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Okanagan College Bachelor of Business Administration student Lauren McKay has received the Premier’s International Scholarship for Study Abroad from the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society.
The Winfield resident is one of only 16 students in the province to receive the prestigious annual award.
McKay, who received $10,000, is currently taking two semesters at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland in Olten, Switzerland, and all courses will count toward her business degree at Okanagan College.
“I am so happy and honoured to receive the award,” says McKay. “Being in a new country and studying with people from different countries and cultures is such a wonderful experience, and will be so beneficial for my career in the future.”
She chose to go to Switzerland, in large part, because of the country’s linguistic diversity (French, German, and Italian are all official languages).
“Engaging in the international exchange program is transformational for our students,” says Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business. “We have an exceptional group of institutional partners and this type of experience builds students’ multicultural communication skills. The Ike Barber scholarship program broadens the opportunity for participation and we are thrilled that Lauren has received this support.”
When she graduates, McKay plans to work in the family business and help her parents expand their pharmacy operations. Afterwards, she hopes to return to school to study consumer behaviour.
“By going to Okanagan College, I feel I've gained practical knowledge in different areas of business (including accounting, management, and marketing) and when I graduate I know I will be prepared for actual work situations and scenarios, not just theoretical ones,” says McKay.
Hugh Gordon, Chair of the Irving K. Barber B. C. Scholarship Society, noted that this year brought forward a record number of applications for the Premier’s Scholarship program.
The Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society has awarded just over $2 million in international scholarships since 2008, when the program began.