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Unexpected international friendships – Corbett scholar Vinnie Glaser

Corbett scholar Vinnie Glaser with his roommates and friends from the University of Victoria. Photo credit: Vinnie Glaser

March 21, 2019

My time in Victoria began around six months ago and each day has been nothing short of remarkable. Having studied computer science at both the University of Washington and the University of Victoria, I can confidently say that UVic’s computer science program is undeniably quality by anyone’s standards. I have taken a wide variety of computer science courses here and have had the pleasure of being taught by some of the finest professors I have had to date. Most notably, if anyone reading this post happens to attend UVic and is thinking of taking computer science courses, I highly encourage you to take any courses being instructed by professor Bill Bird; you will leave lecture with an excellent understanding of his content and a smile on your face from his witty anecdotes. Besides computer science, I’ve been lucky enough to take a selection of extracurriculars, from Germanic Myths and Fairytales, to Writing 109, a class about Pixar movies.

Photo credit: Vinnie Glaser

While my academic experience in Victoria has been superb, it is not the focus of this blog post today. Instead, I wish to focus on the plethora of relationships I have been blessed with over the past six months. I arrived in Victoria with a cliche nervous excitement at the thought of studying in a (relatively) foreign country for a year. My first year at UW,  I opted to live in a triple room, meaning that I lived in a space that was around 250 square feet and slept about five feet from each of my roommates. In Victoria, I live in a full size house that sleeps seven people. Needless to say, my first and second year living experiences have been quite juxtaposed by one another. When September 1st finally came around, I was greeted with open arms by my 6 roommates, some of which I had been acquainted with before, most of which I had not. Being a fairly introverted individual, the thought of moving in with a large group of strangers was definitely a cause for concern, but to my great delight, any nervousness I had was quickly expelled and nothing but excitement prevailed. I am honored to say that I live with six of the finest students that Victoria has to offer, including two business majors, a mechanical engineer major, a psychology major, a political science major and a kinesiology major. Living with a large and educationally diverse group of students has undoubtedly been one of the most enriching aspects of this entire experience. While I don’t have the luxury of being able to directly rely on them for help with computer science problems, they have been instrumental in diversifying my knowledge and way of thinking.

Photo credit: Vinnie Glaser

Furthermore, simply living with six others is a surefire way to progress one’s maturity into adulthood; conflict is bound to arise when navigating and intertwining your life with such a large group of people. On a more personal level, the experience of living in this house has taught me the importance of understanding and compromise with those that you love, because the only alternative is vitriol and an unhappy house. I’m glad to say that our house is in fact not vitriolic and unhappy, but instead we have managed to all coexist in bliss and take comfort in this makeshift family we’ve created around one another.

While Canadians may just be our neighbors to the north, the one thing I’ve learned above all else through this experience is that regardless of where you are or who you’re with, people are people. Their money may look a little silly, and their emotions tend to run a little high when it comes the Canucks, but after living with Canadians for the past six months, I can confidently say that they are some of the most admirable people I could of asked to be with. I would like to extend my most warm and sincere thanks to the Corbett family for making this experience possible. Mr and Mrs. Corbett, you have gifted me with an experience that has filled me with a lifetime of enjoyment.

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.