Erica Lippitt ’12

By STEPHANIE WEISS

Family teamwork creates a world of possibility for WEC student

Some people buy home study courses to learn Spanish. Some enroll in Spanish classes. And some people, like Erica Lippitt, go all the way to Cuernavaca, Mexico, to live and study.

“I definitely achieved what I wanted in only four months,” said Lippitt, a single working mother and Weekend College student. “My son’s family is from Cuba and they say that my Spanish is getting good. We can communicate, and I understand them.”

Studying at the Center for Global Education’s Mexico location was possible because Lippitt’s family pulled together. Her parents offered to care for her son, and Lippitt’s brother helped, too. Her father, a Lutheran pastor, even got a night job so the family could afford daycare for Lippitt’s son.

“My parents pushed me,” she said. “They showed me this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Lippitt originally enrolled at Augsburg during 2001 for business administration. She said she left the school—also her mom’s alma mater—because she wasn’t focused. Lippitt moved to Florida to work and while there, met her son’s father.

“I left Florida to escape an abusive relationship,” she said. “My dad is a pastor, and I wasn’t raised to live like that. I had to leave.”

When Lippitt returned to Wayzata, she returned to Augsburg where she earned a 4.0 grade point average while working as many as 30 hours a week and raising her son.

“It shows I am more focused, more determined. I am here because I want to learn, not because I have to be here.”

Studying in Cuernavaca also opened new possibilities and ways of thinking. Erica now knows she wants to work in human resources for an international company. She’d also like to live and work in Mexico for a time so her son can experience living in a Spanish-speaking country. And finding ways to help other women is on her radar screen, too.

“I’ve gained so much strength from my experience, that if there is something I can do to help other women, I’d like to,” she said.

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