Letter from the President of UBC-GSS

Dear Chinese graduate students,
Greetings from the President’s office of your Graduate Student Society (GSS). I would like to first thank you for your involvmeent in the development of the GSS non-departmental graduate student group, and I would like to invite every one of you for further involvement in GSS endeavours.
Why would you want to get involved?
- increase confidence English speaking
- get professional experience
- make friends, networking
- increase Chinese graduate student contribution in UBC community.
- influence and enhance lives of international students
I immigrated to Vancouver 17 years ago from Taiwan. From my experience, Chinese in Vancouver really don’t have as many opportunities to practice English.  Many of my friends were here for more than 10 years but still barely speak English. For graduate students we have much better English exposure, but the few conference presentations just don’t do the trick. Even that I already lived in Vancouver for 12 years when I started of my graduate studies (5 years ago), I had absolutely no confidence in my English speaking skills. It is not until I get involved with GSS council and committees that I started to get exposure to fast, rigorous, and high level spoken English, and slowly became more confident and fluent in English speaking. At first, my hand shakes uncontrollably when I spoke in GSS council. Now, as some of you have seen me spoken in public, I myself could not even believe the improvement!
If I can do it, you can do it too!
Not only that, I can not tell you how many good friends from different cultures and departments I have made through the years. These friends made significant contribution to not only my personal growth, but also my research in unexpected ways. CGSA and CSSA are great places to network. However, let’s face it, Canada is still a white dominate community. If we want Chinese to be the indispensable and influential community of Vancouver, of Canada, we need to integrate, we need to contribute, we need to immerse and network with all different cultures. However, this doesn’t happen in one day. The big differences start with small steps. I see CGSA and CSSA as the driving force and GSS as the training ground to get us to a bigger common vision.
GSS is also a place where you can get professional experiences that you will never get in your graduate studies. Through the years I have learned human resources, union bargaining, auditing, finances budgeting, running high profile events, influence stakeholders, project management…you name it. Can you imagine how much better those experiences would make my CV look like to my future employer?
I want to share these opportunities with you, my fellow Chinese students. It saddens me when I see these valuable career enhancing opportunities are only accessible to only a few well connected individuals. I want all of you to have the same opportunities that I had. Therefore, I ask that you contact us, and find out what GSS can offer you!
Please drop Yunfei (vpservice@gss.ubc.ca) or me (president@gss.ubc.ca) a line and let us know what your interest are, what your career goals are, and we will figure out together on how GSS experience can help you to get to where you want to be!
Best regards,
Conny Lin, MSc.
Canada Graduate Scholar | Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Ph.D. Candidate | Neuroscience
University of British Columbia

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