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Coming to UBC with a heart full of excitement

Second-year student Tsewang Diki never thought she would have the chance to study abroad, a dream she’d had as a little girl.

Tsewang was born and grew up in Gorkha, Nepal where she spoke a Tibetan dialect with her friends and family, but she did not receive a formal education since there was no proper school in her hometown.

At the age of seven, however, Tsewang moved to Kathmandu, where she began to study English. Curious and studious, she received great grades and received a scholarship in high school to attend a boarding school on Vancouver Island.

How did it feel to move across the world from Kathmandu to a country she’d never set foot in before?

“I was nervous. I never thought in my life I’d get the chance to study abroad… but then it came true,” says Tsewang, who didn’t find it difficult to get good grades in school nor make friends.

She loved the greenery and trees and learning about life in Canada. She felt less homesick after spending time with new friends.

By the time she was done high school, Tsewang had applied to several universities, but ultimately chose one of her top choices: The University of British Columbia. Having received a scholarship to enter Vantage College,  she started her journey toward her UBC degree with a heart full of excitement.

Though there were occasional pangs of homesickness, Tsewang soon got to know people at Vantage College, which made the transition to life at UBC much easier.

Her advice for dealing with homesickness and adjusting to life in Vancouver as an international student is simple.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone has their own experiences and different skills. Some are shy. Some are confident. Don’t be afraid to get help when you’re in need, because there are resources,” says Tsewang.

Tsewang credits her academic advisor, Wendy Brett, with helping her figure out her timetable and giving her feedback on ideas and options that Tsewang has available to her.

This year, Tsewang, now studying chemistry, life science, and environmental studies, is a peer mentor with Vantage College’s peer mentorship program, which gives Vantage One students the opportunity to learn from and be mentored by an upper-year UBC student who was once a Vantage One student.

Tsewang’s main piece of advice for all incoming students?

“Do all the work on time rather than procrastinate… Have fun but don’t procrastinate too much!”

This is the first in a series of posts about the peer mentorship team of 2019-2020. Stay tuned to meet the rest of the peer mentors for Vantage One!