The International Studies program seeks to familiarize you with the global community in which you live and to prepare you for careers involving international interactions.
The major provides you with a variety of opportunities to explore issues from economic, social, cultural and environmental perspectives.
Foreign language training and study abroad experiences are incorporated into the program and special attention is given to British Columbia's immediate international neighbours: the Pacific Rim countries, the nations of the Circumpolar North, and the United States.
Students Improving the World
INTS Alumna Wins Major Awards for PhD Research on Global Environmental Politics at UBC
Miriam Matejova, Honours Degree in International Studies - 2009
January 8, 2015
Hello, my name is Miriam Matejova. Dr. Wilkening asked me to tell you my story. He said it may give you ideas and inspiration for your post-INTS and post-UNBC journeys. My Canadian academic journey started when I immigrated to Canada from Slovakia in 2004. I graduated from UNBC with an Honours degree in International Studies in 2009. Then I went on to earn a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School. While in Ottawa, I also volunteered for the United Nations Association in Canada, co-edited a peer-reviewed journal of international affairs (the Paterson Review), chaired the 2011 Model NATO conference, and conducted archival research to co-author a book and articles on Canada’s foreign intelligence. I also travelled to Barbados where I spent two months as a project assistant at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.
Upon my return, I began a career in Canada’s public service, first working as an analyst at the Canadian International Development Agency and then as an economist at Environment Canada where I served as the national lead in providing economic analysis for federal environmental assessments. My work on Canada’s species at risk regulations earned me the 2014 Regulatory Excellence Award for Advancement in Instrument Design.
I also volunteered for a global consulting firm GlobalINT where I conducted research on energy and environmental security largely related to climate change risks. In collaboration with GlobalINT’s Strategy Director, Dr. Chad Briggs, I published a book chapter on environmental security and energy in the Arctic.
In 2012, I was awarded UNBC’s Alumnus of the Year for Professional Excellence Award. This recognition motivated me to establish my own scholarship at UNBC, the Miriam Matejova Award, currently valued at about $1,700 per academic year. The award is meant to help new immigrants who are seeking post-secondary education in Canada. I haven’t forgotten that I was once a financially struggling immigrant.
I am now a PhD student in Political Science at the University of British Columbia, working under the supervision of Dr. Peter Dauvergne. My research centers on global environmental politics associated with climate change impacts and responses. In particular, I am interested in energy and environmental security in the Arctic and Asia Pacific.
Since coming to UBC in September 2013, I have been awarded a Vanier Graduate Scholarship, a Killam Doctoral Scholarship, and, most recently the Donald N. Byers Memorial Prize as the highest-ranking Killam Doctoral Scholar of 2014. [INTS Note: The Vanier is a highly competitive award. Only about 50 are given out to social sciences and humanities graduate students in Canada each year. The Killam Doctoral Scholarship is “the most prestigious awards available to graduate students at UBC”.]
In addition to my research and teaching assistant duties at UBC, I continue volunteering. As a Liu Scholar at UBC’s Liu Institute for Global Issues, I organize public lectures, workshops and gallery exhibits, and actively participate in various student information sessions. I also volunteer as a translator and reviewer for the TED Open Translation Project and, in my free time, write short non-fiction. My creative writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Her Circle, and several travel magazines.
ISSA Gift Giving Campaign Fights Poverty in Uganda
November 25, 2014
The International Studies Student Association (ISSA) recent conducted a campaign to raise awareness for the Gift it Twice Program. Gift it Twice is an annual campaign put on by the Toronto-based NGO Raising the Village that works to alleviate extreme poverty in ten remote villages in Uganda. Gift it Twice encourages people to make a charitable donation in someone's name rather than buying a Christmas present. Donations go towards purchasing goats for economic cooperatives, providing necessary educational supplies (including books, chalk, desks, teacher training and school meals), and investing in the gorilla deterrent program to keep villagers and their crops safe. The picture above shows ISSA member and Treasurer Harjit Pannu raising awareness for Gift it Twice in the UNBC Wintergarden.
English Person in Korea (EPIK) Teaching Program in South Korea
Zan Tsang, International Studies Major - 2014
October 28, 2014
Greetings from Zan Tsang in South Korea. I graduated from UNBC in May 2014 with a Major in International Studies. I'm currently with the EPIK (English Person In Korea) Teaching program in Daegu, South Korea, in the southern part of the country. I teach 22 classes a week, and am at school from 8:30-4:30 Monday to Friday. I teach grades 3 to 6. The kids here are wonderful! Korea does not hold back when it comes to spending money on education! There are 33 inch Samsung TVs mounted in every classroom and rather than just a PA system, they have a fully functional video broadcasting room that is operated by students (equipment, announcer, lights, etc.). South Korea is a very beautiful country and when I am not teaching, I am busy making new friends, exploring a new culture and country.
Japan Exchange & Teaching Programme - JET
Nicole Halseth, International Studies Major - 2014
September 22, 2014
Hello, my name is Nicole Halseth. I graduated from UNBC in May 2014 with a Major in International Studies and Minors in Sociocultural Anthropology and Global Environmental Change. Just a few short months later I moved to Japan to teach English as part of the JET Programme (Japan Exchange & Teaching Programme). JET is run by the Japanese government and is one of the largest exchange programs in the world.
I arrived in Tokyo on August 1st for a brief but intensive job training with over a thousand recent graduates from around the world. It was an absolute whirlwind of activity. After two days immersed in Tokyo’s lively Shinjuku district, I was put on a plane with other new JET participants and shipped off to Okayama Prefecture in the south of Japan.
Okayama, a land of peaches and sunshine (despite the semi-persistent typhoons), has been more than I could have imagined. I live and work in the lovely town of Niimi in Okayama Prefecture. Niimi is true countryside, with a bustling population of 30,000 spread out over a vast river valley. I walk out my front door and into fields upon fields of rice paddies, heavily forested mountains straight out of Jurassic Park (with wild boars and monkeys in place of the T-rex and Velociraptors), and a never ending parade of the (seemingly inexplicably-placed) vending machines. Bikes and trains are the transportation of choice here.
My modest Japanese language abilities have been getting quite a workout. I negotiated phone contracts, internet service, and everyday tasks. In my spare time, I keep busy with community festivals and volleyball, preparing for an English conversation salon at the local college, and travelling as much as possible. So far, I have had the chance to visit magnificent limestone caves and towering castles, eat delicious food, and take my first ride on the bullet train (which, yeah, was pretty cool). On my weekends and vacation days, I have explored Hiroshima, and the neighbouring prefectures of Tottori and Shimane. I hope to visit the historic city of Kyoto during the changing of the leaves in autumn, as well as the sprawling mountains of Nara prefecture during the springtime Hanami: the blooming of the cherry blossoms.
I work full time at three incredibly lively country elementary schools. I wake up early, put on my business suit, and roll, run, shout, sing, and dance for seven to nine hours before going to bed. Then I wake up and do it all over again. The kids are the best part of the job, without a doubt.
The transition to living and working in a new culture has not been without its hiccups. However, life is pretty sweet here, in this land of peaches. I look forward to every second of it.