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Endless adventures in Vancouver – Corbett scholar Yana Natekina

Somewhere in the wilderness of Victoria. Photo credit: Yana Natekina.

July 23, 2019

It’s crazy to think that two semesters have come and gone at UBC Vancouver. Going on exchange through the Corbett Scholarship was one of the best decisions I have ever made. While living on campus at Walter Gage I had amazing opportunities to explore the serene nature of British Columbia. Impeccable views of the ocean were just a 10-minute walk away, Wreck Beach was a regular destination, and the sunsets of Stanley Park will always be engraved in my heart. It became clear to me very quickly that Canadians love and preserve their wildlife and nature as closely as—if not more so—than Washington state.

At first when I moved into my one-bedroom apartment and had no roommates I was a bit shy and nervous to step out of my comfort zone; it was my first time living alone in my life and I didn’t know what to expect. Fortunately, I made some incredible, lasting friendships and got to explore so many breathtaking destinations of “Beautiful British Columbia” not as a tourist, but through a Canadian resident’s perspective.

Vancouver, B.C. Photo credit: Yana Natekina.

I majored in Accounting and Finance at UW, so naturally I was drawn to the Sauder School of Business when I got to UBC. I signed up for courses that would help shape my understanding of the differences of the vast financial world in both Canada and the USA. I took real estate finance and investment theory which went hand in hand with what interested me living in Canada, as well as the aspects that really affect Canadian citizens on a daily basis. I gained so much understanding of how different the housing markets are compared to the U.S. and how commercial real estate plays an immense role in the continuous expansion of Vancouver and surrounding cities.

Canadian finance and investing also took me by surprise. I was relearning everything I thought I had known but with a different country’s policy and procedures. It fascinated me to engage in the processes of Canadian bonds and stocks and the overall investing world. It motivated me to take these attributes back with me to Seattle and apply them at a firm and my life as a business professional. Even though there was a lot I wasn’t used to at UBC, this experience added so much value to myself as an individual and my career. I strongly believe that getting out there and experiencing another part of the world really helps you understand your own small corner of the world.

Whistler, B.C. Photo credit: Yana Natekina.

While at the Sauder School of Business, I applied to the executive mentorship program and was paired with the CFO of a big Vancouver-based company. I gained so much valuable knowledge and insight from a Vancouver born-and-raised financial professional. We really connected and it helped me feel like I knew someone here in Vancouver. As a mentor and a CFA (chartered financial analyst) charter he encouraged me to take risks and pursue my dreams in also taking the CFA exam. He helped answer all of my questions regarding accounting and finance and the working atmosphere in Canada and other countries. I am very appreciative to have been given the opportunity to have someone walk me through my academic life here at UBC.

Some highlights of my time at UBC definitely include trips to Whistler. I grew up doing snow sports and having Whistler so was incredible. Every trip was so memorable and no matter how many times I go there I am taken aback by the breathtaking nature and vast mountains of Canada. I also took a trip to Victoria, which was nothing short of spectacular. We explored trails and beaches all day long, finding the most serene and untouched parts of the amazing island. We spent time downtown finding all the coolest shopping, cafes and—of course—the Parliament building (which I think should be renamed to castle). It was still too early in the season to visit the famous Butchart Gardens, but that didn’t stop us from finding adventure and having an absolute blast. There is something about Victoria that is so special, it’s hard to describe; you just have to go there.

Victoria, B.C. Photo credit: Yana Natekina.

Along with all the local parks, trails and viewpoints that were occupying my time in Canada were downtown strolls and nighttime shenanigans, endless studying and campus festivities—and I can’t forget the Canucks and UBC hockey games! I am most grateful for the relationships I made. The relationships with people, professors, and with the city of Vancouver. I feel like Vancouver is my second home now and I will never feel like a stranger when I come back to visit. I am grateful for the understanding I gained of the relationship between the U.S. and Canada, especially the within the Pacific Northwes. I am grateful for the people I met that also weren’t from Canada and got to experience the same realizations as me in this journey. Lastly, I am eternally and will always be grateful for the Corbetts and their immeasurable generosity. Their willingness to give students this experience, and genuine interest in the education of students and allows them to travel and live in these different places. You are shaping us, you are making a difference in the future generations and you are giving us understanding that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to obtain.

Thank you, thank you so, so much!

With love,

Yana Natekina

The Corbett British Columbia-Washington International Exchange Program Fund provides an opportunity for undergraduate students at the University of Washington to spend two semesters at the University of British Columbia or University of Victoria; and for students from the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria to spend three quarters at the University of Washington.