Rebekah Kartal

The search for solidarity in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands/occupied O'odham land
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I decided to pursue a graduate degree in the geography program because I was inspired by a couple of undergraduate geography courses and undergraduate research that pushed me to think critically and self reflect on my position in the world. These reflections motivated me to work and learn alongside groups demanding social and environmental justice. In graduate school I hope to continue this journey, learning from and alongside the communities with whom I collaborate during fieldwork, faculty members, and students. Additionally, I really enjoy teaching and hope to encourage students to engage thoughtfully both inside and outside the classroom.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I decided to study at UBC because of the strength of the geography program. With the faculty members doing research in multiple areas, I feel the program at UBC will expose me to a diversity of subdisciplines within the field of geography. In addition, knowing geography is just one of the thriving departments at UBC, I look forward to meeting faculty members and graduate students who are doing related work in other fields.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

After my experience doing the MA degree in the Department of Geography at UBC, I feel confident I have found a group of faculty members dedicated to mentorship who will encourage me to ask important questions in my own work. Additionally, I look forward to continued collaboration with other graduate students in our department who inspire me.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

The parks! Whether taking a jog through Pacific Spirit Park or walking the beaches of Stanley Park, I am grateful to be able to relax and clear my mind. Also, I really enjoy how accessible the city is by bike. Although I wasn’t much of a biker before moving to Vancouver, I now bike almost everywhere—yes, rain or shine.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

I enjoy jogging, dancing, and hiking. When I have the time, I also find cooking very relaxing. Lastly, I appreciate spending time with family and close friends and love to host.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Try to find ways to enjoy the process rather than get overwhelmed by what you (or your advisor) think the final product should be. For me, graduate school has required an open mind and flexibility. Additionally, try to find a balance, making time for things you enjoy. Sometimes it may feel like you have too much to do, but the work will be waiting for you after you spend time with that new friend, chat with a family member, or take a walk.


Learn about our faculties, research and more than 300 programs in our Graduate Viewbook!