Shoshana Schwebel

Metaphors of Trauma in German Cultural Texts

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I needed to continue reading the stories that made me feel connected to the world. These happened to be housed in German Studies. I knew that I could deeply relate to the subject matter, and I wanted the language to explain why.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

Aside from being full of academic superstars, the department was very inviting to me when I applied. When I accepted, I was told by one professor that, now, I was family.

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

The program is very flexible to the needs of the graduate students. As well, several of the professors are only a decade or so out of their own PhDs, and are therefore in a good position to prepare us for the changing landscape of the humanities.

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

The hot tub in the Aquatic Centre, and the variety of snacks at H-Mart.

I chose UBC for many reasons, one being that my department is full of academic superstars. Also, the department was very inviting to me when I applied. When I accepted, I was told by one professor that, now, I was family.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

The highlights of the program have been and continue to be the conversations I have with my professors. As a TA, I also love interacting with the new generation of brilliant undergraduate students.

What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?

On an individual level, getting a job in my field will be the biggest challenge. On a collective level, the field of German Studies needs to continue working to decentre the many harmful traditions (including whiteness and colonialism) that inform so much of our canonical scholarship.

How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?

The current graduate advisor, Dr. Kyle Frackman, goes above and beyond to help me plan my goals and work towards them. All of my professors have helped me rework my papers so that I can submit them to journals and present them at conferences. Everyone in my program—students, faculty, and staff—have shared their knowledge with me and been kind and helpful on a daily basis.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

I have benefited in countless ways from the systems in place in Canada that privilege me at the expense of others. I have always had access to an uninterrupted education, shelter, food, medical care (including for mental health), and people far more knowledgable than me who were willing to read and edit my work.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Keep in mind that Vancouver is an outrageously expensive city (UBC’s fee calculator as of 2019 listed $29,000 as the minimum annual amount needed to live in Vancouver and attend UBC), and ask to be funded accordingly.


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