From UoB to UBC- a U21 fellowship blog


Home away from home

I’m taking a short trip to Vancouver Island and the city of Victoria. It reminds me of nothing so much as an English seaside town, really putting the ‘British’ into British Columbia.


Yesterday I met with Lisa Bronner, who helps international students at UBC feel at home through her work as an international students advisor. UBC has a very high number of international students, just as UoB has, and I was interested to find out some of the activities they can get involved with, including events to explore Vancouver. UBC has a beautiful campus but it’s away from the downtown area of Vancover, and it can be hard for students to find their feet in the wider city. As UoB has a similar location, I wonder if we should expand our campus tours to wider city excursions. Anyone fancy being a tour guide?

Today I visited colleagues at the University of Victoria to get a different perspective on researcher development. UVic is Canada’s largest provider of co-op programmes for postgraduates, which combine masters or doctoral research with paid, relevant work experience. This enables postgrads to develop professional and career competences, and well as seeing the impact their research may have in the wider world.

I also spoke with the Centre for Teaching and Learning about the LATHE programme of teaching development for PGTAs, a programme that emphasises pedagogical research as well as practical skills. They were also interested in our PGCARMS programme, so I told them a little more about it. Knowledge exchange in action!


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Step by step


Today I visited the beautiful Nitobe gardens on campus. The gardens are laid out in traditional Japanese design, and are said to tell the story of a journey. It’s up to the individual to decide if this is the journey of a day, a month, or a whole life. There are many different paths you can take, each giving you a new perspective on the garden as a whole.

The meetings I had today and yesterday concerned different stages of the postgraduate journey. They included orientation discussions to resume tutorials , via peer-led Research Commons workshops in the Koerner Library. Each activity is a different step on the path to a successful research degree.


First day on campus

After a weekend spent finding my feet in Vancouver, today was my first day on campus. I’d arrived right in the middle of Graduation, and there was a rather familiar feel of excitement and pride on campus as parents and graduating students gathered.

Also familiar? Turns out UBC has a clock tower too!


Not sure whether this one tweets like @oldjoeclock though.

Today I got an overview of the Graduate Pathways to Success programme from Jacqui Brinkman and chatted with Gillian Gerhard, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My favourite discovery of the day? The Grammar squirrelseries of videos. Maybe we could introduce a Grammar Swan….

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Early start

So, after a very early start (coach at 4:50) I’m down in London, checked in,through security and waiting for my flight. I have about an hour and a half to wait before boarding, but first, the important thing..



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One week to go!

This time next week, all being well, that is, I’ll be on the plane to UBC. The past week has been spent finalising the last details of my itinerary, making sure that I cover what I said I’d cover while still leaving time to say yes to unexpected things. I’ve also received my U21 report template, and instructions to take lots of photographs while I’m there. ┬áNow all I have to do is pack and choose my reading for the plane!