Sanaa worried that she might feel lonely or lost moving to UBC Okanagan from another continent. Instead, taking part in the campus’s orientations helped her build friendships that still stand strong.
Sanaa found Jump Start – UBC Okanagan’s multi-day on-campus orientation – to be the perfect way to learn about university life, her faculty, and her new community. UBC 101 helped her understand what was expected of her academically and personally, and she credits Create as the best way to ease into her first day. All three helped her realize that life at university wasn’t as intimidating as she first thought, and prepare her for an incredible experience in her first year.
Why did you choose to accept your offer to UBC?
I initially wasn’t planning on coming to UBC, but after I got the International Major Entrance Scholarship, I began to consider it more seriously. I really appreciated its research-intensive environment and the wide range of opportunities it offered me. I found it to be the best, most affordable, and accessible university for an international student interested in pursuing research. The beautiful Okanagan campus, the friendly community, and the great number of resources available to students were welcome bonuses.
You took part in Jump Start. How did you find your experience?
I am very glad I got to be a part of this wonderful program. It made adjusting to university much easier. It was an amazing experience and I’d recommend it to all incoming first-year students.
How did Jump Start help you make friends before school began?
It was easy to bond with people who lived on campus and were just as lost and confused about everything as I was. We spent a lot of time together, both within our cohort and outside of it. The way the cohorts were structured also meant most of us were in similar programs and ended up having similar classes. Having that familiarity with each other was certainly helpful. I’m still close with most of the friends I made during Jump Start, and I’m grateful for it.
Can you talk a bit about what you liked about your Jump Start learning community?
It was a very fun, welcoming, and supportive environment. At no point did I feel like lonely or lost, despite just having moved to a different continent. Our orientation leaders were very understanding and helpful, and their advice about university life made the transition less daunting. I am still in touch with them, and I still feel comfortable asking them for help around campus.
What was your favourite event or session?
The team sessions were definitely my favourite. We got to socialize with each other, played board games, played loads of Mafia/Werewolf, went around town, and in general had a great time just enjoying each other’s company.
What was most useful to you about meeting your professors and learning more about your faculty during Jump Start?
It relieved some of the fears and anxieties I had about learning in a university environment. I realized it wasn’t something too different or difficult than what I was used to in high school, and the change wouldn’t be as drastic.
How did Jump Start help you transition into university life?
On the surface, it was helpful to have that bit of a mental break before classes started. It was also useful to get to know the campus and the city earlier on, so I had no trouble finding my classes for example. At a deeper level, Jump Start helped me mentally prepare myself for university, allay some of my anxieties, and adjust to living on my own. It made me realize that university is not as intimidating as I thought.
I would definitely recommend Jump Start! It’s a great opportunity and helps you adjust and prepare for university life better.
You’re applying to be an orientation leader now. What motivated that decision?
My own experience with my orientation leaders was a big motivating factor. Seeing how they interacted with us and guided us inspired me to want to do the same. I wanted to give back to the community and help new UBC students have the amazing experience I had.
What are you most looking forward to if you’re selected as an orientation leader?
I love meeting new people! I’m really looking forward to guiding them around campus – all the shortcuts and cool spots. Showing them around and hearing their perspectives would almost be like seeing the campus for the first time all over again.
How did your UBCO 101 orientation help you prepare for UBCO?
Mostly it helped me get used to using Canva and navigating the various UBC websites. It also helped me understand what UBC expects of me, academically and otherwise.
What was the most useful part of the UBC 101 orientation?
The campus supports and services module was super helpful. I learnt about all the resources offered on campus like recreation, health, mental health services, safety, and others. All this information was very useful and I knew exactly where to look when I needed something.
What did you think of the Create orientation day for all new-to-UBC students? What can you remember about the experience?
I think it’s a great experience and really helps students get used to going about the campus. I remember the welcome video that featured Dr Lesley Cormack’s speech, a traditional Okanagan song, and skits by the students. It was very engaging and interesting.