Hello! My name is Sam Warkentin, and I am currently on my year-long exchange to the University of Victoria (UVic) from the University of Washington. Leading up to this experience, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I had traveled to other countries before but never lived in one for an extended period of time. In addition, UVic’s semester-based system and the classes I signed up for were going to be new experiences. This was exciting, but also provoked some nervous energy.
Once classes began, this nervous energy subsided as I was able to settle into the semester-based schedule. It helped tremendously from the beginning that I’ve been fascinated with my course work! Within my first semester, I took classes on Canadian Environmentalism, Ecological Restoration, Canadian Society, and Political Activism. One of the highlights of these classes was organizing a Political Action campaign with fellow UVic students around beach waste at Cadboro Bay, near the UVic campus. This semester-long project culminated with a presentation of our work within my Political Activism class, and many new friends from Canada!
This semester I am carrying on my study of Ecological Restoration, but also studying the Environmental Assessment process in Canada, Human Dimensions of Climate Change, and Chinese foreign policy. These classes have been fascinating and I am currently in the middle of many different projects. One of my favorite projects is researching Canada’s new Environmental Assessment Act coming into effect in 2019. This act changes the way large projects such as the Trans Mountain pipeline are approved or rejected, and it’s been amazing working with other students on understanding how this act alters large projects across many industries in Canada.
When not studying, I have enjoyed doing various activities in the greater Victoria area. One of my favorites is visiting the many beaches Victoria provides. I also enjoy playing golf at various courses in the area. Victoria has many great golf courses, and I have been able to play a few. One of my favorites is Cedar Hill Golf Club, a fifteen minute drive from campus. In addition to the golf course, Cedar Hill has many walking and biking trails that I have gotten to enjoy.
With just under two months of school to go, I have had a very fulfilling experience at UVic. One of the main observations I have made is how welcoming UVic, and Canadians in general, have been throughout my experience. I have also noticed how engaged Canadians are with both world politics and politics within the United States. This interest in being global citizens, welcoming of all cultures, is something that has shone through to me throughout my time in Canada.
I look forward to continuing my studies at UVic, and for providing another update in the near future. Go Vikes and Go Dawgs!
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.