International Scholars

UBC’s International Scholars have the potential to make a difference in the world. They are high academic achievers who have demonstrated exceptional extracurricular activities, show a desire to create change at the local and global level, and they are dedicated to giving back to their communities.


About the International Scholars Program

UBC’s International Scholars are part of the International Scholars Program, which offers the chance to:

Earn a globally recognized degree at a top university

A UBC degree opens doors and connects you to a vast alumni network across the globe.

Study with the brightest students in the world

You’ll join a community of engaged and supportive young leaders and study among the brightest. You and your fellow Scholars will enrich UBC and the global community with your diverse perspectives, committed involvement, and innovative initiatives.

Take advantage of unique learning opportunities

You’ll have access to numerous opportunities inside and outside the classroom that will enrich your university experience:

  • Community-based experiential learning projects can help you apply your academic interests to the needs and issues of the local or global community.
  • Annual retreats will help you connect with your community while you plan for the year ahead and develop your leadership skills.
  • An annual workshop series will provide leadership, community development, career preparation, and networking opportunities throughout your degree.
  • Receptions and celebratory events are hosted throughout each year to recognize your achievements and connect you to the Scholars community on campus.
  • Focus on overall health and wellbeing for Scholars, which includes individual and community care.
  • Study-abroad exchange programs can take you to emerging countries where you’ll address local challenges in health, agriculture, social infrastructure, education, and sustainable development.

Access dedicated advising and support

You’ll be supported by a team of dedicated International Scholars Program advisors throughout your degree, plus a network of staff from across UBC’s faculties and services who will encourage your academic, personal, and career development

Meet UBC's International Scholars

Get to know a few of our International Scholars by clicking on the images below.



International Scholar alumnus, PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge

From UBC undergraduate to doctoral candidate at the University of Cambridge, Milind is passionate about research and community outreach, and inspired to make a difference.

Read his story



United States


International Scholars Program alumna

For Jessica, UBC’s International Leader of Tomorrow Award has given her the support and tools she needs to reach her “full academic potential at university” – her words, not ours! The fact that she will be spending the summer studying Indigenous medicine in Nicaragua is just one example of how the award has opened doors.

“I feel like I can truly explore my academic passions freely, knowing that there is a team of individuals who will always encourage me to keep making dreams become realities. I truly feel like I could accomplish anything I set my mind to because of this community.”

Since arriving at UBC, Jessica has taken that feeling to heart, pursuing her interests and seeking out every opportunity to get involved. She has been a Jump Start orientation leader, a habits course facilitator, and a Nutrikids educator, not to mention a gymnastics coach and a member of the Agape Street Missions.

“I feel I have become a more motivated, tenacious, and humbled person because of this award. I have met incredibly inspiring fellow Scholars as well as major leaders of this university who have continued to amaze me on a daily basis. Through the help of the support system in this community, I have learned to believe in myself and my academic and professional abilities in ways I could never have imagined.”



Bachelor of Arts
International Scholars Program alumna

Originally from Israel, UBC International Scholar Eliya had always dreamed of pursuing her academic goals abroad. “Israel has always felt like a small and isolated country and I wanted to study somewhere that will help me make a global impact,” she explains.

When Eliya received the International Leader of Tomorrow Award, she saw it as a life-changing opportunity to study at a leading institution with extraordinary students from all over the world.

“Meeting so many new people helped me get a fresh perspective on things. Listening to the experiences of my fellow Scholars and learning and growing with them has been the most rewarding experience of this whole journey.”

For Eliya, being an International Scholar has given her the tools she needs to reach her goals. “I am thankful to UBC for giving me this incredible platform to help me reach the pinnacle of success in the future.”



International Scholars Program alumnus

Daniel came to UBC with the intention of pursuing an Economics degree. Today, he’s doing just that – along with a minor in Computer Science and a whole lot more – thanks to the International Scholars Program.

“This award has had a huge effect on me personally since I was able to join a community that I can study with, hang out with, and plan events with and that continuously inspires and encourages me.”

For Daniel, the support of UBC staff has also been critical in providing encouragement and keeping him accountable to his goals. “With all this support, I have managed to be quite active in my time here on campus – from advocating for fellow students as a student senator and supporting them as a teaching assistant, to helping build an inclusive on campus community as a resident advisor, to organizing elections as the chief returning officer.”



International Scholars Program alumnus

Joses was driven to study civil engineering so that he could use his education to help developing countries on his home continent of Africa. When he arrived at UBC, he found a welcoming community and endless opportunities to get involved.

Read his story



International Scholars Program alumna, MSc candidate at UBC

When Nishat hung a poster of UBC on her wall in Bangladesh, she never imagined that she would go on to become a UBC International Scholar, deliver her convocation address, and end up pursuing grad studies on UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Read her story



International Scholars Program alumna

“Before coming to Vancouver, I lived in five different countries. Living in these countries, I was exposed to a plethora of culture, music, and food,” explains UBC International Scholar Rose.

She cites Vancouver’s nature as a driving force behind her decision to apply to UBC. “I enjoy nature and serving the community. In Mali, my classmates and I would go on school trips to a village called Sibi,” Rose recounts, noting that engaging with community members, hiking, and rock-climbing were integral parts of the trips.

At her core, Rose describes herself as “an advocate for justice, equality, and truth,” citing her father, a representative for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), helped her discover that calling.

“One of my most inspiring experiences was getting the opportunity to escort my father to a campaign in Kenya, where he was promoting the importance of treating preventable diseases. From that point, I also had a passion of making a difference in the world.”

Driven by her interest in neuroscience and Rwanda’s history, Rose is now studying Psychology on UBC’s Vancouver campus. “I have family members who are survivors and victims of the Rwandan genocide. Seeing how they coped with the trauma was a true fascination of mine,” she explains. “My goal in life is to make a difference, regardless of where I am.”



International Scholars Program alumnus

Andreas is grateful for the chance to make a difference and study the subject he loves.

“Receiving this award gave me great pride, reminding me that someone who hadn’t met me believed in my ability to create change and supported my vision.”



Current International Scholar

“Before coming to university, I thought I had to commit to a single one of my passions. When I came here, I realized that there is no end to what I could explore,” says UBC International Scholar Carolina.

“I could say the Scholar’s community is the single most important factor to my university success. It is there where I have found the friends that have now become my family, my support system, my laughter, and above all, my inspiration.”

Giving the opening speech at Imagine UBC in front of more than 8,000 students, starting her own radio show, and learning how to fire-dance are just a few of the highlights so far from Carolina’s time at UBC.

“I have been part of theatre productions, gone surfing and camping around beautiful British Columbia, worked as a research assistant, learned how to play the guitar, and developed a deep love for biking. I have also had the most eye-opening conversations with world-renowned professors who are at the forefront of their fields. I am infinitely grateful and privileged to be able to learn and play in these unceded territories of the First Nation’s peoples,” she reflects.

After graduation, Carolina plans to pursue a career in education with a focus on social justice, fine arts, and the environment. In the distant future, she dreams of piloting her very own yellow propeller plane.



Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford School of Medicine

From UBC International Scholar to Stanford Medical School, Zahra is an aspiring Epidemiologist and advocates for first-generation and low-income students.

“[The International Scholar] awards are so impactful in changing the realities of students who come from backgrounds in which higher education is not the traditional pathway to success.”

Read her story.

The International Scholars Program awards


There are four categories of prestigious need-and-merit-based awards available through UBC’s International Scholars Program.

You won’t select which award you wish to receive when you submit your application – our team will automatically consider you for the awards that you are eligible for.


Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award

This award recognizes exceptional prospective international undergraduate students who demonstrate superior academic achievement and exemplary leadership skills that support and empower others through collaboration, empathy and active listening. It recognizes students who have made a positive impact through their involvement in various school and community service projects and initiatives, and attained notable achievement in other academic or extra-curricular pursuits.  

Donald A. Wehrung International Student Award

This award recognizes outstanding international undergraduate students from impoverished or war-torn areas who have achieved academic excellence under challenging circumstances, and who would be unable to attend university without significant financial assistance. Students should demonstrate leadership potential and a strong commitment to making a positive impact in their communities.

International Impact Award

This award is offered to exceptional students who have demonstrated leadership as well as commitment to and solutions for sustainability and climate change, natural resource conservation and management, social justice, equity and inclusion, or societal health and wellness. Priority is given to first generation learners and those from diverse lived backgrounds.

Vantage One Excellence Award

This award is offered by UBC Vantage College for academically outstanding international students who do not yet meet the English Language Admission Standard for direct admission to UBC. The awards range in value up to the full cost of a student’s academic program and living expenses. Students should demonstrate leadership skills, impactful involvement in student affairs and community service, and notable achievement in other academic or extra-curricular pursuits. 



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International Scholars since 2001
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countries represented among International Scholars
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hours of developmental workshops and one-on-one support available to Scholars over the course of their degree

Eligibility for the Program

  • You must be an international student who will be studying in Canada on a Canadian study permit.
  • You must be entering UBC from a recognized secondary school, or transferring from your first year at a post-secondary college or other university.
  • You must have graduated from high school no earlier than one gap year prior to the academic year you are applying to. For example, applicants for 2024 Winter session must have graduated from high school no earlier than November 2022.
  • You must be applying for your first undergraduate degree.
  • You must demonstrate superior academic achievement (achieve all As or equivalent standard).
  • You must demonstrate a level of financial need that would otherwise prevent you from pursuing a UBC degree. (UBC automatically considers all international students for the merit-based International Major Entrance Scholarships and Outstanding International Student Awards. If these awards do not cover your needs for tuition and basic living expenses, you are eligible to apply for the International Scholars Program.)
  • You must meet UBC’s admission requirements, including general and degree-specific requirements and the English Language Admission Standard.


We will consider you for the Vantage One Excellence Award if:

  • All previous eligibility criteria apply, except you must not yet meet UBC’s English Language Admission Standard for direct admission to UBC. 
  • You must meet the UBC Vantage College admission requirements, including the English requirements for Vantage College.
  • You must be coming directly from high school
  • You must be beginning your undergraduate studies at UBC in the UBC Vantage One Program.


Please note: If you apply for the International Scholars Program, you will not be considered for merit-based awards, including International Major Entrance Scholarships and Outstanding International Student Awards.

How to apply for the International Scholars Program

Applications for the 2024 school year are now closed.


1. Review the application page for the International Scholars Program.

2. Decide on the academic program you want to study, and which campus you want to choose.

  • When selecting your degree, please note that the following degrees are not eligible for UBC International Scholars Program awards: UBC Okanagan Bachelor of Nursing degree, Bachelor of Dental Science in Dental Hygiene, Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science, Bachelor + Master of Management degree, dual degrees, joint degrees between UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver, and joint degrees with other post-secondary institutions.

3. To apply for the International Scholars Program, you must be nominated by your school or non-profit, and submit a reference from an academic referee.

  • Confirm that your school or non-profit is able to nominate you. A single high school, college, or university may nominate up to two students for UBC Vancouver (including Vantage College), and one student for UBC Okanagan. A non-profit may only nominate a high school student who is involved with their organization. This nomination will count towards the total nominations permitted from a student’s school.
  • Inform your nominator and academic referee that you’d like to apply for the International Scholars Program and advise them of the November 15 application deadline. Your nominator should be your school counsellor or equivalent, and your academic referee should be someone who is familiar with you and your work – for example, your teacher for your chosen area of study.

4. Gather your required financial information, as well as notes on any extracurricular activities and awards.

5. Apply for the International Scholars Program by submitting the application by the November 15 deadline.

6. Submit your admissions application to UBC by the December 1 deadline.


Application deadlines


November 15: You must have submitted your International Scholars Program application

December 1: You must have submitted your online application for admission to UBC. Although you can specify two degree choices in your application, only your first-choice degree will be considered for an Internationals Scholars Program award.

January 31: Meet UBC’s English Language Admission Standard for direct-entry, or the English language requirement for UBC Vantage College if you have applied to a Vantage One program and are hoping to be considered for the Vantage One Excellence Award.

January 31: Submit any documents required for your admission to UBC. Please submit by this deadline, not the date indicated in your “next steps” email.

Mid-April: You will be informed if you have received an award.

Contact us

If you have questions about UBC’s International Scholars Program, contact us.