On JIA, being a teaching assistant, and challenges of remote learning: Hannah Exley


Hannah Exley


✔ Pronouns: She/Her


📕 Specialization: 4th year, International Relations Major & Spanish Minor 


🏡 Home is: Agassiz, BC


✨ Hannah is a fourth-year international relations major and Spanish minor. She is also co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Affairs, is involved with Spanish for Community, and works as a teaching and research assistant.

Academically, Hannah focuses on twentieth century global history, U.S. foreign relations, and the links between literature, popular culture, and international relations. Outside of her academics, Hannah focuses on hiking, reading, and tending to her large collection of houseplants.




🌎 Why did you decide to major in IR? 

I decided to major in IR because of its global focus and because of the flexibility it offered—I loved the idea of taking courses from lots of different disciplines and I wasn’t ready to commit to just one!


🌎 Can you tell us a little bit about the JIA? 

The UBC Journal of International Affairs is a student-led publication that showcases excellent undergraduate papers on global issues. It’s a great way for students to get their work published early in their careers, and it’s also a great way to meet other members of the IR community. If you love writing and editing, apply to be an editor next September!


Hannah grew up on a farm in Agassiz, B.C., a small town about two hours from Vancouver. Isn’t this place justso. beautiful? 😍

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

Virtual learning is really hard. On busy days I watch the sun go up and down from my desk and it feels like I’ve only been working productively for an hour or two! If you’re struggling without the brisk walks between classes, I can absolutely relate.

My tip is to prioritize “human time” along with your schoolwork—it’s just as important.


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

Working as a TA for the departments of Sociology and Political Science has been one of the highlights of my time at UBC. It’s given me an even greater appreciation for the diversity and strength of our students, as well as the incredible amount of work that goes into teaching (especially online teaching).


🌎 Favourite IR class?

Some of my favourite IR classes have been SOCI 301 (Development and Underdevelopment) with Kerry Greer, HIST 408 (U.S. Foreign Relations until 1945) with Jessica Wang, or any of the HIST 402 “topics” courses (I’ve taken lots of them!).


🌎 Share a piece of advice for future IR majors. 

I have two pieces of advice: Firstly, don’t be afraid to talk to your professors and TAs! Their job is to help you learn and succeed, and they’re usually very friendly. Secondly, don’t stress out about padding your resume or getting involved in things right away; focus on your schoolwork first and the rest will follow.

More IR Student Stories here