Going 'Above and Beyond'

- February 28, 2005

Shawna Bertin recommends taking advantage of exchange opportunities.

Traveling is one thing we'd probably all like to do, or do more of - and for one student that dream became reality when she went on exchange to Denmark. Shawna Bertin got the opportunity to continue her studies on academic exchange in Copenhagen last year.

"I met so many amazing people and traveled to nine countries during the five months that I was there. It's incredible the friendships you can form with students from around the world in such little time. It was an experience I wouldn't exchange for anything, " says Bertin. The graduating student reflects that this opportunity was one of the highlights of the time at Dalhousie.

Bertin's involvement in the program, and her outstanding evaluations during her work terms, recently resulted in her being chosen as Dalhousie's Commerce Co-op Student of the year.

Her most recent work term was with Export Development Canada (EDC) in Ottawa.

"The differential for Shawna's performance over others was the above and beyond activities she undertook," according to Nancy MacGirr, EDC's Manager of Corporate Banking. Among other charitable activities, she organized a corporate presence in the 24 Hour Relay for the Royal Ottawa Hospital. "Shawna is to be commended and recognized for her social awareness and pro-activity in responding to perceived needs," says MacGirr.

It was the Export Development Canada International Studies Scholarship, which she won for excellence in academic achievement, leadership skills and initiative, that led to the exchange in Denmark.

Throughout her studies, she has worked part-time with Goodman Rosen Inc. - a local accounting firm in Halifax, where she completed her first two co-op work terms.

"Through these work terms I was able to gain considerable practical experience in both a small scale local firm as well as a large international corporation. Immersed in these highly differentiated companies, I was introduced to the many options and directions my future career could take," she says.

As she looks to the future, Shawna hopes to continue with Goodman Rosen Inc. After that, she could see herself continuing to travel, and ultimately pursuing a graduate business education or accounting designation.

Her advice to students just entering the co-op program is to take advantage of the services provided by the co-op office on interviewing skills, resume preparation and writing cover letters.

Most of all, she adds, "Go on an exchange - you won't regret it!"


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