Classes? Are we supposed to go to those..?

Playlist while writing this: Skrillex – Bangarang; Kaiser Chiefs – Off with Their Heads, The Future is Medieval & Yours Truly, Angry Mob



Sorry it’s been a while since I last posted – just been acclimating to school life, which has taken some effort but has also been really fun. Tonight, I’ll fill you in on my classes!


Nirel’s Year 1, Term 1 Courses: 

I can’t speak for the other faculties, but I am SO HAPPY to be in the Faculty of Arts! One thing it entails (usually) is a heck of a lot of freedom to choose your courses for first year! Sooo… I took advantage of that opportunity and signed up for classes I either already have some interest in or think I might find interesting. They are as follows:

            SOCI 100C – Intro to Sociology

I love psychology – and in fact think I’m going to major in it and minor in linguistics – so I thought it would be neat to, rather than delve into the mind of just one individual, explore a social science that looks more at how humans interact with each other and society as a whole (which is pretty much the essence of sociology, at least based on what I’ve learned so far). I proved myself right – I really do like sociology! I also think it’ll come in handy to have some sociology exposure in my back pocket when I eventually do zone in on psych. Also, my professors (since it is a jointly-taught class) and TA (teacher’s assistant) really seem to have a vested interest in the subject, which is always nice!

           LING 100 – Intro to Language and Linguistics

Linguistics is something that, after taking several years of Spanish class prior to coming to university, I thought I might like. After all, I do know three languages (English, Hebrew and Spanish) and am taking up a fourth this year (French) – so I might as well learn a bit about the actual study of language, yeah? Yes! After one class, I found it fascinating and now I am seriously considering majoring in it! Side note: this course is NOT only for those who speak more than one language or intend on learning another language. It is more of a general survey-style course to introduce students to the world of human communication. Also, my prof. and TA are both AWESOME! We have yet to have a boring lecture or unproductive tutorial.

*TIP! My LING lecture has about 270 students in it – so I sit in the front so I can ask questions, hear the prof. better, not be distracted by students talking in the back and feel as though the class is smaller. Trust me, it works! Also, my prof. knows me already from seeing my face up front. (: **Don’t think all classes are this big, though – my Spanish class has fewer than 25 students. Also, tutorials & discussion groups definitely help develop a smaller-scale classroom setting in which students can more easily feel comfortable asking questions and participating in the conversation.

           SPAN 206 – Conversational Spanish I

¡Me encanta el español! (Translation: I love Spanish!) I took Spanish courses throughout high school and at a local college when I did a dual-enrollment program my final year of high school, so, wanting to maintain constant practice, I signed up for this class during registration. I’m so glad I did! My prof. is super enthusiastic, which makes the class so fun and exciting! Also, the other students seem to be at a comparable level of experience & ability as I am, which is really cool because we can all communicate with one-another in Spanish and easily help each-other out if we need it.

           FREN 101 – Beginners’ French

Think a linguistics class and one foreign language class is enough for one term? NOPE! “Must…learn…more…languages…” (says Nirel, the language zombie). For realz though, I’ve been itching to learn French for SO LONG! It just sounds so beautiful. (: Aaaand, I really do enjoy French music – ie. Georges Brassens, Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf, etc… So, yeah. I pretty much had to start learning it. Again, I am grateful to have a really great prof. for this course! She is super sweet and helpful.

*TIP! I’m only taking four classes first term – as opposed to the usual 5 for Arts students – to ease into the university workload. I’m so glad I did this because I feel it really has allowed me to socialize and do things outside of school without feeling overwhelmed by my classes.


My next post will most likely be about some of the cool places I’ve been around the city of Vancouver – so stay tuned!


Adventure on! (:




Last few days before school!

Playlist while writing this: Ratatat’s LP4 and Ratatat (self-titled album)


Oh my goodness. I’ve been on campus for three weeks there is so much to write about! To make things easier, I’ll sort out my past few weeks into a couple different categories: Jump Start, Rez life/UBC post-Jump Start & Imagine Day.


Jump Start!


For those of you who don’t know, Jump Start is a two-week immersive program in which international and aboriginal incoming first-year students learn about life in Vancouver, get settled in and meet other kids from all over the world. Even though I’m from The States (and technically a Canadian citizen), it helped to learn more about how things work around here.

One really fun activity we had was called Share It!, which was basically a giant talent show during which I gawked at the incredible things my peers did and even gave a little performance of my own! (; (Typical of me – it was a speech on how to be happy.) By far the best thing about Jump Start, though, was making a bunch of new international friends!! Not only did I develop a close-knit group of friends whom I know I can trust with anything, but I also got to practice speaking different languages, learn bits of new ones and gain knowledge of various cultures.

If you are an international or aboriginal student applying to UBC this year, SIGN UP FOR JUMPSTART. I guarantee you’ll be happy you did. 😀


Life in Residence/UBC Post-Jump Start:


“The Canadians are coming, the Canadians are coming!”, yelled my friend Shelly down the halls of Haida House as I looked out my window to find people carrying everything from electric kettles and guitars to printers and teddy bears. While everyone around Totem Park was busy hustling and bustling, I had already settled into my room and was enjoying the long weekend with my family (who came to visit me from Seattle!), putting the last couple posters on my walls before grabbing dinner on W 4th.

I am so incredibly happy to call this place home! My roommate, Ezinne, and I had skyped once before coming here, which was a great brief introduction (and I recommend it if you can) – but I was so excited for her to finally arrive. She is SO GREAT. I am pleased to say that I could not have asked for a better roommate! We do have some things in common (including one of our classes!), but the most important aspect of living with someone else is that we get along so well.

On a similar note, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I have the best RA ever. I think it’s so important and wonderful that she and the other RAs I’ve met really seem to strive to create an environment in which people are accepted and where everyone feels safe, comfortable and at home. In fact, I love rez life so much that I’m running for Floor Rep (to represent my floor at house council meetings)! I’ll keep you updated regarding how that goes. (:


Imagine Day:


WOAH. UBC has a lot of clubs. It’s a very large school so it’s expected, but I’m pretty sure that one could theoretically find any club he wanted upon coming to UBC Imagine Day. Okay, maybe not any club imaginable, but definitely SO many clubs.

Some that stood out to me the most & that I’m considering joining (note: considering the 350 clubs that exist on campus, this list is actually quite condense):

UBC Fun Run – Students get together in groups once a week to go on some sort of exciting, non-competitive run to relieve stress and connect with other runners! What a cool thing to look forward to after a long week of studying.

Psychology Students’ Association of UBC – I’ve found home. Considering psychology is my current intended major, I was SO happy when I found this booth by the Buchanan buildings!

Speech and Linguistics Student Association (SALSA) – I’m thinking of minoring in linguistics, so this would also be a really sweet group to be a part of. (:

Philosophy Students Association  — Another potential minor for me. I love, love, love philosophy!

Agape Street Missions – This is a non-religious homeless outreach club, in which students interact with and distribute food to the homeless people of Downtown Vancouver. This is actually something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time!

Freethinkers Club – Attending get-togethers with other critical thinkers to talk about things we find interesting or controversial? Sweet!

Association of Latin American Students at UBC – I’m not Latin American, but I have studied Spanish for long enough to be enrolled in conversational Spanish classes this year. I think this club would be another awesome way to practice, learn about Latin American culture and interact with other Spanish speakers.

Black Vinyl Project – UBC’s own record label? ‘Nuff said.

Environmental Science Students Association – Doing research, giving informative presentations and saving the environment? Yes please.

Food Society – You join and save money going out to eat at various restaurants around Vancouver! Yes, that’s a real club.

Global Outreach Students’ Association / Heart Club – Both of these clubs have a strong emphasis on volunteering with disadvantaged members of the community and the world – awesome!

Natural Food Co-op/Sprouts  — Heck yeah, I’m going to volunteer at the vegetarian restaurant in the SUB! I hope I learn to make something yummy. (:

Jewish Students Association – While I’m not religious in the slightest, I still appreciate and feel connected to my Jewish ethnic background. My family comes from Morocco and Israel, so meeting other people who speak Hebrew is pretty sweet, as well!

Meditation Community – I really want to learn to meditate. Looks like a good place to start!

UBC Yoga Club – Again, I enjoy yoga so much and would love to learn more!

Check out the UBC AMS (Alma Mater Society) Clubs website for these and waaaayyy more clubs!! http://www.ams.ubc.ca/campus-life/clubs/




In the dorkiest way possible, I am SO excited that classes are starting!! I’ll write more soon about each class I’m taking this term. (: If you currently attend UBC, I hope your first couple days have been/will continue to be amazing!





Surprise Update: Broke My Foot!


This post is sort of a branch off from another post that is soon to come…Anyway, here goes!

From swimming at Wreck Beach to having late-night discussions at the Rose Garden, I was having a total blast at Jump Start -*which you can read more about in my soon-to-come blog post*- …until…(dun dun dun) I broke my foot. Now, as much as I enjoy watching the excitement or confusion creep onto people’s faces when I tell them the pretext that I was attacked by a mountain lion, the lamer, truer story remains that I was jogging while it was dark out and tripped over a step that I hadn’t seen on the sidewalk. Immediately after I fell, I looked down to find that my ankle had swollen up to the size of a tennis ball! Thankfully, I was with friends at the time who called an ambulance. Five hours in the hospital with my amazing friend and BAM! Six weeks in an Aircast and on crutches until I’m healed.

All I can do is be grateful that my friends were there and that they called for help, that my parents are helping me take care of the medical stuff (MAKE SURE YOU HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE!) and that the Canadian Red Cross was awesome enough to lend me a wheel chair (take note: you can borrow them from there for free for up to three months!) to get around this massive campus until I can walk again.

While being handicapped for the first month and a half of school seems like it would totally suck, I’m doing my best to make it a positive experience. I can and have really learned from it so far, as it has definitely been perspective-changing (both literally as I see the world from my wheelchair and in thought as I experience life with a physical handicap). Also, I am now able to empathize (at least to an extent) with other individuals who are unable to walk. Since it’s always difficult to understand something unless you’ve experienced it yourself, at least I can take away some sense of newfound understanding from this experience of having broken my foot. It’s not THAT bad, afterall. (: