I love the Canadian Studies program because it has allowed me to pursue study across a multitude of disciplines. The scope of my education across the subjects of history, political science and the arts has deepened my understanding and appreciation of the complexities of this country, our identity, our political system, and our past and future. It has been a genuine pleasure learning about Canada from UBC’s outstanding Canadian content professors and I find myself often using knowledge I’ve gained from my classes in everyday life. Getting involved with the Seed and the Canadian Studies Students’ Association has been extremely gratifying, and given me exciting experience in editing, project management and event planning. Lastly, the researching and writing skills one cultivates as a Canadian Studies student are invaluable tools which students can bring forward into many different career paths, particularly those interested in working in the public sector. My experiences in this department have helped me become the proud and capable co-op student I am today and I look forward to seeing what doors this program opens for me in my future endeavours.

Christine Primus, CDST Major 2016.


I have always been an information omnivore, and Canadian Studies fed my appetite for a broader understanding of this country. Canadian Studies widened my lens, and brought into focus people, places and things that shape me and surround me. I heard stories of Canada, not the Story of Canada. And in the process, I came quickly to realize that these stories aren’t the ones piled up in Social Studies texts and CBCheritage moments. The stories of Canada—past, present, and future—are fascinating, quirky and terrifying. Canadian Studies brought me to focus on one of our most important stories. It is a story that I continue to unravel in my study of Canadian Aboriginal Law and Indigenous Legal Traditions. It is, among other things, a troubling tale of colonial expansion, often at the expense of the longstanding political, legal and social institutions of indigenous nations. As a law student, I follow the rapidly changing legal relationship between indigenous peoples and the Canadian state. Understanding this story is essential if we are to effectively navigate and shape the future of the Canadian polity and legal order.

Alex Etchell, CDST student 2008, UVic Law 2013.

I was drawn to and enjoyed CDST because obviously I’m proud to be Canadian, but I think there is a lot to learn about Canada. There are many aspects of Canadian history and government policy which are well-hidden, and that the average ‘Joe Canada’ won’t learn about through the public school system. I think that becoming aware of some of the negative aspects of Canada’s past helps to better understand the workings of Canadian society today, and the issues that some Canadians face as a result of our history. It helps you to know how and what to be critical of when new government policy is instated. I found CDST to be inspiring, and it is because of this program that I have realized that there are countless opportunities, causes, and organizations that I can get involved in to promote change for the better in Canada today.

Meg Burns, CDST Major 2009—enrolling at BCIT in 2010 to study Sustainable Interior Design.

Canadian Studies has allowed me the freedom to choose any course with Canadian Content and pick classes from many different disciplines. It has also helped me answer the question, “What does it mean to be Canadian?” (and no the answer is not hockey!).

Maddie Plottel, CDST Major 2011.

Currently, I’m working with a consulting company doing social impact assessments and First Nations Consultation, generally as part of theBC Environmental Assessment Process. The Canadian Studies program at UBC allowed me to combine my interests in society, history, and politics, to give not only a broad understanding of issues in Canada’s varied landscapes, but also allowed me to approach a question from multiple perspectives.

Because the Canadian Studies program is flexible, I was also able to do a double major in sociology, which provided me with a strong theoretical base to guide my thinking. When you are studying Canadian Studies, one is often asked, “What kind of job will you get with your degree?” I am proud to say I apply my skills, knowledge, and way of thinking developed in my Canadian Studies program to my work, everyday!

Allison Takasaki, CDST/Sociology Double Major, 2008.

I never planned to study Canadian Studies when I enrolled at UBC but I am very happy to have found a discipline that is relevant to my everyday life. The flexibility of the Canadian Studies program allowed me to study a variety of disciplines, making me a more informed citizen on a variety of levels. Furthermore, as a graduating student, I am aware of the historical and contemporary challenges that many sectors of Canadian society face, and with that I am able to bring an insightful perspective to problem solving in professional environments. As a result of my degree in Canadian Studies with a focus on First Nations issues, combined with my co-op experience, I have been able to secure a position conducting historical research for the Federal Government after graduation.

Alison Atherton, CDST Major 2010.

I am a graduate student currently pursuing a degree in Archival Studies, with plans to establish a career in the arts/cultural heritage sector in Canada. My undergraduate coursework in Canadian Studies challenged me to engage critically and creatively with such issues/ideas as identity and nationalism, while the program’s interdisciplinary approach gave me the opportunity to explore my interest in working with Canada’s documentary heritage. The knowledge and skills I gained through Canadian Studies will undoubtedly inform my future work as an archivist in this country.

Sarah Rathjen, CDST student 2009.

I was first intrigued by the Canadian Studies Program at UBC due to its discussion of First Nations culture in relation to Canada, but quickly began to see how it linked all of my areas of interest and applied them to our country as a whole. Discussions within the Canadian Studies Program have very real implications, which I see the outcomes of on a daily basis. As I’ve begun building upon my professional experience in a number of Canadian museums and cultural organizations, I’m thankful to the Canadian Studies Program for giving me an arena to discuss and make connections between my areas of study and my professional experience, as well as giving me a deeper understanding of the very specific history which shapes the field I work in.

Jamie Witt, CDST student 2009, BA in Anthropology/First Nations Studies.

The multi-disciplinary nature of UBC’s Canadian Studies program has provided me with a strong and diverse knowledge base essential for my current work with the municipal government. As Tourism Communications Coordinator for Renfrew County, I require a range of analytical, organizational and compositional skills as well as a thorough understanding of issues such as: Canadian tourism, Canadian history and social history in the Ottawa Valley, intergovernmental relations, Canadian geography and environmental issues, Aboriginal rights and the history of Aboriginal relations with federal and provincial governments, and Canadian economics. No other program would have provided me with such a well rounded set of qualifications.

Lauren McIllfaterick, CDST Major 2009. Communications Coordinator, Ottawa Valley Tourist Association.