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: Katherine Nicole Araujo Galan
Started at UBC in: 2015
Why did you choose to study IR?
My experience as an international student at UBC was my first time studying and living abroad. Coming from Ecuador, a small but beautiful country in South America, it was here in Canada where I discovered my passion for learning and engaging with different cultures and people with distinct backgrounds. Studying International Relations was my opportunity to actively participate in Vancouver’s diverse community while also gaining valuable knowledge about international affairs.
What was one significant learning moment that happened during your degree?
In my first year, I had the chance to work closely with the Ecuadorian Association at UBC as we organized an event to raise money for Ecuador after a 7.8 earthquake hit our country and killed hundreds. The instability in our country largely affected the mental and emotional health of all Ecuadorian students who feared the wellbeing of their families and citizens in general. During the fundraiser, professors and students from around the world shared overwhelming support towards Ecuadorian students. Everyone showed great interest in helping Ecuador by buying artisans and food that we all brought together to raise money. This event was a significant learning moment because it showed me that UBC community is one of our most important support groups: whether you need information, references, opportunities, help with fundraisers, or guidance, there is always someone who can help you. This is what makes UBC an incredible community.
What is one thing that you did/were involved in that you think future IR students should consider?
In my first year, I decided to join a UBC club called Party Well: a non-profit organization that organized events and raise money for charities. This club allowed me to have a more tangible understanding of the economic and social struggles that people suffer across the world. Moreover, it gave me the opportunity to actively engage in helping vulnerable groups while creating awareness across UBC. Party Well also gave me the chance to meet people who share similar interests and visions, people who now I can call my best friends. Future IR students should definitely consider joining UBC clubs that can give them the chance to grow academic, professional and personal skills.
Most memorable or favourite IR class? And why?
POLI 375 Global Environmental Politics: This class gave me the opportunity to explore environmental issues across countries where research and studies are often limited (e.g non-Western locations). Moreover, I was incredibly lucky to have the most inspirational professor at UBC: Peter Dauvergne.
Any advice for future IR Majors?
International Relations is a program full of opportunities to engage, explore and learn. We have the privilege to study in one of the most diverse academic institutions where our Majors become a powerful tool to write the legacy we want to leave at UBC and in Canada. Be sure you use all the resources IR program has to offer but also remember that everything you learn in this program is our motivation as IR students to create a better political, economic and social structure in this world.