University Canada West’s Class Valedictorian for 2017 is looking forward to the career doors that her new Master of Business Administration degree will open for her.

Kathya Arteaga Gonzalez is originally from San Salvador, El Salvador. She had earned a law degree and post graduate diplomas in business studies, but only had what she considered an “OK job.”

She and her husband, Carlos, decided to move to Canada to start a new life and new opportunities.

“We decided to pursue something else,” she said.

They arrived in Toronto and Kathya was considering pursuing certification in human resources (HR) but found out about UCW’s MBA program while weighing her options.

The MBA program is a more comprehensive education than earning just the HR certification, but Kathya realized its benefits.

“It’s better to know the other areas of a business, even if you’re working in HR,” she explained.

She heard about University Canada West (UCW) and talked to a recruiter to learn more. The MBA fits exactly what she was looking for.

She applied and received a scholarship, so they packed up and made the move west to Vancouver after only two months in Toronto.

Her husband didn’t yet have a work permit, so things were tight, but they got by. She found a part-time job, but soon realized that four courses and job were a lot to juggle.

Kathya started with UCW’s University Access Program (UAP) to upgrade her Academic English.

“It was the best decision I ever made, and it was very good experience,” she explained.

Kathya had believed her English was at an intermediate level, but soon learned that Academic English is considerably different than simply speaking the language on the street.

In hindsight, she admitted that she initially over-estimated her English abilities, but was glad she took the English preparation courses as well as the free workshops before plunging into her degree program.

Kathya said she was particularly grateful to head UCW’s Chair, Academic Preparation Carel Schoch for his help and guidance.

Kathya said he helped her tremendously.

“He was the best English instructor I ever had,” she said.

She completed the UAP program in three months and moved on to the MBA Foundation program, which took about 3.5 months to complete. She completed both with stellar grades.

“Kathya was in our second-ever UAP class,” said Schoch. “Kathya always engages fully with everything she sets her mind to.”

She did her homework and was constantly engaged and focused on an effort to improve her language skills, he added.

“She was a star student,” Schoch said.

Kathya continued her academic momentum and worked her way through the MBA program and finished with the second-highest cumulative grade point average in her class.

She found a number of advantages to studying at UCW. Kathya liked the smaller class sizes, which allowed her more one-on-one time with her professors. It also facilitated the exchange of ideas with classmates, as well as the faculty.

She summed up her time at UCW quite succinctly.

“It was quite intense, but worth it,” she said.

With four-compact semesters per year, it meant Kathya was able to earn her degree more quickly. She finished her preparatory programs and the MBA program in 2 years.

Kathya and her husband didn’t know anyone when they moved to Vancouver, but she said the staff at UCW were extremely welcoming and helpful, which made the transition a lot easier.

She found herself in a similar situation to many people, who have traveled great distances and made personal sacrifices to study at the business-focused university in Vancouver.

Kathya made many friends and contacts during her time at UCW.

“It was great to meet people from all over the world,” she said. “It was an amazing experience.”

She was surprised, but delighted, to learn that she had been named Class Valedictorian.

Kathya will remain in Vancouver and is now looking to launch her career in human resources.

“We love the city,” she said. “It’s an amazing city.”

University Canada West is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. The University offers both online and on-campus Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication and MBA programs. The business-oriented university provides students with the experience to succeed in their careers and scholarships to recognize students’ academic excellence. For more information about UCW email [email protected]