“It meant the world to me”: How the Blue & Gold Bursary changed one student’s life

“It meant the world to me”: How the Blue & Gold Bursary changed one student’s life

Dominica Patterson was one of the first students to receive support through the Blue & Gold Bursary. Thanks to donors, instead of spending the February reading break working and paying off bills, she was able to travel to New York for a conference, where she made some potentially life-changing connections.


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“One of my dreams is to do an internship at the United Nations,” Dominica says. “That is how I can start to translate what I learn into action. Attending the conference allowed me to make connections at the UN, which has helped bring my dream closer to reality.”

Dominica’s interest in international relations began before she came to UBC, with a volunteer trip she took to Benin, West Africa. She says the trip “shocked” her. Rather than being a regular volunteer journey, the visit to Benin showed her the potential dangers of foreign aid if it is not done with proper consideration of local cultural and historical structures.

“Ever since then, international relations has been my passion. I want to use what I learn at UBC to make a difference in the world—donors have helped prepare me to do just that.”

Without the bursary, Dominica says she would not have been able to go to the conference in the first place.

“It meant the world to me. As a student, finding the balance between earning a living and doing well academically is difficult. You always feel like you’re making a choice between working extra shifts and getting a really good grade. I was lucky to receive the bursary. But I know many students are struggling with the same balance.”

Recently, Dominica has also been volunteering closer to home, supporting migrant workers in the Okanagan valley who are experiencing hardship. This experience has shown that international issues can also play into situations that are much closer to home.

“I have found myself very involved with migrant workers through the temporary foreign worker program. I definitely could see myself working as a human rights lawyer helping to fight for change on behalf of communities like this. That is a path I’m seeing myself more and more leaning towards.”

Dominica’s story is a demonstration of the impact that a community of donors can have. By coming together to support the Blue & Gold Campaign for Students, donors have helped Dominica make that extra step and start laying the foundation for a career. Supporting students like Dominica means helping them gain the skills and networks they need to access careers in which they can then make an impact in other people’s lives.

“My education has completely changed my perspective on life, “says Dominica. “Every year my knowledge has grown and now I’m hungry to make a difference. The support I’ve received has helped me connect with the real world, and lean into my career ambitions while still at school.”

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