Mother of Five Stops to Smell the Lilacs in Toronto


WMU-Cooley student Christy Hauter-Nichols never thought study abroad was an option because of her hectic schedule as a wife, mother of five, businesswoman and law student.

However, a chat with Valerie, her good friend, fellow law student, and a mom herself, changed everything.

“Valerie had gone to New Zealand [as part of WMU-Cooley’s Down Under Program] and listening to her stories and how it changed her life, I decided to look into the Toronto Program thinking I would never really actually be able to do it.”

Well, she did.  “I left my whole family, which is a very big deal, and I went and it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my whole life, and even my kids and husband think so.”

IMG_3015-2.jpgChristy arrived a couple of days before the program began so she could get a feel for Toronto.  “The campus is the most beautiful thing and I just fell in love.  It’s just such a beautiful place.  Walking down the street the flowers smell so good, lilac smell everywhere.  The scenery is beautiful.  A movie was being filmed on campus while we were there.”

The campus-feel infused her time in Toronto.  “I felt like I was in college, walking around a campus, hanging out with the other students who never treated me like I was older.  The whole experience was just fun.”

Christy loved her classes too.  “Classes were great.  They will probably be my favorite classes I’ve ever taken.  Starting with NAFTA and international business you find how we’re all so connected and you really need to understand it to have a full education.  You can be an attorney anywhere, go to other countries and do so many things with your law degree.”

“WMU-Cooley’s connections allowed us to visit parliament, meet attorneys, see the court and the jail.  Court is so different!  They are so formal wearing the big wigs and robes.  The laws are so similar but also so different.  It was fascinating.”

One of Christy’s highlights of her time in Canada was visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake.   “There was just beautiful wineries and fruit markets and we just had a great day all together.  Canadians are so friendly.”

So would Christy like to return to Toronto?  “Definitely.  Maybe one of our children will go to college in Toronto.”

But maybe she'll go to Oxford first.  She is definitely considering the Oxford study abroad program if she could fit it in before graduating.  “Even next summer in Oxford.  Maybe I’ll take a little bit longer to graduate and go to Oxford for the summer.  Yeah!”