The Hub Counsellor completes master’s from rural Manitoba

Counsellor completes master’s from rural Manitoba

Cara Zaharychuk chose AU’s Master of Counselling so she could study from anywhere

Cara Zaharychuk (Master of Counselling ’17) always wanted to go back to school to advance her education and career, but uprooting her family from their home in rural Manitoba was a non-starter.

Not only was attending university classes in person not possible, Zaharychuk and her family love to travel. She needed a university program that would offer her a more flexible, accessible, and convenient way to learn, including from the road.

“I chose Athabasca University (AU) mostly because of its distance learning, which allowed me to complete almost my entire program from rural Manitoba,” explains Zaharychuk, who lives in the small town of Melita in southwest Manitoba.

“The pacing of courses allowed me to work part time, be an involved parent, and maintain a healthy active lifestyle.”

More balance between life and studies

When she enrolled in AU’s online Master of Counselling program, she says there was some anxiety about learning in a different learning environment. But she credits AU for helping students overcome such barriers.

Online studies at AU also introduced Zaharychuk to a diverse group of peers, many of whom she had the opportunity to meet during the occasional in-person requirements of the counselling program.

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“The opportunity to meet like-minded people dealing with many different life situations helps create a very supportive learning environment,” she explains. “Five years later, I am still in touch with classmates that I met during these in-person sessions.”

Zaharychuk is certified by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association and works as a school counsellor at a local K-12 school. Now that she’s completed her master’s degree, she wants to run her own clinic with a focus on play therapy—hopefully in a warmer climate so she can continue travelling.

Thanks to AU’s open, online studies, it’s a dream that’s one step closer to reality.

“The ability to continue my education—all from the comfort of my own home and without uprooting my family—was invaluable.”

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  • August 14, 2023