By: Jing Zhao

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Almost all the international students know Erica Stanley, who was the International Student Advisor at the International Relations Office (IRO) for the last seven years. She has a reputation for kindness towards all the international students and for being really willing to solve all their problems and difficulties. She makes the international students feel at home and welcomed by the totally new environment.

The first time I met Erica was on the orientation day for the new international students where she was presenting as a staff member at the IRO. She said that international students are brave studying far away from the home, and she knew the difficulty and hardship for them to get familiar with a new environment. She gave the international students’ encouragement and hugs.

This month, Erica announced the big decision to leave UPEI to begin her new business. She is starting her own business as an Immigration Consultant with her new company, Stanley Immigration Consulting. While talking to the Cadre, Erica revealed that she only made her decision to leave UPEI in December of 2015. She had only been thinking about the business for a short time but in December, she finally made her decision to leave UPEI because it was difficult to manage both the business and the job at the same time. She had to decide which one to choose. After working seven years with students at UPEI she wanted to do something different.
By leaving UPEI she hopes to expand her immigration knowledge and work with all kinds of immigration issues. In this way, she can help more international students. She also loves traveling. She has traveled a lot and wants to travel to other places in the future. Running her own business provides more flexibility and in the summer and winter seasons, she can get more time to relax. The most important reason of all is that she would have more time to be with her kids. It is important family time for her and she wants to spend more time with her kids before they grow up.

Starting a new business presents foreseeable difficulties. The most notable obstacle for her is her relative lack of business experience. Although she has little experience prior to starting this enterprise, she is confident that people who have the business knowledge are willing to help her. The other difficulty is having to charge fees from international students who want to acquire her services, which is necessary in a business environment. Erica is also being supported by the IRO in her endeavour. The Director, Barb Campbell, has offered to hold her job for a year while she establishes her business thereby giving her a safety net should business be harder than expected.

She is really happy to start this new phase and enjoy her time as an Immigration Consultant. Erica hopes for success in this new venture. Her new contact email is stanleyimmigration@gmail.com.