Discovering new passions and interests: Ahmed Hussein

Ahmed Hussein




✔ Pronouns: He/Him


📕 Specialization: 4th year, International Relations Major


🏡 Home is: Nairobi, Kenya


✨ Ahmed is a fourth-year student majoring in IR. Born and raised in Kenya, Ahmed holds his home close to his heart, as family and friends continue to inspire him and remind him of the values he embodies. Ahmed spent 2 years studying in Italy before coming to UBC, and is passionate about intercultural understanding and community building.

Ahmed finds beauty in learning about different cultures and connecting with people from different backgrounds, experiences, and walks of life. He enjoys exploring Vancouver, food places, and painting.


🌎 Why did you decide to major in IR? 

I chose IR because it provided me with the possibility to make my degree my own. I could take classes from different disciplines and faculties and at the same time satisfy my curiosities.


🌎Tell us about your transition to virtual learning. Any tips you might share?

Initially, it was very challenging because it was difficult to draw the boundary between work and sleep space. I have come to appreciate the value of taking it easy on yourself and giving yourself the break/rest that you need. It can get exhausting spending hours over Zoom, so I found other non-zoom things to do like cook, short walks, and I even started a food page. My tip would be to find something outside the technology world that excites you, something that re-energizes you. 


🌎 What’s one thing that you’ve done as a student at UBC that stands out to you?

My favorite experience was when I took ECON 339 – Economics of Technological Change with Professor Catherine Douglas. I got to work with my close friends on a project where we developed a marketing strategy aimed at increasing awareness and engagement of the Leisure Access Program (LAP) by 4%. We worked alongside City of Vancouver and City Studio staff, which was an amazing opportunity. We were then invited to present our findings at the Hubbub City Studio conference which was so incredible and fun. 


🌎 Favourite IR class?

My favourite IR class is definitely GEOG 498, Geographies of the Middle East, with professor Siobhán McPhee. I have always been curious to learn more about the Middle East, especially since I am ethnically Yemeni. It was such a unique experience because we approached the class from a lens of digital storytelling, centered around creating empathy and connections between places and people. My group and I also got the opportunity to interview drag queens from Beirut, Lebanon which was an enriching experience, and got to dive deeper into understanding the politics of drag in the Middle East.


🌎 Share a piece of advice for future IR majors. 

I know we may come into university with ideas of what we are interested in studying and what we want to focus on, but don’t be afraid to try something new – maybe take a class you never thought you’d take. You’d surprised with the new passions and interests you might discover.


More IR Student Stories here