Tag Archives: Vancouver

Study, Play, Volunteer!

As an MM student, it’s easy to get bogged down by the academic workload or our personal job-hunts, but taking the time to get together as a cohort and be present in our community is something many of us felt was important. There have been countless bar nights and study sessions that I have shared with my classmates, however, my favorite cohort experiences have been the three volunteer opportunities organized by our VP Internal, Sarah Maciejewski.

The first volunteer opportunity we took on was a trip to Ronald McDonald House BC, where a group of MM students, joined by Chris Gorczynski (MM Program Manager) and Margot Fraser (MM Program Assistant, spent a few hours giving back. As a group we organized (by every colour of the rainbow) and sanitized what must have been millions of pieces of donated Lego! This may sound tedious (it was!), but having the opportunity to give back to the community in which we study, work, and play, was really rewarding. While sorting the Lego, we were met by many curious young faces wondering what we were doing with their toys. We also chatted with parents who were happy to pass along thanks for our involvement with the house, which only made the whole experience that much more memorable.

Our next volunteering day was spent sorting yet again, but this time it was less reminiscent of childhood playtime cleanup! A group of seven MM students and I spent an afternoon sorting cans, produce, and other donated foods at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. We had a surprising amount of fun doing this together and while we only made a dent in the masses of food at the warehouse, by the end of the day we managed to pack away a significant amount of food to be sent to families in need.

The third and final volunteering session we participated in as a cohort was the Shoreline Cleanup at beautiful Kits Beach. You could not ask for a better location to spend a morning. We are spoiled to live in this spectacular place and it’s easy to forget the impact we have on our environment. Maintaining the shores of this spectacular landscape was an invaluable experience. We later rewarded our efforts by relaxing as a group at the beach, playing a bit of soccer, and a few of us (not me!) ventured into the chilly ocean for a swim!

I didn’t seek out many volunteering opportunities during my undergraduate like I should have. I went to Ronald McDonald House BC for our first volunteering session thinking I was simply going to spend time with my classmates. I left that day with a sense of accomplishment and an excitement for the next volunteering opportunity. A bit of advice for the Class of 2017: if you haven’t volunteered much before and don’t know the impact it can have on you personally, don’t think for a second your other priorities are more important to your success! Volunteering didn’t make me worry that I didn’t use the time to secure a job, it made me more motivated and inspired in my other initiatives. Spending time away from your notes, projects, and job hunt is not only important for your well-being, but if volunteering is how you choose to spend that time, you can have a positive impact on the world around you, and THAT is time well spent.

– Lauren O’Sullivan

Sport Chronicles

For long, sports entertainment has been an integral part of my life. I woke up every morning awaiting the next big game or tournament, looking to catch glimpses of exciting events and action in the sports world. Every sports bar I visited brought with it a familiar ambiance. Scattered clusters of team jerseys and colours all around inspired a sense of belonging with the place. Even the team sponsors had a separate place in my heart. I could turn any random conversation into a sports conversation.

During my early days in Vancouver as an international student, I experienced a strange void growing within me. Something wasn’t right; something was missing. It took me a while, but I eventually recognized the problem. The problem was the games that I followed – Cricket and Football (Soccer; I hate to call it that) – were not popular here. The latter is the biggest sport on the planet and the former is an Indian religion (we have a Cricket God). There were no television sets in restaurants that showed highlights of recent cricket games. I wasn’t often surrounded by people wearing those familiar soccer jerseys. I was accustomed to watching my favourite sports conveniently in the evening with pints of chilled beer, and that was a part of the entire experience. In Vancouver, I had to watch them early in the morning, half-dead with hot, strong coffee.

Things were far from ideal and I needed a real sporting experience. I visited a sports bar on a weekend in Vancouver where I was introduced to the Canadian sports world – Football (clearly lacking imagination), Baseball, Hockey and, oh yes, Curling. A boring, senseless version of cricket, football that is not primarily played with the foot, world wrestling entertainment with a tag team of 6 players on a special ring made of ice, and a sport that I never knew existed. Obviously, I was terrified. Canada might be one of the rare countries that telecasts a curling game instead of a live UEFA Champions League semi-finals game!

As time progressed, I learned that for many of my friends, these sports actually made sense. As the saying goes, “the fans define the sport,” and it is only logical that the games would make more sense if experienced with the fans. Over some time, I did just that. I started trying to understand the games and get engaged with the sports. Overall, I feel that this has worked. While I haven’t necessarily developed a keen eye for these sports, they have surely sparked my interest. I am convinced that it is only through fans of the sport that I could experience the true spirit of the game. I hope to continue my journey of learning to love new sports. Soon, I might even be awaiting the next Superbowl or hanging out with Canucks fans!

– Yash Doshi

Winding Down

As the undergraduates finish their last day of exams, we still have one month of classes awaiting us. Although it will be difficult to ascertain the shaky landscape of our future in the following weeks, we still have many things to look forward to – such as using phrases like “ascertain the shaky landscape of our future” to embellish our business writing skills. Or, alternatively, attending one of Geoffrey’s many famous pool parties.

In all seriousness though, I encourage everyone to take advantage of what time you have left in Vancouver because, like many of you, I’m not quite sure where these past 8 months have gone. The sun is finally making an appearance, so go on a hike, take a trip down to Wreck beach, or go for a swim in Geoffrey’s pool (better known as the aquatic center). Below are some of my favourite activities to do in Vancouver:

  • Rain or Shine / Earnest Ice Cream; some of the best ice cream shops I’ve been to
  • Deep Cove; a beautiful and really short hike where you can have a picnic at the viewpoint on a massive rock overlooking the water
  • Stepping it up a notch and moving beyond regular yoga to try acro-yoga (it’s a lot easier to do than it looks and you look like a pro after a day! Plus there are some free classes offered at UBC)
  • Bike the Seawall

Don’t let the stress of career searching and school take over. Take time for yourself to have fun and explore what Vancouver has to offer!

– Mandeep Nahal

The Cohort

The MM cohort has truly been a unique experience. The year has consisted of going to class everyday with the same people, then hanging out with them after class. Being new to Vancouver, I was a bit worried and insecure about making new friends. I had just spent four years at my undergraduate school in Ontario building a very tight social circle. Then I decided to move across the country away from everybody I know and start a new chapter in my life. I was excited but nervous about being able to establish close connections out west. However, it has been exceptionally easy to make friends that will last long after the program ends.

Socially, I have met people who I have become very close friends with. The program really facilitates this. After endless assignments, constant job hunting and letting off steam on the weekends, you will inevitably start to form some pretty tight bonds. Sometimes I step back and realize how quickly these friendships have been built in such a short time. One of my close friends recently texted me, “I’d do anything for ya kid”. I met him in September… and the feeling is absolutely mutual. Two months into the program, I was riding the bus with a classmate and she looked at me and said, “It is hard to imagine I only met you in September.” These examples are really a testament to the social aspect of the program. In all of the madness that comes with the MM program, the special people I have met make it possible to persevere.

By working on a variety of group assignments, I have learned lots about my classmates and myself. Specifically, I have learned how I interact with people in different settings. Coming from a science background, creative group work has not been a common theme for me. Throughout the program I have realized that certain people get the very best out of me. It has been exciting to work with individuals that create a personal inspiration and confidence to get the job done.

As the program progresses, I am looking forward to building on the friendships I have made and learn more about those I have not interacted with as much. There are a lot of a unique people in the program and some of us (me) are just plain weird. It makes everyday interesting and helps wake you up in the morning as you stumble into class with a coffee in your hand. Everyone has something unique to offer and it demands that you be genuinely attentive. Therefore, I am excited to see where everyone goes after the program and to stay connected throughout the years.

–  Zach Robinson

Location, Location, Location

It’s crazy what can happen in a year isn’t it? This time last year, I was living in a different city, with different friends and learning a completely different subject. Choosing to do a Masters, let alone which school to do it at, isn’t an easy decision and I can’t tell you if the MM program is right for you. Most of our cohort chose the program because we wanted to gain business knowledge to complement our undergrads, shift directions from our undergrads or get a different perspective on management. Yet even with similar intentions, I know our end games will be completely different. So, if you were hoping that I could make your decision easier.. I’m sorry! However, if you are like me and not from Vancouver, part of the MM experience is moving cities. While that can be difficult, this is a great opportunity to live in one of the most beautiful cities in Canada. Here are a few options to consider when moving here:

Apply To Res

Living on campus is probably one of the easier transitions you can make. Living so close saves you time getting to class and most of the residences are pre-furnished, which can save you money on furniture. If you do choose to live in a residence building, remember that there is a possibility that you may have roommates who are not graduate students, but first or second year undergraduate students. Other residence options to consider are the graduate college such as: Green College, St. Johns College or the MBA house. If you do want to live in residence, apply now. Or yesterday. There can be a huge waitlist and it’s first come first serve with applications, which open even before you are accepted (personally I was waitlisted until December and chose not to accept a room at that time). For more information visit UBC’s Website.

Live On Campus

Renting in University Village on campus or in Wesbrook Village is a great option. It’s about a 10-20 minute walk to the Sauder Building or there’s a bus. The area itself has everything you need including coffee, food etc. but if you are one who goes out a lot, UBC is a bit of a journey to get to downtown late at night. Both options can also be a tad expensive with unfurnished studios starting at $1350. If you are looking to live close to school and save a bit of money, consider looking for a roommate posting on Craigslist, and rent a two-bedroom instead.

Live Off Campus

Common areas for students are around Kitsilano, Point Grey, and Dunbar. Other students also live in the Olympic Village and even Downtown. Point Grey has more of a neighbourhood feel and rental options are often in houses, basements or some apartment buildings. Kitsilano is about a 20-minute commute to campus and is close to the beach and shopping on both West 4th Ave and Broadway. Downtown is about a 30-45 minute commute to campus and offers a number of often smaller rental options and lots of activities. The Olympic Village has a great community feel and is made up of newer units, also about a 30-minute commute. Here is a link to a map of all the areas: http://www.vancouveruserguide.com/neighborhood.html

Vancouver is expensive. On average, a shared room will cost approximately $800, Studios: $1000, One Bedrooms: $1250 and Two Bedrooms over $1600, plus utilities and internet. Typically, the further out, the less expensive it will be. Side note: In speaking with classmates, many of us are paying much more than these averages depending on the quality of the unit, expectations and when we signed the lease, but many people found great deals too!

Craigslist is your best option in searching, but be aware of scams, particularly against people from out of town. In my opinion, the most important thing to consider is how long are you willing to commute? One method for searching is to look for locations near express bus route stops. These buses (such as the 99, 84, 44, 258 etc.) have less stops than regular buses, shortening your commute, and they run more frequently in rush hours. For stops closer to UBC, express buses can fill up and pass the stop, so take that into consideration (there’s always regular buses too). Most likely if you are near an express stop, the area will have everything you need such as groceries, take out etc. One last thing to consider, every other student is searching for a place to live starting in September, so if it is at all possible to start your search before that rush, do it!

– Ruth Treasure

A Vancouverite’s Perspective

You’ve already learned about the culturally bountiful cocktail that is this year’s MM cohort – with 15 different backgrounds to constantly peak our perspectives. We sync for many reasons, but one of our key commonalities is the draw towards beautiful Vancouver, BC. While we learn from each other in the safety of our UBC bubble, study breaks mark the opportunity to explore our surroundings.

You may have heard rumours that Vancouver is all beauty and no bustle. But as a native Vancouverite of 13 years, I’ve seen this city bloom into a thriving marvel that’s evolving constantly. With an international brigade by my side, this has given me the opportunity to relive the city through their eyes, and play local tourist myself.

SkatingWe’ve got a myriad of ever-changing & exciting activities, particularly under the glitz and glimmer of the holiday season. Downtown becomes a shimmering spectacle, with its central Robson Square transformed into a skating rink. So for Lady Canadiana, we strapped up our laces and embraced this new experience for many! After 3 months of mutual support through multiple learning curves, we knew we had each other’s backs (and bottoms) on this slippery ride.

And our international cohort plowed through beautifully! Little did we know, we had an Elvis Stojko in our midst in the form of the fashionista himself: Mr. Phaokan! The veterans went hand-in-hand with the rookies, and we were all embracing the ice dance before we knew it.

MarketOur skating success earned us some much-needed refuel, and the opportunity to visit another local hotspot: the Vancouver Christmas Market. This annual favorite is quintessential of the traditional German style, with every kind of yuletide grub available. A perfectly apt representation of our various cultural offerings, and one of my personal favorites. Not surprisingly, we finished the evening with bellyfuls of free samples, from kettle corn to sauerkraut, coco to vino.

But this is just a small dose of the city’s seasonal offerings. Rain or rain, you’re guaranteed to see Vancouverites out embracing our gorgeous surroundings and communal cultures alike. Our eagerness is authentic, as we crave to learn and experience our diverse landscape. From sea to sky, we’re an eclectic, effervescent bunch – always active, always in the moment.

– Sher Najafi