Student Profile: Vantage One Engineering Alumni Berti Argun

In this student profile interview, we spoke with Berti Argun, a recent UBC Alumni originally from Turkey who completed his first undergraduate year through the UBC Vantage One Program in 2018.  

As a Vantage College Entrance Awardee, Berti has expressed out the Vantage One program helped him transition seamlessly into his second year. Along with numerous awards and scholarships, Berti ultimately graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Integrated Engineering, specializing in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering with Distinction. 

Berti currently works as a Mechatronic Test Engineer in a surgical robotics company in North Vancouver, building the future’s robots for hospitals and patients. 

In our conversation, Berti talks about his experience at UBC Vantage College, his time at UBC over the course of his undergraduate studies and how he transitioned into a full-time job after graduation. 

Can you talk about why you chose to study at UBC and tell us a little bit about your degree? 

I always wanted to study abroad and two countries that I had in mind were the UK and Canada. After getting accepted to various schools in both countries, I have decided to come to UBC for its reputation and I also got the International Major Entrance Scholarship for the duration of my degree which helped me pay for most of my tuition! 

Can you describe how Vantage College works in your own words? 

In my perspective on comparison of the education system, Vantage College is equivalent to the first year UBC program with enhanced English-language learning skills being embedded into its courses. 

How did you find out about Vantage College and why did you choose that path? 

I found out about Vantage College through the same resources as I found out about UBC. The reason I chose Vantage was purely related to my English-language skills not being good enough to get into the UBC Engineering program at that time. You still need to be competent in your engineering skills to get into the Vantage Engineering program similar to UBC first year Engineering. 

What was the most valuable aspect of your experience at Vantage College? 

I was still being part of a UBC first-year program while I was actually in the Vantage College program. I did not feel isolated from socializing with other people on campus where I had worries about it when I decided to join Vantage College. 

What was one of the biggest lessons you learned as a UBC student as you progressed in your studies? 

Nothing is set in stone. Things can vary and you need to learn how to adapt in different cultures, environments and situations. This can be applied to both positive and negative things, but you need to learn how to adapt and change when the time comes and be ready for all the challenges. 

How did you find the transition from being a UBC student to having a full-time job? 

It was hard. After COVID, our family business failed and being an international student without having support from your parents is one of the toughest things I have faced so far. I was required to pay the rest of my international tuition and my personal expenses when I started my third year. 

But the good side is, I have gained lots of experiences such as being a Teaching Assistant for almost one and a half years, and being a Research Assistant for 8 months at UBC. Those skills helped me to get more internships and then eventually helped me to get my current job which is being a Mechatronic Test Engineer in a surgical robotics company. 

What advice would you give to your first-year self with the experience that you have now? 

You need to learn how to deal with everything alone one way or another. This is part of being an international student and it may seem to be a tough challenge, but eventually that’s the part that makes you stand out from the rest once you are done with your degree.