After a couple editions exploring the different paths taken by PASB alumni in the US, Scoop is proud to bring its first Canada edition! This month, we interviewed Maria Laura Anzola, part of the Class of 2015. She is now a sophomore in the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, where she studies Gender, Race, and Social Justice, with a minor in Political Science.
Scoop: Why did you choose to go to school in Canada? What do you believe is its differential vs. the US and other countries?
Maria: Location wasn’t a deciding factor for me, but I completely understand why it might be for some people. Studying in an American school, I guess it’s safe to say we all picture the American dream and lean towards that direction just because it is familiar. I came to Canada because UBC was my top choice without really thinking about the difference between the countries or what I would be missing if I didn’t go to the US. I am actually very lucky to be in Canada (especially after the election *cringe*). Canada is better than the United States in so many aspects, but one that makes a big difference to me is how environmentally conscious people are and how that shapes people’s identity here. There is so much well preserved nature in Canada, and while it might not include sunny beaches and palm trees the views are stunning and the collective effort to preserve them demonstrates how caring and respectful Canadians are.
Scoop: Is there a lot of diversity in Vancouver?
Maria: YES! While the US is seen as a melting pot in which immigrants are expected to adopt and follow the American way, Canada prides itself as a country made up of a cultural mosaic. The mosaic is based on the belief that immigrants are a fundamental part of Canadian identity and that cultural diversity brings strength and union.
Scoop: What are 5 best/worst things about living in Vancouver/Canada?
Maria: The best and the worst thing about living in Vancouver is the weather…bear with me for this explanation. It is the worst simply because it RAINS A LOT! Vancouver definitively deserves to be known as "Raincouver", and yes it is ‘cold’ compared to Bahia, but warmer than some parts of the US. It is also the best because you grow fond of the weather, you start to love your rain boots and find yourself wishing it would rain so you won’t have to tie your converse and use regular socks instead of super cozy long ones. You cherish your umbrella, accept the fact that you need a $20 one so it resists the wind, feels the agony of losing one, two, four, seven umbrellas and celebrate when you start to hoarder them.
Other great things about living in Vancouver:
Scoop: Have you gotten involved in any clubs as a student in UBC?
Maria: During my first year in college I decided not to get involved in any clubs, just because I didn’t want to overwhelm myself. This year however I am part of the marketing team for UBC’s chapter of Spoon University and hold an executive position at UNICEF UBC. Spoon University is an everyday food resource for our generation and has as its mission to make food make sense. All the articles and pictures are produced by students from over 150 college campuses and we have recently started our own chapter at UBC. If you are interested in coming to UBC and you love food you should definitively go check us out (http://ubc.spoonuniversity.com/chapter/ubc/). As for UNICEF UBC, we are a club that aims to raise money/support for the world’s children through fundraising events.
Scoop: How is the prospect for an internship, or even a job later on, as a foreigner?
Maria: UBC has a great internship/work program called Co-operative education (aka co-op). Co-operative Education is a program that integrates a student’s academic studies with relevant work experience, within this program you get to alternate terms between studying and working. You apply for co-op around your second year at UBC and once you are accepted into the program you go through an interviewing process until you are hired. The great thing about it is that co-op students have a 90% chance of finding employment within 6 months after graduation.
Scoop: Does UBC offer study abroad opportunities? If yes, do you ever plan to take advantage of them?
Maria: UBC offers a lot of study abroad opportunities if you are interested click here.
There are equal opportunities for a semester abroad as there are for summer abroad (internships, study or community service). For now I don’t intend to take advantage of them because I already consider studying at UBC as “studying abroad” and also I want to focus more on establishing connections in Vancouver, Canada because I intend to stay here after graduation.
Scoop: What part of the application do you believe UBC values the most?
Maria: As cliché as it might sound universities really want to feel like you value their institution and need to make sure you are a good fit into their community. I think this is especially relevant when it comes to UBC. Read about UBC, research its motto, what it stands for, and specially think about the questions that are being asked in the application. Think about what UBC wants to know about you and why those are the questions being asked. Be honest, be unique.
Scoop: What advice would you give to a PASB student interested in studying in UBC or going to Canada in general?
Maria: DO IT! Let your hesitations go, get informed and if you really want to come give it your best. Try to apply early so you get considered for scholarships and if you have any questions feel free to send me a message.
Maria's experiences in Canada reflects how different, and yet fascinating, it may be to study somewhere out of one's comfort zone - be it in the US, Canada, or anywhere else! It also shows how unique Canada can be, and a great alternative to students seeking cheaper tuition in studying abroad (remember: the Canadian dollar is only R$2.54 right now in comparison to the American dollar at R$ 3.44). Several Canadian universities (Capilano University, UBC, Calgary...) come to PASB every year and talk about their schools, so if you are interested after Maria's interview, stop by Mr. Martyn's office and ask for a flyer!
Click the link above to read great articles by middle school students in The Student Scoopinho.
The youngest writers for The Student Scoop have arrived! Click the link above to read the articles of our elementary school writers in The Student Scoopinhazinha :)
Click the link above to access all posts made from our dear advice giver, Scoopy. Just don't take her too seriously!