When Surrey native Aarondeep Bains was accepted into the UBC Go Global program and received the Hugh M. Brock Education Abroad Scholarship, he couldn’t wait to go to Paris.
“I attended the Institute d’Etudes Politiques, which is known as Sciences Po, for my third year,” he says. “I was able to study in English, but of course I was living in France. Being on exchange teaches you how to fit in better in another culture.”
Sciences Po is one of the most prestigious universities in France, with a relatively small student body and a very competitive admission process. One of its strengths is the high percentage of international students: four in ten undergraduate students come from outside France, representing 60 different nationalities.
Aarondeep threw himself into the international student community right away. “I made friends with people from every continent except Antarctica,” he laughs. “I met so many different people, and I’m still friends with most of them.”
With a goal of studying law back home in Canada, Aarondeep worked hard at Sciences Po. “I knew that my transcripts would be included in my law school applications,” he says. “Knowing that the Hugh Brock Education Abroad Scholarship was helping pay my tuition took care of some of the money stress.”
Hugh Brock left a gift to UBC in his will, and when he died in 1990 scholarships for exchange students and for students entering first year at UBC were established. His legacy has created educational opportunities for hundreds of UBC students on campus, and in countries in almost every part of the world.
Being on exchange transformed Aarondeep‘s academic goals. “Before I went on exchange, I had a businesslike attitude to my education. I wanted to get it done and get a good job. When I went to France, I really began to enjoy academic life, pursuing learning for its own sake. It opened up new opportunities for me and gave me ideas for a different future that the one I thought I wanted.”
“The other important thing I learned on exchange was to stop being so Vancouver-centric. I now want to do more work internationally rather than staying at home. I have an international network and I want to make the most of it.”