To study abroad, persevere

If creating your own successful business, travelling the world and maintaining impressive grades sounds appealing to you, then BI alumna Helga Stormo might just be your next role model.

Helga is co-founder and CEO of the cosmetics company Happy Wifey, has a completed Bachelor in International Marketing at BI and is currently studying a Master in Global Entrepreneurial Management at the University of San Francisco. Not one to shy away from grabbing life by the horns, here she shares her tips on how to do the same.

All images from Helga’s Instagram: @helgastormo

Helga Stormo graduation

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in International Marketing from BI Trondheim in 2013. Being able to do an exchange year abroad was one of the key factors that led me to this programme, and among all the continents that BI offered, my choice finally landed on Asia ‐ more specifically, Singapore. This year was filled with so many great experiences, and I look back at it as one of the most eventful years of my life so far.

To study abroad, you need to persevere

I think different people have different challenges when studying abroad. Since I had studied abroad before, I didn’t have the typical problems such as being homesick or adapting to a new culture, that many people face. One of my challenges, however, was the fear of missing out on what happened back at home.

Although I was living what many would call the “dream life” in Singapore (one of my friends thought I was backpacking for a year), I still sometimes wished I could be in two places at once. This led to another challenge, which was to balance school work, my personal life, travelling and my engagement in the student association ANSA. In some periods, when travelling abroad, there is so much to do that you simply don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I think that in order for a study‐abroad year to be a positive experience, you need to be able to persevere. Being open‐minded when it comes to different food, people and cultures is also important if you want the most out of your exchange year.

Finding balance in life

Helga on exchange in Taiwan
Helga on exchange in Taiwan

My advice for leading a balanced life is to have a large focus on life, not just work. During my exchange year, I travelled to 11 countries, took my diving license, did bungee jumping, took tennis and yoga classes, arranged an event to Hong Kong for the members of ANSA, and still graduated from BI with results I can be proud of. In my experience, with many things on the agenda you also work more efficiently.

On that note, however, focus on what you’re doing, when you’re doing it. Multitasking makes you inefficient, and projects tend to take longer. My last tip is to find time to exercise, even in the exam period. It releases tension and helps you stay on top of things.

helga
Helga in Girona, Spain

The next adventure

I have two months left on my Master’s in Global Entrepreneurial Management, which has given me the opportunity to study in Barcelona, Taipei and San Francisco. Studying, working and living abroad has definitely given me the ability to adapt easily, whether it be places, people or situations.

Also, running my own company, Happy Wifey, with three friends from BI has been a steep learning curve and a reality check, but made me realise that the startup world is something I really like. Where my next adventure is and what career path I will take is still not finalised, but working with startups and travelling is definitely going to be a big part of it.

Are you interested in studying abroad, either by coming to BI in Norway or exchanging from BI? Tell us why in the comments!

Have a story idea? E-mail your tip to sosialemedier@bi.no.

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