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How a Vantage graduate made Vancouver her home

Abby Bu loved the look of the UBC campus before she arrived from China to begin her degree at UBC Vantage College.

Beautiful and welcoming, the pictures that Abby found online were enough to convince her that she would love attending UBC, even if there were multiple barriers she needed to overcome, including her English language skills.

She had never visited the campus but, at the age of eighteen, Abby found herself travelling from Kunming, China to Vancouver. UBC Vantage College would give her a strong support network that would help to bolster her English language skills—the perfect place for her to begin her degree at UBC.

Abby made friends during JumpStart with peers of different backgrounds and nationalities. Socializing with people of different backgrounds is key, sayd Abby. She found that “learning about diverse problems takes you out of your comfort zone.”

With the help of her academic English instructors, peers, and Google Translate, Abby made Vancouver her home.

“I would use Google Translate when I was getting groceries and visiting the bank. Having Google Translate helped me learn the vocabulary I needed.”

Becoming more fluent in English was only the beginning. At UBC, she found herself challenged to grow and be more outgoing. Now, having helped incoming first-year students as a Vantage peer mentor and orientation leader, Abby has built a community around her that has supported her throughout her years at UBC.

Abby’s favourite class in first year was psychology with instructor Mark Lam. Though she ended up majoring in economics rather than psychology she found Lam’s class very informative as it gave her a better perspective of different problems. Again, it took her out of her comfort zone, which Abby emphasizes is essential to learning.

Abby is now in her fourth year of studies in economics at UBC.

“I learned how to help other people and this gave me perspectives of what other students were facing in their own lives, and the challenges they had. I learned how to support them in their journey,” says Abby. “My classmates and I provided support to each other. I’m still friends with a lot of my friends from Vantage.”