate governance project. Once the project concluded, she returned to SDSU to complete her MBA degree in December of 2010.
"Living and studying abroad taught me how to manage change better in both my personal and professional life."
But Roesch’s return to the U.S. was short-lived and she moved to Cape Town, which is located not far from her study abroad location in Stellenbosch. Part of the reason was her love for South Africa and its people, but also because she married a native of South Africa and she and her new husband decided to settle down in his country of origin.
Today, Roesch works as a freelance digital strategist where she specializes primarily in the sports sponsorships arena. She says that she has her study abroad experience to thank for creating a life-changing experience. “I wouldn’t have relocated to South Africa if I hadn’t had the opportunity to study abroad,” she said. “Living and studying abroad taught me how to manage change better in both my personal and professional life. I believe that if I returned to the U.S., I would be a more valuable asset to my employer or clients after having worked in another country.”
And she would encourage today’s SDSU students to follow her lead. “A study abroad program is a fantastic way to live abroad in that much of the difficulty of moving is taken care of for you,” she pointed out. “You’ll have amazing resources to help navigate cultural differences, help with organizing visas and permits, and assistance in sorting out housing, transportation and other issues. Also, your student years are the best time to go abroad – life gets busier and more hectic as time goes on, so it’s important to take advantage of the relative freedom of student life while it’s available.”