International student Zifang Jiang finds life lessons in the classroom
October 30, 2017
Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)
BSc (in progress)
“Computer Science taught me to do things consistently, even day-to-day activities. I see the world so differently now.”
ZIFANG JIANG chose UBC’s Okanagan campus as an opportunity to experience something new.
Jiang initially planned to major in mathematics, but a computer science course challenged her to step out of her comfort zone.
“I was terrified about computer science, and was afraid I wouldn’t pass,” says Jiang, who won the prestigious Joseph Yu Global Leadership Award, which recognizes an outstanding female student from Asia entering her first year of a UBC undergraduate degree.
Through hard work and seeking help when needed, Jiang developed a deep interest in her unexpected discipline.
“Computer science started to become so fascinating to me. I was able to apply it to almost every thing. It taught me to do things consistently, even day-to-day activities. I see the world so differently now.”
In addition to a newfound interest in computer science, Jiang also discovered a new appreciation for language. She credits elective courses taught by English lecturer Shirley McDonald for improving her English writing, reading and speaking skills.
“Professor McDonald has made a real difference. Through her lectures on topics such as values, racism and prejudice, I have learned that English is just a tool. The most important thing that you exchange is the content.”
While Jiang admits the transition to Canada was somewhat nerve-racking, she praises new-to-UBC orientation programs for giving her a chance to prepare for the classroom, meet people, and make friends.
Now an upper-level undergraduate student, Jiang is giving back, volunteering as an orientation leader to welcome the next cohort of international students to UBC Okanagan.