Originally from Kingston, Ontario, Matthias is a third-year Bachelor of International Economics student with a keen interest in public policy. During his degree, he has pursued two co-op terms; his first with Environment and Climate Change Canada, and second with the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in New York City.
What was your role at the co-op workplace?
My day-to-day can include attending meetings, drafting reports, supporting the organization of events, and working on projects related to Canada’s campaign for the United Nations Security Council.
How has the co-op enhanced your studies?
Being exposed to so many high-level discussions on a wide range of topics has allowed me to appreciate the foundation studying economics provides me to think critically about policy discussions. For example, the economic theory behind the economic development practices we have started learning about in the classroom has allowed me to more quickly understand individual cases related to the idea that economic insecurity is the root cause of many challenges in the global south.
How did your classroom/faculty experience at VSE help add value to your job?
My classroom experience provided me with the background knowledge in economics to understand the underlying challenges that cause many of the problems discussed on a day-to-day basis at the UN. Without the background knowledge in economics, I would have not as quickly picked-up on discussions.
What was your overall experience in the co-op program?
My overall experience has been extremely positive. The co-op advisors provide great advice to help you advance in your career, while also providing you with the flexibility to navigate your own experience.
Any advice for future students?
Ensure you take advantage of the opportunities UBC and VSE provides you to build yourself holistically. Academics should be your primary focus, but if it becomes your only focus, you risk missing out. In the same vein, be sure to challenge yourself academically, professionally, and socially. Grades are not the be-all-end-all; my transcript is by no means stellar.
To learn more about co-op at UBC, click here.