Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I decided to pursue a graduate degree because of my passion and desire to become an occupational therapist (OT) - enabling people to do the things that are important to them. From previously participating in service trips to developing areas across the globe, I have found that individuals with disabilities are often neglected and withheld care that is crucial to their improvement. An OT on my service trips worked endlessly with the children with disabilities whom we met. Because of her work, the children laughed and smiled with joy, and their families began to hope and see a future, something they never thought possible. Her dedication to loving those in need inspired me to become an OT that provides tailor-made services, bridges cultural differences, and demystifies stereotypes to push for a more equitable future.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I decided to study at UBC because I saw their promotion of intercultural understanding, international engagement, and research as an essential part to becoming a culturally responsive and prepared practitioner. With an increasingly diverse population in the United States, it is crucial to embrace our community’s varying socio-cultural realities; we can position ourselves at the precipice of change, advocating for our clients and partnering with them to provide meaningful and effective care. I also saw how UBC’s focus on research would allow me to work closely with those at the forefront of advancements in OT. Learning about cutting-edge medical resources would be vital to being an OT that helps others reach milestones and achieve their true potential.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
I was attracted by UBC MOT’s emphasis on experiential learning which really shows through the vast amount of hands-on learning we get inside and outside of the classroom. The UBC MOT program offers a total of 5 different full-time placements (30 weeks total) which means there are a plethora of opportunities to apply knowledge and skills into the practice setting. They also have many more connections for fieldwork around the world (such as India, China, Australia) compared to other programs I’ve looked into which mostly offer local placements.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
I was taken aback by how vast and beautiful the UBC campus was. My program also has the most empathetic and lovely professors I have ever met - I look up to each one of them so much as they inspire me and my class not only as OTs but also as human beings! I also did not expect myself to fall so much in love with the café, coffee and donut scene here; Vancouver seriously has the best donuts I’ve had in my life yet. I love how accessible transportation is, and how much gorgeous scenery you can explore here. Above it all, I am so thankful for the lifelong friendships I’m cultivating in my cohort right now.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
For me, getting as many shadowing/volunteering experiences with occupational therapists in various settings (i.e. school, hippotherapy, private practice) and diverse populations really helped me see the value and beauty of the profession. That ultimately added to my understanding and passion for occupational therapy, and also gave me something concrete to link my in-class learning to.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
When I’m not studying, I love baking or trying a new recipe, trying a new restaurant, hanging out in cafes, and taking walks along the water by Kits Beach.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Take advantage of Vancouver’s nature and food scenes to connect with others and build unforgettable memories and friendships! Don’t be afraid to try new things; I got ClassPass (pre-COVID) and went to my very first dance classes with my classmates – it was surprisingly so much fun!