Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
Upon the completion of my master's degree from Tokyo University I knew that I wanted to continue studying migration, but that I also wanted to expand on my artistic projects. Visual anthropology felt like a natural fit, for it allows me to combine my interests in visual media and in the study of the Philippines and Japan. This convergence of interests eventually led me to graduate school.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
The Ethnographic Film Unit that is hosted by our Department, the very strong Japanese Studies program at the Asian Center, and of course, the opportunity to work with my research supervisor, all encouraged me to come to UBC. I had also heard many positive things about the Department of Anthropology at UBC – for one, that it just beside the world-famous Museum of Anthropology.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
There are so many resources within UBC of which students can take advantage. For example The Liu Institute for Global Issues has made possible the creation of the Philippine Studies Series, a group which aims to bring to UBC the discussion of Philippine-related issues. Through the Philippine Studies Series I have met many wonderful individuals who share my interests.
What do you hope to accomplish with your research?
An important component of my research is the production of visual projects, which I hope will give a more human face to migration, and thereby contribute to the development of policies. My hometown is also one of the many understudied communities in the Philippines, so by focusing on migrants from Nabau, I hope to boost interest in the study of smaller rural communities within the country.
What has winning a major award meant to you?
It is wonderful to know that my research is being supported not only by UBC but by national-level funding organizations. Winning the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship will ease the financial burden when I conduct fieldwork both in the Philippines and Japan. This will also allow me to expand my film and art projects which are central to my research.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
If you are not from Canada and you need to find short or long-term accommodation make use of the UBC Classifieds using your interchange account, which you can actually access even before official enrollment. Also, don't be shy to email the graduate studies staff in your program, other graduate students, and even professors – in my experience they all happily reply to inquiries.