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A Jump Start to Life at the University of British Columbia

September 9, 2013

Emily Morehead head shot 3Planning for university comes with stress, but planning for university as an international student brings with it even more pressure. Earlier this year I committed to attend the University of British Columbia north of the border in Vancouver. On top of registering for classes, getting housing, and figuring out how to get all my belongings onto a plane, I was also investigating how to get health insurance, choose and sign-up for a new cell phone plan, and set up a new bank account. The emotional aspect was also a big factor because leaving the country you’ve called home is a daunting thought.

Fortunately, the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC gives the opportunity for international students to adjust and figure out everything they need to. On August 14th, I left San Francisco and flew to Vancouver’s International Airport to join over 1,100 international students from over 150 countries to begin my orientation (in total there are 7,927 freshman in the UBC Class of 2017, with 2,082 attending from outside Canada). The program I attended is called Jump Start, a two-week program specifically designed for international students.

Immediately upon arrival at the university, I was greeted by multiple smiling faces ready to help me get settled. I was assigned to a learning community (a group of students with a similar major) that I would meet up with almost every day. I also learned of my jam-packed schedule of activities that would help me feel connected and at home in UBC.

Jump Start Students at Zombie Walk Day

Jump Start Students at Zombie Walk Day

One day I was exploring downtown Vancouver surrounded by zombies during its famous Zombie Walk day, the next I was laughing hysterically to an Improv show and the week after that I was dressing up for a gala with all of my newly made friends. Even when I thought there was nothing to do, a friend would be knocking on my door inviting me to hang out that evening.

Every stress that I brought to UBC vanished within the two weeks. The program was an amazing opportunity because it allowed me to adjust without the pressure of class. The counselors were very helpful with every question I had and soon my health insurance, phone plan and bank account were all taken care of. Also, the activities every day and the bonding within my learning community provided me with great new friends from all over the world. I was so busy making new friends and exploring Vancouver that I rarely felt homesick. Instead, I was excited about the possibilities that UBC would provide me.

If I knew how simple Jump Start would make transitioning to a new country, I would have never been stressed before leaving. I lucked out on being an international student, because unlike the domestic kids, I got two weeks of orientation. Going to a different country for university may seem like an intimidating choice, but UBC’s Jump Start program makes it as simple as going to school within your own country. I know feel like a true UBC student.

At the Dublin High School 2013 Senior Awards Night Emily Morehead was awarded a Dublin High PFSO Scholarship, was awarded a Gael Achievement Award for Dramatic Arts, was named a California Scholarship Federation Life Member, won a President’s Gold Award for Education Excellence and earned Dublin High School’s Advanced Scholar Diploma.

Related articles:

University of British Columbia Campus Photo Tour

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University of British Columbia Jump Start Overview

  1. Arzu permalink
    September 9, 2013 8:33 am

    All the best Emily! Sounds like you’ve made yourself a second home:)

  2. July 18, 2014 6:18 am

    That’s so cool.


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