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MSc · Leili Sinaei

The space of "Pause"

Jan 9, 2023


It has officially been one year since I started the Ivey MSc in International Business. This year has simultaneously been the shortest and longest year of my life. The shortest because of how fast the time has gone by. I have never lived through one year, 52 weeks, quicker than I have this one. The longest because when I think back to who I was before starting the program and look at who I am now, I can't help but feel that this much personal evolution would have taken three years under normal circumstances. I have experienced personal and professional growth like never before, made incredible friends from all around the world, travelled to beautiful places in South America and Europe, and have many more travel plans on the horizon. Now I sit in the living room of my family home and reflect on this year, awaiting my next semester abroad in Vienna.

I have titled this blog post The space of ''pause" because I am currently floating in limbo. I have just completed both the Ivey Global Lab where I spent two months in Lima, Peru, as well as my first exchange term at Esade Business School in Barcelona, which I recently returned from. After months of:

  • Putting myself in uncomfortable situations for the sake of learning;
  • Traveling with new friends;
  • Eating outrageously delicious foods;
  • Being on the go, every minute of every day;
  • Leaming about the world and the way of business;
  • Seeing the affects of inequity in education, income, food, and housing in people's lives;

I have come back to a small town that no longer feels like home, back to a maddening stillness of having nothing to do, nowhere to walk, and nothing new to experience. I feel I am going insane from the lack of challenge in my day to day life, and in the spirit of honest reflection, I have no idea how I'll be able to endure another month of this. I went from being a completely self­sufficient woman, living in downtown Barcelona, speaking a new language, creating new opportunities and experiences for myself, to someone who barely hits 500 steps a day.

In four and a half months, my entire vision of my "ideal future" has shifted. I have decided that I will return to Spain upon graduating from this Masters. The feeling that I belong there is one I truly cannot shake, and one that I am willing to leave almost everything behind for. This is the challenging part of living abroad, I think. You can feel completely at peace with a decision you've made long ago for your future, and in a few months, your love for a new city, a new way of life, a new you, can uproot everything you imagined.

I remain in awe of this program and everything it has given me. I have sought opportunities that did not exist for me a year ago. The people I have met will shape my life forever and the overwhelming growth I have experienced has increased my resilience and knowhow.

For now, I prepare myself for the final semester of this degree, begin job hunting, and continue to make the most of this privilege.