Malaika Kapur on life at UBC

by Paul Razzell | April 11, 2014
Malaika Kapur international Scholar

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

Born in India, raised in Tanzania, and travelled to 22 countries around the world, it seemed natural for me to gravitate towards a university that provides a multi-cultural setting, cosmopolitan environment, and a thriving international community. UBC offers all this and more. From faculty calibre to syllabus choice to diverse activities to the beautiful picturesque campus to the scope to grow exponentially, UBC holds great promise for students with a passion to grow.

Although I didn’t have the opportunity to visit UBC in person before accepting my offer, I fell in love with photographs of UBC and Vancouver while I was studying at high school in Tanzania and felt as if I’d got a tour of this beautiful campus, I now call home, through the breathtaking pictures.

What were your expectations of life in Canada? Of life in Vancouver?

My expectations of Canada hinged on the wonderful experiences narrated by friends and family of the place and its people. To my mind, Canada was a “slice of heaven,” a country filled with awe-inspiring landscapes, grand vistas, very gentle people, a life of quality and enriching experiences, a place that is a treat for both the eyes and the soul! Of Vancouver, what seemed to suit me well (having grown in a tropical place, close to the Equator) was the fact that it had the best kind of weather in comparison to other cities in Canada.

I have to say that Vancouver has one of the best transportation systems I have ever used in any of the countries around the world, be it the Underground in London, the Subway in New York, the buses in Singapore or a train in Uzbekistan! With buses, SkyTrains, and cabs connecting across the stretch of Vancouver city and its suburbs, I feel so independent and free to commute at any time to any place.

I was also overwhelmed to see the great dignity with which the elder people in the city live and commute. Priority for senior citizens on buses, care taken by bus drivers to seat them and dog guides are pointers to a society that values human life. Pets, too, are high on priority and that is heartwarming!

To say that my expectations were all met, would be an understatement. Living in Vancouver has surpassed all my expectations and I live such a rich, fulfilling, exciting life that almost seems like a dream.

What were your concerns about studying abroad?

Growing up as a single child in an extended family and living with my parents and grandparents in a part of the world that is called the “developing world” did bring up concerns within our family about sending me off to a far away land almost 7,000 miles away from home! However, all our apprehensions were allayed upon arriving at UBC. From the friendly cheer at the Jump Start program, to the friendly professors and classmates, to the lively residence atmosphere, to the unwavering support of my mentor Peter Wanyenya and mostly, the contagious spirit of happiness on campus made me feel embraced into my new home away from home. In fact, when I go to Tanzania and India for holidays, I am ever so excited about getting back to my “home” at UBC!

What is the Tanzania Heart Babies project?

The Tanzania Heart Babies Project is a poignant story of the plight of Tanzanian children born with congenital heart disease. As a student initiative on campus, our aim provide a new lease of life to children with congenital heart defects in Tanzania by raising funds for their open-heart surgeries and create awareness about the urgent need for pediatric cardiac surgery facilities in Tanzania.

Tanzania Heart Babies Team UBC

The Everest Climb, #Neverrest campaign, highlights the potential that healthy people have to challenge themselves, both mentally and physically, in order to reach new heights. By raising awareness about the feat that good health can achieve, we aim to illustrate the urgent need for action in Tanzania for children born with congenital heart defects who require immediate paediatric cardiac surgery. We aim to actively engage the local community and create awareness while fundraising.

We leave for Nepal on May 1 and our adventure is from May 3 to May 21, 2014.

To follow and support us along our Everest journey, these are our various social platforms to check out! We will be uploading pictures and blogging throughout the trek.

Tanzania Heart Babies Project  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter

Would you recommend UBC to others? If so, why?

It is amply visible and evident that UBC has become not just my alma mater but also the springboard from which I have leaped into a glorious future!

I would say to all who are seeking a university for higher studies, that my life after enrolling at UBC is a reflection of what is possible to achieve in life. Sharing my own life-changing experiences at UBC would be the finest way to bring to light the truth that UBC offers not just an education, it gives you the best life you can have! When you choose UBC, you choose a better life!

From its diverse community, to its high standard of teaching, to the high caliber of faculty, to the plethora of activities to engage in, to the magnificent setting along the ocean, to the grand facilities of libraries, theatres, SUB building, lecture rooms, Rose Garden, Japanese garden, nature’s bounty prevails and so does the great spirit of joie de vivre that uplifts everyone who comes to UBC. UBC is a haven of opportunities. Knock and a door opens.

I firmly believe that UBC brings into the world a legion of committed world citizens, poised to be catalysts in the evolution of mankind, endeavouring to make it a brighter and happier planet to inhabit for all generations to come!