The Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society, whose programs are administered by the Victoria Foundation, hosts a suite of international scholarships designed to support students from BC in studying abroad.
The Premier’s International Scholarships, ranging from $6,000 to $10,000, are available for exemplary students at BC public post-secondary institutions who are studying or working abroad for a semester or more. For more information about available scholarships, please visit www.ikbbc.ca.
Julia Ufimzeff, a recipient of the Premier's International Scholarship, shared this letter about her experiences abroad.
As a recipient of the 2013 Premier’s International Scholarship, I would love to thank the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society for the opportunity of a lifetime. In the fall of 2013, I was extremely blessed to be able to participate in a study abroad exchange semester to Vienna, Austria. Through the partnerships that Okanagan College has acquired, it was an eye-opening experience to be able to attend a post-secondary school in Europe, an experience that will never be forgotten.
Because of the scholarship I received, I was able to experience this study abroad semester to the absolute fullest. The scholarship enabled me not to worry about finances, and allowed me to enjoy what Europe had to offer. Through this exchange, I was able to explore 12 countries and see how each country had a completely different culture from one another. Everything from how they did business, to what people’s attitudes were towards different things life threw at them, to how they viewed change, got me to thinking about the similarities and differences between Canadians, comparing to every individual country I was able to visit. It pushed me to think about how I could personally adopt various aspects from different cultures, to use these experiences and what I’ve learned to bring a fresh mindset back into Canada.
The schooling that was offered in Vienna has been one of the greatest highlights of my post-secondary education. Being able to take courses that are not offered at the institute I am at now was wonderful. There were many courses available that I have always wanted to learn about here, but was unable to because of limited course selection. Because they had classes aimed for learning about international studies, there were opportunities to take courses about international business, globalization, and the option of doing business in foreign markets. As a business student, one of the most helpful things was to be able to take our new business knowledge, broaden our horizons, and be able to take this learning back with us so in the future we could be knowledgeable and know how to go about furthering international business.
Through the exchange, I was able to learn German, a language I have never had any previous experience in. It was so rewarding to learn something, and immediately be able to use what we’ve studied, and be able to communicate with locals, absorb a greater sense of the culture, and continue to develop and continually grow our newly gained skills. Furthermore, the exchange gave me an opportunity to meet hundreds of people from all over the world, learn about many different cultures and lifestyles, have a greater understanding of our own Canadian culture, pick up many new skills, discover more about myself, and create life long connections.
I cannot thank the Society enough, for giving me the chance to be a part of something that was so incredibly life changing. You’ve given me the opportunity to grow into a new character that inspires to see more of the world and bring these fresh concepts back into life in Canada. I’ve made connections internationally, and will be able to use these networks and experiences to professionally further myself in both my personal, and career goals. Thank you to the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society for supporting one of the greatest learning experiences that any person could have.