From Canada to Norway and back again

Born in Québec, Bertrand chose to study what interested her without really knowing where it would lead. In 2001, she completed a bachelor of physical education at Sherbrooke and Laval Universities.

For the next few years, she split her time between life as a white water kayaking athlete and coach, and personal trainer in Québec City. At the World Rafting Championship in 2003 she fell in love with a Norwegian and soon after left everything behind to live in Norway. Since then she has lived in Geilo, a small mountain village in the heart of Norway.

Since 2007, Bertrand has worked as a physical education and language teacher at a local high school. It suits her lifestyle perfectly. “Being a teacher turned out to be a good compromise between having the stability of a regular income and having lots of vacation time to escape and go wild,” explained Bertrand.

Bertrand decided to complete an MPE both as a mental challenge and out of personal interest. Her search led her to Memorial. “I had heard about the university and its good reputation before. The fact that Memorial offered an entirely internet-based MPE program made the cut for me. Living in the middle of the Norwegian nowhere land, having two small children and being very often on the move, I just couldn't picture myself having to dramatically change my life situation to pursue studies, and having to drag the entire family along.”

There were some obstacles (distance not being one of them). “My biggest challenge is lack of time, although some may argue that it is a simple question of priority. At the age of 34 and mom of two, juggling between full time work as a teacher, being a national athlete and pursuing master studies may sound like a suicidal plan. It is in many ways.”

“The flexibility of time and space is crucial for me. Clear feedback and quick reply from instructors have also been key, especially when studying on my own.”

When asked whether she was worried that Newfoundland and Norway were so far apart, Bertrand didn’t hesitate. “Distance is irrelevant in the internet world. Besides, courses are built so that communication with other classmates and with the instructor is frequent. I never felt alone in the process.”