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Learning in the time of COVID-19

Alumni News Magazine | Fall/Winter 2020

Coming from big city life in India to a quieter life of study at UNB in Fredericton was a refreshing change for MBA student Angelisa Daly, and it was something she deliberately sought out. She wasn’t expecting it to be as quiet as it’s gotten since COVID-19, however.

Daly wanted to gain independence and experience a new culture by studying abroad for her MBA. She chose Canada because of the opportunities in the country and selected UNB because of the lower cost of living and quiet and beautiful setting it offered.

It was her first time outside of India, and upon arriving in Fredericton after a very long journey, made a new close friend – Ellen, the host of the Airbnb she stayed at for a few days before moving into her permanent residence. “Fortunately, she was the mother-figure I needed here as I transitioned for the first time away from home to a new country,” she says.

In 2019, as she began classes on campus, Daly found that more than half of her peers were also from India, with the other half being a mix of Canadians and international students from other areas around the world. “Everyone was so approachable and respectful of one another. It made  it easy to jump right into this  new culture.”

And Daly did jump in fully.

In addition to her studies, she became a first-year MBA representative of the Graduate Management Student Society and in the spring was elected as president. “Being president is an amazing opportunity to learn and understand the perspectives of both students and faculty. It’s eye-opening to see the dedication and work from both sides. When COVID-19 forced classes to move online, it was incredible to see how quickly faculty moved to completely shift the way they taught.”

Her experiential learning didn’t stop on campus. Over the summer, while respecting New Brunswick’s public health guidelines, Daly took part in UNB’s catalyst program and worked with four different New Brunswick organizations virtually to help them develop new strategies to reach and serve customers in a new way during the pandemic. “I did a lot of research and created strategic plans, training manuals and virtual events. I had amazing experiences and learned new skills like podcasting, building customer personas and mapping customer journeys.”

Now back in classes for her second year, Daly says it’s very different and that virtual learning has its ups and downs. “Group work can be more difficult online and I definitely miss the human interactions of having in-person class discussions. It’s just not the same being online at home alone, and it was overwhelming at first."

"But it has gotten better and I’ve seen how the faculty have been doing everything possible to give us a great learning experience. At the end of the day, we all realize that this is just the way it has to be, and that’s ok. It’s given us a chance to learn a lot of new online skills that we wouldn’t have otherwise learned. I’m going to use this experience to help me grow and reach for the stars!”

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