Meet Our Cultural Assistants!
Our Cultural Assistants (CAs) are friendly and energetic UBC students who help ELI students adjust to life away from home.
They do everything from help you make new friends, teach you about Canadian life and customs, to organize clubs and social activities. They might even join you in the classroom from time to time. Perhaps best of all, you can practise English with your CAs – the kind of casual, everyday English you won’t hear in class.
Josie Kanu is a biology major. She likes spending quality time with friends, trying new things, exploring Vancouver and reading. She loves being involved on campus and is part of the UBC Reading Week Peer Program. One of her favourite things is watching TV and getting swept up into whole new worlds filled with fictional characters and interesting plots.
Titani Sumaisi is a second-year biology major who enjoys dancing and practicing yoga. In her spare time she likes to hang out with friends, watch tv series and YouTube videos. If she is not doing any of this, she is taking a nap.
Tiffany Cheng studies sociology and family studies at UBC. She likes to discover new places by travelling and exploring the world. She is interested in learning new languages and different cultures. Feel free to say hello and chat with her when you see her on campus.
Maryo Wahba is a first-year student intending to major in international relations and minor in sociology. He was born and raised in Egypt and did his high school in Germany, and has travelled a lot around Europe. Following his passion for community involvement and politics, he is currently the Arts Undergraduate Society First Year Representative for 4,000 students. When not studying, Maryo likes to go dancing, direct theatre plays, or watch movies or interesting videos. He also likes to listen to other peoples' stories, and he invites you to share yours.
Aashim Aggarwal is a business major specializing in marketing. He is also a student at the UBC Farm, where he’s learning about and practising sustainable agriculture. Originally from India, and having grown up in a diverse Toronto community, Aashim loves learning about different cultures, especially through sharing food. He’s also a huge basketball fan and dreams of travelling the world. He really wants to hear about your culture and stories as well, and tell you where all the good food is to be found in Vancouver!
Ahmed Hussein is a Yemeni Kenyan student aspiring to major in economics and political science. Ahmed was born in Nairobi, Kenya then moved to Italy, where he spent two years in the seaside city of Trieste where he completed his high school diploma. At UBC, he has enjoyed meeting new people and exploring the best sites in Vancouver. He enjoys going to the beach, going to the movies and chatting with friends. He also enjoys tasting food from different cultures as well as learning new things about them. You can find him at Tim Hortons with a large French vanilla and Timbits.
Fainess Mwakisimba is a student in the faculty of science and is interested in majoring in biochemistry. She is passionate about health and medical sciences and hopes to use her degree in biochemistry to help identify the many causes of the incurable diseases in her country, Tanzania. She is also an advocate for women empowerment and equal rights. She is a jovial person who enjoys people’s company.
Hannah Edward has lived in Surrey, BC for all her life. She is a student in the UBC Faculty of Arts, and is planning to major in international relations or political science. She likes learning about the negative effects of consumption and encourages the preservation of world culture. Her passion is playing and watching rugby, and would like to coach. Hannah also loves all kinds of art, from drawing and painting to pottery. She is extremely curious and loves expanding her knowledge through conversations with others.
Nicki Adle is a science student majoring in biology and potentially minoring in creative writing. She hopes to focus on health services in her studies. Outside of school, she enjoys travelling, reading, skiing, fencing, scuba diving and relaxing.
Portia Kuivi is a psychology major with a focus on developmental and clinical psychology, and hopes to minor in commerce. With her degree, she would like to provide children with quality childcare services regardless of their background. Portia enjoys watching movies, cooking and eating. She also loves to visit new places and try new things – if you have any ideas for fun activities, please tell her!
Sam Stouten is studying social work at UBC and hopes to integrate her passion for the arts into her practice with queer and racialized youth. She grew up in suburban Port Coquitlam, BC, but has family all over Vancouver and in the Philippines. She is a local music enthusiast and a novice screenwriter. You can find her playing with her band "If Not, Winter" or looking for good eats across Vancouver!
Tamara Baunsgaard is a student in the Bachelor of International Economics program. Born in Jerusalem, she has lived in different parts of East Africa and North America. Tamara loves to travel in different cities, explore the outdoors and try new foods. She is passionate about race and gender issues, the environment and good food. You will most likely find Tamara out in the sun drinking black coffee, listening to music or searching for what to eat next.
Xiluva Hill is a psychology major hoping to also either major or minor in international relations. She was born and raised in Mozambique, and spent seven years in Swaziland for secondary school. Xiluva is passionate about psychology, social justice, meeting new people and learning about different cultures. In her free time, you will find her reading a book, watching Netflix, talking (probably about social justice), listening to music or exploring on her bike. She loves talking and answering questions, and would love to meet you!
Adithya Vishnu Kumar is a behavioural neuroscience major (looking to minor in chemistry) in the Faculty of Science who hopes to work as a clinical psychologist in the future. He was born in India, but has lived in Indonesia for the 19 years of his life. He loves traveling internationally, reading works of fiction and has a huge sweet tooth that’s always looking for new confectioneries in Vancouver to eat at. He’s also obsessed with TV shows, and follows nearly 20 shows. You can usually catch him around campus either eating or running between buildings to avoid Vancouver’s dreadful rain (which he hates with a passion).
Tasnia Naim Anika is a second-year Chemical and Biological Engineering student hoping to minor in Creative Writing from the bustling city of Dhaka, Bangladesh. She enjoys reading and writing in her spare time, including learning new languages (she speaks 5+). Anika has been involved with music and dancing from a very young age and has also worked in the media in her country for over a decade. She loves traveling and meeting new people. After about the first few meetings, you'll know her great love and enthusiasm for Harry Potter and Star Wars among other fandoms.
Anishka Bhatia is a commerce student, hoping in major in finance. She let her curiosity about the world guide her learning; constantly finding ways to learn more, whether through art, culture, language or even textbook readings. She is very passionate about women's rights and considers herself a feminist. She like surrounding herself with nature and is thankful for the beautiful rain in British Columbia since she grew up in the dry climate of the Middle East. In her free time, you can find her hanging out at the Nitobe Gardens or watching the new rom-com on Netflix!
Jason Brown is an international relations major with a minor in law & society. Growing up abroad in Morocco, Uganda, and Mozambique, he enjoys traveling and interacting with people from various backgrounds. Jason is passionate about music, global affairs, snowboarding, sustainability and hopes to be traveling the world meeting people for the rest of his life.
Maria Lesyk is in her third year at UBC studying to be a French immersion elementary school teacher. She is a foodie, enjoys travelling, singing and performing, and being outdoors in Vancouver’s beautiful nature. Maria is passionate about saving the environment, and raising awareness for the importance of mental health. She loves dogs and animals and will always be willing to pet them! You can find her in a forest or by the beach on a sunny day, listening and signing along to her favorite music. Be sure to say hi if you see her around!
Simon Lam is a transfer student from Langara College and is focusing on an English Literature degree with a Creative Writing minor. His parents fled war in Vietnam and Cambodia to settle first in Toronto and then Vancouver, where the two started a family. As a result, Simon doesn’t know whether to root for the Maple Leafs or the Canucks (or neither!). He has lived in East Vancouver for the majority of his life—more specifically, he is a solid fixture in any old bookstore or public library, where he meticulously plans on becoming the next hot shot Hollywood screenwriter. If his aspirations fall through, Simon is more than happy in becoming an English teacher. Talk to him about writing, bad movies and the Asian-Canadian experience.