This year: Academics

We’re only a few weeks away from exams and I feel like there are way too many things ending. Friends are graduating, I won’t be back in Vancouver for more than a year, my roommates and I will be saying goodbye (to each other and to our beautiful fairview home).

However, I do have a happy feeling inside of me telling me that it’s all coming together in a perfect way.

I thought last year was the best year I would have at UBC (meeting all those new people, doing all those new things) – but I was wrong. This year blew my mind. So many things happened at the same time that before the end of this term I will try to write about them to keep them close.


Not many people consider academics something that makes them happy. However, this year I have been even more convinced that human geography is simply the coolest thing out there.  Almost all of my geography classes have been engaging, eye-opening and, most importantly, inspiring. Here’s a small note on them…

Cities (250) – who knew there was a class called Cities? If you take this class do it with Prof. Wyly. He obviously loves cities and he loves teaching about them. There’s nothing else to say, that should be enough.

Introduction to the Changing Landscapes of Latin America (395) –  If you’re tired of the everyday hegemonic interpretations and understandings of Latin America, take this class! Juanita Sundberg is critical and engaging and expects the same from her students.

Introduction to Political Geography (329) – le Billion talks a lot, but once you get used to his pace the topics he covers are very interesting. It was nice to start understanding issues that I sometimes shy away from.

Geography, Modernity and Globalization II (122) – This class is very broad, and I probably should have taken it last year (or at least before taking 300-level classes!). Still, I have found it to be a really good overview of what the UBC department of Geography does. If this is a major you’re considering do take this class.

Geography of Canada (290) – I have to admit that I wasn’t very happy to know that I HAD to take this class. However, I am now enjoying it a lot. It’s great to actually know a little bit about Canada. Also, the class focuses on themes that I have been able to apply to other classes, which is always helpful. Finally, I love it when professors encourage you to be creative and give you the opportunity to do visual projects instead of final papers.

** BTW, a project I did for an ANTHRO class last term is being displayed in the Explorations in Practice Conference in the Anthropology building. Most of the pieces displayed in the ANSO basement are amazing, try to check them out if you happen to be there! **

Geographies of Migration and Settlement (353) – this class is really interesting. There are a lot of readings, but it’s worth it.

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GOing GLOBAL! :)

I am so so so so happy because next year I will be in Koç University in Turkey! I’m also a little sad that I won’t be in UBC. But mostly very happy.

TO DO list item #1: learn turkish

** a note to Arts students doing Go Global**                                                                  The deadline to apply for the ATLAAS is this Monday! It doesn’t seem too hard and it could give you up to $2500 for your exchange!

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Why I will vote YES for increasing AMS fees

As some of you may know, the AMS will be having a referendum from March 7th to March 11th. The two main issues that students will be asked to vote on are a change in the Upass program and a $5 increase in AMS fees.

The Upass is quite straight forward – instead of paying ~$23 we’ll pay $30. Basically if this doesn’t pass we won’t have a Upass, which is unacceptable. $30 is still much less than what bus fares would cost for most of us, even the ones living on campus!

The increase in AMS fees, however, seem to be dividing students. These are some of the reasons why I will vote YES:

  • As a club executive this year I have realized first-hand how hard it is to get funding for events and activities, even if you have a great idea. Yes, there are a few funds available, but in my experience they run out too fast and you have to plan way ahead to get them. $1.5 of this increase will go to a NEW Student Club Benefits Fund.
  • I love the Ubyssey. $1 will go to the Ubyssey.
  • As an older sister, I can identify with parents’ need to know that their child is being safely taken care of while they study. You may not be directly affected by this, but there is a huge childcare issue on campus, especially for grad students. $1 will go towards a NEW Childcare Bursary Fund.
  • UBC is increasingly a global university and international and domestic students have many ideas with global impact. Anything from conferences to small events to workshops. This year, as executive of the International Students Association, I have collaborated with many internationally focused clubs and people and I honestly believe that any money going towards making these ideas a reality is money well spent. $0.25 will go to a NEW International Projects Fund.
  • Sustainability is a big thing for me, as I’m sure it is for you. I carry my own mug around, I use recycled paper, I listen to students with great ideas on how to make our community more environmentally friendly. As with most projects, funding is lacking. $2.25 will be directed towards a NEW Sustainability Projects Fund.

This increase will also add to other very important funds, like the Sexual Assault Support Services Fund ($0.25) and the Student Services ($2). To see a full breakdown of the fees and descriptions, click here.

Most importantly, however, is that if we refuse to accept this increase our student union will be in trouble. Besides, who doesn’t want more student services?

If you use the Upass, if you’ve ever been to free tutoring, if you have ever received help from a resource group, if you read the Ubyssey or listen to CiTR, if you’ve used SafeWalk, if you’ve stayed at the AMS cabin in Whistler, if you have enjoyed a Pit Night or a Monday at The Gallery, if you have loved the Blue Chip Cookie and the fact that we are making history at UBC by being part of a New SUB – if you have done even one of the things in this short selection of great AMS services you can agree with me that the AMS is an integral part of our experience as UBC students and that paying a little bit more in our fees will benefit all of us.

Posted in AMS, International, Involvement / Leadership, Sustainability | 5 Comments

First time skiing

Like Lillienne, this week I went skiing for the first time. My roommate and I decided it was crazy that we have been in Vancouver for one and a half years and hadn’t done this yet, so we went to Grouse Mountain on Thursday evening.

My thoughts? Terrifying.

There was a fun part (the bunny hill, the shapes of the snow and the tiny kids skiing) and a VERY SCARY part. The VERY SCARY part can be broken down into two categories: “our fault” and “not our fault”

our fault: for thinking it would be a good idea to do the big hill after a few fun tries in the bunny hill. Also, for thinking we could just do it without a teacher. Result = bodies that hurt all over.

not our fault: for being stuck in a lighting snow storm (who knew those existed?) that caused a mountain blackout while we were in the lift. Result = 45 minutes of freezing with absolutely no visibility and three lift-mates who were scary me to death with talks about jumping from the lift.

Even so… I have to admit that it was fun. Next time: Seymour !

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UBC-O (as seen from my cellphone’s camera)

Getting there:

two hours after that:

two hours after that:

“Are all these pictures in the same place?” – you may ask… well, yes ! As it turns out the greyhound bus was stuck for hours because the chains did not fit the tires. Funny. or NOT.

Anyway… water + snow = beautiful!

Visiting UBC-O… took less than 30 min.

Their IKBLC (what a nice guy to donate all that money to UBC!):

Very nice Marine-style residences:

Some random buildings:

Cool University Centre:

Overall, it was cute but small.

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I love my vagina

and I love the Vagina Monologues !

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LISTEN & SPEAK UP: An Open Discussion on Xenophobia in UBC and in Vancouver

Posted in International, Involvement / Leadership | 1 Comment

Inspiring Collective Action

Tomorrow I will be attending an event that I believe demonstrates the strength of student initiatives and the power of people coming together for a common cause. (And great videos!)

Each students pays $2 to attend The Briefing 2011 and listens to 8 speakers presenting a cause. At the end everyone votes for their favorite cause and the winner gets the money!

It’s tomorrow in Woodward 2 at 5:00 pm. Don’t miss it!

Posted in International, Involvement / Leadership | 2 Comments

I feel like I’m in The Secret Garden

Outside of the ANSO building, today

Outside of the ANSO building, today

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This perfect snowy morning don’t forget to — VOTE !

Watching the snow from my window makes me want to forget that I have meetings, then work and then class. So this morning I decided that it’s time to vote.

I logged in with the username and password that were given to me and was surprised by all the new things you can do, like give points by preference and selecting ‘no opinion.’

I also found this cool video

How to Vote with the Condorcet System

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