Profile of Virginie Fostroy

by Nishat Tasnim and Alviss Luu | April 7, 2014
Virginie Fostroy UBC International Scholar

Name: Virginie Yolande Fostroy Cornet d’Elzius de Peissant
Home: San José, Costa Rica
Program: Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science, Philosophy and Economics

Virginie Fostroy is a fourth-year International Scholar at UBC’s Okanagan Campus. She is a busy student, currently completing her Directed Studies thesis while working as a teaching assistant at the Language and Writing Centre. Ginny is part of the graduating class of 2014 and has exciting plans for her future. I spoke with her recently and asked about her UBC education. Our conversations spanned her Aristotelian worldview, the merits of an interdisciplinary degree, and her passion for developmental policy that promotes equality within minority populations.

Keep your fingers in a bunch of pies

Ginny has always been fascinated by Aristotelian ethics, especially the concept of eudemonia or “good spirit.” Ginny believes that “to live a complete life, you need to keep your fingers in a bunch of pies.” As a result, she has always wanted to know about a lot of things. “I think it makes for an interesting life and a broader knowledge base.” She is truly a citizen of the world, speaking four languages and bearing two citizenships. She is deeply interested in how governments treat people.

Don’t be afraid to try something different

When it came to picking her degree, she opted for a program that allowed her to choose a variety of electives to keep her interests alive. “If you are not enjoying a class, that’s not what you should be doing. So don’t be afraid to try something different,” she says.

Get involved

Ginny has been involved on campus since her first year at UBC. She has been a peer mentor with the First Year Experience Program and a Jump Start assistant with International Programs and Services. Now, she is in her final year and finishing up her thesis for her directed studies project. She is analyzing the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, focusing on how the commission impacts the lives of indigenous children in Canadian residential schools.

“I am naturally an empathetic person so the topic of my study resonated with me,” she said. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in South Africa by founding fathers President Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu after apartheid. It aims to reconcile people with conflicts that took place in the past in order to bring human rights violators to justice. “This project has expanded my knowledge base,” commented Ginny.

Pass on the knowledge

Ginny is a teaching assistant for a Spanish-language course and a writing tutor. “People ask me if I am majoring in Spanish and English, but that is not the case. I am interested in teaching and passing on knowledge,” she said. Ginny enjoys the dichotomy of being a teacher and a student, and she takes advantage of the broad opportunities for involvement on our campus.

Virginie’s UBC education has been influenced by working closely with her professors and taking a wide variety of courses in an interdisciplinary degree. It has also been shaped by her interactions with other students in her extracurricular involvements. She is an empathetic and open-minded individual with a passion for global citizenship and development policy. This International Scholar has a bright future ahead of her.

Photo credit Alviss Liu