The IR Program would like to congratulate all those students who graduated from the IR Major in 2020. We want to honour the knowledge and insight these students have to share even though they are not able to do it in person, so will be featuring many of them in a series of interviews here online. Go forth, grads, we are proud of you!
Name: Alicia Margono
Started at UBC in: 2015
Why did you choose to study IR?
I chose to study IR to gain knowledge and experience in a multidisciplinary setting. It is also one of the best majors at UBC!
What was one significant learning moment that happened during your degree?
The avenues available to make our voices heard, and how to remain informed before speaking out. In particular, courses such as GRSJ and CENS – and all the courses in IR, really – serve to educate and empower students in speaking to difficult issues in the world with nuance.
What is one thing that you did/were involved in that you think future IR students should consider?
On a larger faculty level, I would highly recommend co-op. It gives students a variety of real world experience in which to apply their education. With IR as a multidisciplinary academic focus, I’ve been able to work in several different fields throughout my degree. (My co-ops were at RBC, Douglas & McIntyre/Harbour Publishing, and UBC’s Office of the President). Otherwise, volunteer opportunities are abundant at UBC and in Vancouver – working at Congress and the TED Conferences, for example.
Most memorable or favourite IR class? And why?
It’s tough to choose – I’d say Poli 360 (Security Studies) with Prof. Arjun Chowdhury. He’s a very engaging professor, and we got to learn about . Southeast Asian politics comes in close second, since Prof. Ostwald taught me more about my country than I learned from living there, and we had a Malaysian prince come in to talk about policy, which was exciting. Nuclear politics and Holocaust studies were also interesting – extremely informative, if terrifying.
Any advice for future IR Majors?
Take as many different courses as you can! IR is full of interesting classes and hidden gems, and you’ll definitely be learning something you didn’t expect in each one. Make sure to take advantage of all the events, competitions, and other exciting opportunities in the major.