Discovering rich personal growth far from home

How a scary idea turned out to be surprisingly easy.

Discovering rich personal growth far from home
CategoryStudent
NameArielle Lynn
From Mississauga, Ontario
ProgramCommerce, with a specialization in Finance

Sauder School of Business student Arielle Lynn wasn’t set on leaving her home province for university—until she began researching UBC. Thrilled by the range of learning opportunities and experiences on offer, she decided to pack up and head West for her undergraduate degree.

Arielle has always wanted to work and live in other parts of the world, so moving cross-country for university felt like a good first step. Drawn to Canada’s West Coast by UBC’s international reputation, diversity of programing and services, and—of course—the beautiful vistas, Arielle has found her perfect mix of adventure, excitement and academic rigour at UBC.


How did you hear about UBC, and what made you want to apply?

I did a project on UBC as part of my Grade 10 careers and civics course, but before that I knew very little about it. When I was in Grade 12, a friend of mine was offered a spot on the UBC Women’s Varsity Field Hockey team (Go Thunderbirds!) so she reintroduced me to the idea of studying here. When I decided to apply, what initially attracted me was the reputation of the Sauder School of Business and the natural beauty of the campus.


Why did you accept your offer from UBC over other options closer to home?

I did extensive research into universities and decided to apply to UBC for a multitude of reasons. I knew I wanted to study commerce, and UBC has one of the top ranked business schools in the country, with a wide range of specialization options within the Commerce program. The robust co-op and exchange program was also really interesting to me.

In addition, UBC is one of the highest ranked Canadian universities on an international scale. I want to work outside of North America in the future, so studying at an internationally-renowned institution like UBC made sense. Of course, the Sauder School of Business is also on the gorgeous UBC Vancouver campus, and I was excited about living here for four years and seeing the mountains and ocean while walking between classes!

 

“For me, the most standout elements of UBC were its international reputation and location.”


What was it like moving across the country? Any challenges or adventures to share?

Moving across the country was a scary idea that turned out to be surprisingly easy! Although I moved over 3,200 km from home, staying in Canada meant that my phone plan, health care coverage, bank accounts, etc., all stayed exactly the same. This made the administrative part of moving very straight forward. Living in residence in my first year also really helped ensure a smooth transition, as I was able to make friends very easily within the residence community.


Are there any standout memories from your time so far?

Absolutely! Some of my favourite experiences include skiing in Whistler, doing the polar bear dip at Wreck Beach, going to homecoming, visiting Granville Island, and trying out new Vancouver restaurants with my new friends.

 

“My entire UBC experience has been an adventure! One of the fantastic things about moving far away is you not only get the new experience of being at university, but also the opportunity to explore a new city.”


Is there anything that’s surprised you about living in Vancouver?

The rain! It does rain more than in Ontario, but it’s a much lighter rain and it never thunderstorms. I also find the culture to be very outdoorsy—Vancouverites are really active, from hiking to skiing to biking to skateboarding, they really do everything! Finally, we rarely get snow out here, so the local cities and residents don’t handle snow quite as well as we do in Ontario. I have a good laugh when people worry about 3 cm of snow!


What have been the best parts about UBC so far?

I can’t emphasize enough how much I’ve enjoyed my time at UBC. Every day there is a new or exciting experience, and there have been so many highlights! Spending my first year in residence. Meeting incredible new friends and other UBC students from around the world. Participating in Storm the Wall.

I also joined the UBC PMF Program, a small group of students that actively manage a $10 million equity and fixed income portfolio for the UBC Sauder School of Business. And, as a student ambassador, it’s been great meeting prospective undergraduate students as I lead them on campus tours.

 

“Moving to Vancouver gave me the opportunity to build a life for myself and experience a lot of firsts on my own, which has been so exciting and incredibly rewarding.”


What do you think are some of the most unique benefits of being a student at UBC?

When considering universities it’s important to think about the resources offered to students and UBC offers a multitude of academic, financial, physical and mental wellness resources, all of which I have benefited from. UBC really stands out from a student wellness perspective too. Some of the support programs available to students include the Wellness Peers serviceand free counseling services. I wish more students were aware of these resources and noted their importance.


What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about moving away from home for university?

Moving away from home is an important decision and, as with any big decision, it’s important to give it some thought. However, you will likely not feel 100 per cent comfortable or confident in your decision until you actually get to UBC, so know it’s okay to have some uncertainty or mild discomfort. That being said, it’s really not as hard or as scary as you think! Moving away from home and really far away from home will give you one of the richest personal growth experiences and learning opportunities of your life. I’ve learned so much about myself, I’ve become much more independent, and I was forced to develop new skills being on my own (like cooking and taking public transit, but also things like time management).

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