Global Engagement Office

Engaging with the world beyond our borders
  • go global, student, hiking, field, mountains

About us

The Global Engagement Office (GEO) works to foster a global campus community where inclusiveness, equity, open-mindedness, curiosity, and humility are nurtured at home and abroad.

Through a collaborative approach, we create opportunities for all students to gain relevant international and intercultural experiences both at home or abroad, and for international students to access holistic supports throughout their time at UBC’s Okanagan Campus.

Hours of Service

Monday to Friday
8:30 am to 4:30 pm (PT)

Contact

University Centre (UNC) 227 *
geo.ubco@ubc.ca

Who we are

Events & Workshops

International mini calendar

See more UBC Okanagan Events

What we do

Offering comprehensive support for all UBC Okanagan students, GEO services include:

  • international student advising, safety, and support,
  • student mobility & international research (VIRS)
  • intercultural learning and faculty-led international programming for UBC Okanagan
  • student exchange and research
  • on-campus programming such as intercultural learning, professional development, language exchange, safety abroad, and post graduation transition programs
  • faculty-led seminars, partnerships, orientation and settlement sessions, and  summer programming abroad

Meet the GEO Team

As a proud alumnus of UBC’s Okanagan campus I was excited to return from studying and working in the Netherlands to join the Global Engagement Office at UBCO. Originally from Germany, I grew up moving a lot and have been fortunate to gain experience studying, living, and working internationally. I completed my Bachelors degree at UBCO in Political Science and History after transferring from FPU in California. I received my Master’s degree in International Relations with honours from the Universiteit Leiden in the Netherlands where I was a Nuffic Huygens scholar. I completed my doctoral studies at the University of Calgary with my dissertation and research focused on the internationalization of higher education and the nexus of government policy, immigration policies/programs, institutional programming, and international student career transitions.

Outside of my role at UBC, I am involved in volunteer community activities focused on topics related to equity/diversity and welcoming newcomers to the Okanagan Valley and an active member of the Central Okanagan Local Immigration Partnership Committee (COLIP). In addition, I am the Co-Chair of the Canadian Bureau for International Education’s Immigration Advisory Committee (IAC) and a consultant/instructor for the CBIE International Students and Immigration Education Program (ISIEP). Before joining UBC, I was at the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) with their International and Executive MBA programmes, and prior to that at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) in the Netherlands.

The team at the Global Engagement Office is here to support you throughout your studies and I encourage you to stop by our office, hang out and join some of our events and programming. If you aren’t sure where to start with your query, stop by our office and connect with our staff to get you started! I wish you all the best in your studies at UBC.

Dana Lowton, headshotI am in my 15th year with Go Global and have loved watching it grow over the past decade. I am a BA graduate from UBC Okanagan and an MEd graduate from UBC Vancouver and spent part of that degree in Copenhagen. I’ve recently completed my doctoral work with a focus in overseas short-term programs. I have a serious love of traveling, reading, and lifelong learning.

I have learned an incredible amount while abroad and I’ve taken quite a few solo adventures. I highly recommend traveling alone at least once as it squashes fears and will boost your confidence to continue exploring. I fully believe that studying overseas is what you make it, so go abroad with an open mind and say yes to experiences no matter how scary they might sound at first. Introduce yourself to new people and don’t hide in your dorm room!

I have a Masters of Arts from Carleton University with a specialization in Women’s and Gender studies (migration and diaspora). I have over 6 years of experience working in the field of human rights and migration policy. I have also completed a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Gender Studies from the University of Victoria. I manage the Intercultural Development Program at UBCO to provide intercultural training to students and staff on topics related to mental health, cross-cultural communication, social justice, and professional development.

I also work as an Intercultural Consultant across campus and within the broader Okanagan community to provide strategic direction on equity and diversity projects and publications. I am also a volunteer advisory board member of the Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and an Associate Lead of the International Network of Tomorrow’s Leaders (INTL) of the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE).
I am passionate about meeting and interacting with students from all over the world. I hope you have a successful academic year and I look forward to meeting you.

Born in India, I moved to Hong Kong at a young age. I lived there until I moved to Kelowna in 2015 to pursue my degree. I am a recent graduate of UBCO with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and a minor in English. Throughout my academic career at UBCO, I worked closely with both international and domestic students as a Virtual Jumpstart Leader, an Academic Assistant for the English Foundation Program, and a TA for both Anthropology and English courses. These positions, along with my own positionality as an International student at UBCO, allowed me to gain further insight into the needs and experiences of students, and helped me to realize my passion for connecting with and supporting students in Higher Education. I also worked with International Programs & Services to facilitate a workshop for the Intercultural Development Program that was designed to foster intercultural dialogues, promote better mental wellbeing, and identify cross-cultural and linguistic factors that contribute to student wellbeing.

Advocating for better mental health practices, as well as student and individual mental wellbeing, is something that I am passionate about. In 2019, I won the Undergraduate Research Award in order to conduct original research into how to facilitate better mental wellbeing in individuals living with trauma and anxiety, which I then went on to present at a number of conferences. Working in this position at GEO and being able to meet with students from all over the world is a dream of mine, and I look forward to meeting all of you!

Quin, profileI completed a Master’s of Education at UBC’s Okanagan campus and a Bachelor of Law at Northwest University in China. I have over six years of experience working with international students in both secondary and post-secondary schools.

I am familiar with the cultural adjustment process for international students and have extensive experience providing international student services, such as settlement support, personal issue support, health care advising, and connecting students with cultural activities and supports within the community.

From a very young age, I have been moving and travelling around the world. I was born in Iran but left as a young child. My family moved to Scotland, then to Canada. As a young adult, my travelling spirit continued to spur me on. I started my undergraduate degree at Okanagan College in Kelowna (before there was a UBCO), but then completed it at Sonoma State University in SanFrancisco. I travelled to China as part of my undergrad program. My student experience was so incredible there, that I returned to China, after I was married, and we lived, worked, and raised a family there for the next 19 years.

After returning to Canada in 2012, I began a position as an International Student Specialist at the University of Alberta. I became a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant in 2014 and have been working to support international students through their journeys ever since. I am a keen advocate for international students. My passion is to see international students thrive!

I am so pleased to be part of the UBCO Global Engagement Office and bring my expertise in supporting international graduate students and their families.

Matt Harling, pictureAs a (normally) frequent traveller and dual-citizen of Canada and the United Kingdom, I am well aware of some of the unique challenges and obstacles that students may encounter both when considering whether to go and while on exchange. Having completed two degrees at UBC Okanagan (BA and BEd), I know how easy it is to find reasons not to go on exchange and am passionate about encouraging students to take advantage of the opportunity to go on exchange while they can (speaking from experience of someone who did not take the opportunity to go abroad and regrets it on regular occasion).

My goal as your Go Global Advisor is to help you have the best exchange experience possible while ensuring you meet all requirements for graduation. No matter where you decide to Go Global, it is a life-changing decision that you will never regret in life!

I recently completed my Masters of Business Administration, and when I’m not head deep in work or study, my passions include travel, playing & watching football (soccer), supporting Liverpool FC, and continued learning and development.

I have been serving UBCO’s international student community since 2017 through a variety of positions within the realm of international education. I hold a Bachelor of Arts with a specialization in International Relations from UBCO, and have recently completed UBC’s certificate program in Immigration Law & Policy. During my time as a UBCO student, I had the opportunity to pursue an international exchange at Sciences Po (Paris), where I gained firsthand insights into the experience of international students.

I am also fluent in French, have intermediate proficiency in Spanish, and am working towards reclaiming my mother language (Brazilian Portuguese). I have a history of international travel and volunteering across five continents and enjoy connecting with and supporting students in any way possible throughout their academic journey. I look forward to meeting you and learning with you during your time at UBC.

Originally from Singapore, I moved to Canada in 2018 to pursue an undergraduate degree at UBC Okanagan. I am currently in my fourth year in the Bachelor of Management program and am pursuing a minor in Computer Science. Throughout my time at UBC Okanagan, I worked closely with international and domestic students as a Teaching Assistant in the subjects of Computer Programming, Statistics, and Management Thought and Social Responsibility. I also worked as a Research Assistant for Dr. David Walker from the Faculty of Management on one of his research projects involving Human Resources.

Besides this, I worked closely with UBCO JDC West, serving as VP Marketing and Finance in 2020 and Co-Captain in 2021. I represented UBCO in the 2020 and 2021 JDC West business management competition in the International Business discipline. I also organized many social events for students and contributed many hours helping the community and raising funds for the less fortunate. Finally, I am thrilled to continue supporting UBCO students and I welcome any questions from campus partners or students.

Being a student is an interesting part of your life – it is exciting, it is difficult and it’s a time where you learn so much about who you are. A lot of my understanding of self-developed during this time in my life. I am an immigrant and a child of immigrant parents, I identify as South Asian, Canadian, and Muslim (to name a few of my intersecting identities). There are many ways one understands themselves and the world around them. Navigating your educational life can be stressful, confusing, and absolutely wonderful and I’m here as support through that journey.

I received my Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology from Simon Fraser University (SFU). I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor and a Canadian Certified Counsellor.

I have worked with UBC-V Counselling Services, UBCO Health and Wellness, and Student Assistance Programs where I’ve supported students experiencing a wide range of concerns that include anxiety, depression, suicidality, romantic relationships, familial relationships, identity questions, chronic illness, and academic goals/achievements. I have also spent time as a caseworker working with refugees in the Lower Mainland, emotionally supporting them and working with them to navigate Canadian life.

I work from a Relational Cultural Theory approach which is grounded in Person-Centred values and allows for multicultural work. I enjoy getting to know people through their identity, their relationships, and the broader culture they identify with in ways that are meaningful to the core concerns they want to address in our work together. I identify as a Muslim and for clients desiring faith-based sensitivity in their therapeutic work, I can offer a Muslim perspective.

(Currently on leave)

I completed a Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology from City University of Seattle, and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law & Psychology from De Montfort University in England.

I have over a decade of experience working as a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) in a variety of different settings, with people of all ages from all around the world. I appreciate that sometimes in our lives, particularly as a student, we may experience a diverse range of challenges, which can transform our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This has the ability to create a sense of uncertainty, leading us to believe that life is unchangeable. I provide compassion and establish a positive therapeutic relationship with all students, to help overcome these challenges. My approach to supporting students is based upon creating a safe, trusting, collaborative relationship, regardless of age, culture, or religious background. Students will be supported and provided with strategies to overcome any difficulties that may be interfering with their academic success.

I invite you to come speak with me to learn more about counselling services. I welcome you to UBC and hope you have a successful academic fun-filled experience!

Meet Our student StafF

Intercultural Development Program

IDP Program Lead – Saher Ahmed

My name is Zoia and I am currently in my final year in the International Relations program. Having a Circassian background and being born and raised in Syria, I have learned the importance of developing a sense of cultural identity at a young age. However, my experience in an International school in Armenia has shown me that overcoming one’s biases about race, religion, and gender is a never-ending process. Although my future aspirations involve working in International Development Policy, I am passionate about intercultural and post-colonial thought with all the themes they encompass. As a part of this wonderful team, I hope to promote an inclusive environment in the UBCO community, where we could all learn and ‘unlearn’ together.

My name is Annia and I am a second-year student, working towards my Arts degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. I am originally from Peru but I have been lucky enough to travel through volunteering programs and conferences. Through these, I have been able to appreciate cultural diversity within Latin America and other countries that are vastly different from mine. Hence, I am now involved in the Latin American Student Organization at UBC Okanagan so that I can continue representing our culture. I am passionate about politics, cultural identity, and working towards providing equal access to resources and opportunities to others. I look forward to seeing how the Intercultural Development Program can inspire learning and discussions about current world topics!

Global Engagement Office (GEO) Ambassador Program Staff

Hi, I am Dilara and I am very excited to be one of your Off-Campus Self-Isolation Student Ambassadors!

I am half Romanian, half Turkish and I am currently in my fourth year majoring in International Relations and minoring in Politics. Besides passionately reading and engaging in international organizations, advocacy, war/conflict studies, and diplomacy, in my free time, I really enjoy baking, playing tennis, reading, traveling, and learning languages! I can fluently speak Romanian, English, Turkish, French, and German (kind of forgetting this one slowly) and I am currently learning Arabic and Spanish! So please never hesitate to talk to me in any of these so I can practice a little. I enjoy meeting new people and especially getting involved in the UBC student body and I can’t wait to get to know some of you and help you in any way that I can!

My name is Laavanya and I’m currently a 4th year BA Art History major, and Visual Arts minor.

I’m heavily involved in research into colonialism and post-colonial theories and am an avid book reader! I also cannot survive without music and is something that I need at absolutely all hours of the day. I love working out, and I spend nearly 2-3 hours in the gym, without a doubt. If I’m not busy in the gym or studying, I can often be found in the CCS darkroom developing film photographs because I’m also a photographer. I also love spending my time in downtown Kelowna at Pulp Fiction Coffee House drinking some of their amazing brews and catching up on research and reading. As an international student, I truly appreciate the home away from home that UBC Okanagan has provided me with, fostering a sense of community and diversity, and the friendships and family I built here at the University is one of the most fruitful experiences that I’ve ever had!

Hi, I’m Martin and I’m going to be your off-campus ambassador!

I will be heading into my final year of Bachelor of Human Kinetics with a focus on clinical exercise physiology. For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed sports and human movements but I believe kinesiology is so much more than that. Kinesiology has taught me the effects of exercising and has prepared me to help educate individuals on how to delay the onset of age-related diseases, secondary aging. Aside from pursuing my undergrad, I love to go on hikes and the gym. But I do have cheat days where I play Call of Duty and binge-watch movies with my girlfriend. If you ever need movie recommendations, I’m your guy. University marks a new chapter in everyone’s life, so I am thrilled to be your off-campus ambassador as I’ll be able to assist you in your new chapter.

International Project Team — Learning Resources

I’m Muskaan and I’m a 4th-year student majoring in Economics and minoring in Political Science in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. I’m an international student from New Delhi, India! I’m part of the Society of Scholars group here at UBCO, and it has been incredible so far! I currently work as a research intern with the International Organization of Securities Commission (IOSCO). It is an organization that regulates the world’s securities and futures markets. Additionally, I have worked an array of part-time jobs as a UBC peer staff member. I have been a Jumpstart & Create orientation leader, Destination orientation leader, Statistics Teaching Assistant and an Online Learning Coach. I have been a part of various clubs at UBCO like Relay for Life, Pre-Law, Peer Support Network, and Project Literacy! Apart from all this, I love trying new restaurants with my friends! To compensate for my love for food, I recently started running (it’s been so hard so far)! I also have a blog where I write articles about the plaguing issues in the world to express my opinions unapologetically. And, somehow even with a busy schedule, I always find time for Netflix!

Contact:

muskaan.srivastava@ubc.ca

Students can e-mail Muskaan for peer learning support, and can schedule an appointment during one of the timeslots below:

Mondays: 10 AM (PDT) -11 AM (PDT) (in-person or virtual options)

Thursdays and Fridays: 4.30 PM (PDT) -5.30 PM (PDT) (virtual only)

Appointments can be scheduled through QReserve

Hello friends, welcome to UBCO! I am Zainab Mohammad, a third-year student completing my Bachelor of Science, and I am majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology since I aspire to pursue medicine. I was born in Pakistan, but I moved to Canada with my family at a young age, initially to Vancouver but eventually we found ourselves in Kelowna, which I now call my hometown. Exploring Kelowna is one of my favourite pastimes! Also, I enjoy cooking various cuisines, attending to my little garden in my backyard, and photography. At UBCO, I am actively involved in the Chemistry Course Union as a tutor, and am a part of the Biochemistry Course Union executive team as well. I look forward to getting to know you, and to help enhance your experience at UBCO as you ease into this exciting new chapter of your life!

Contact: zainab.mohammad@ubc.ca

Students can e-mail Zainab for peer learning support, and can schedule an appointment during one of the timeslots below:

Wednesdays: 1 PM (PDT) -2 PM (PDT) (in-person or virtual options)

Appointments can be scheduled through QReserve