Student Type: International Scholarship Recipient

Makayla Zuberbier

I was born and raised in Surrey, BC and have always had a passion for music and writing. I love the joy of storytelling in both mediums, and the way they can convey emotions, ideas, and experiences. I considered pursuing a degree in music or writing at university, but ultimately decided to study business first, and circle back to the creative later. I enrolled in UBC Sauder’s business program, and quickly found I had an affinity for it. Halfway through my degree, my passion for the creative fields led me to having a conversation with a UBC Sauder alumni who worked in the film industry. The conversation inspired me. I realized the film industry could provide a wonderful avenue for my storytelling passions.

With the film studies courses at UBC reserved for people in that faculty, I explored the idea of doing a foreign exchange to gain my film education. I applied for the Premier’s International Scholarship and was overjoyed when I received the award! The scholarship allowed me to extend my degree and spend an exchange term studying at the University of Glasgow. The experience was incredible. Along with my studies, I was able to travel across Europe with friends I made abroad. A favourite memory of mine was visiting the traditional Christmas markets in Prague and soaking in their festive atmosphere.

The film studies courses in Glasgow were another highlight. My favourite class scheduled a three-hour session once a week that featured different speakers from all facets of the industry, ranging from film festival organizers, to Directors, Producers, and regulatory bodies. At the end of the course, our class visited the headquarters of BBC Scotland, where we toured multiple film sets and editing rooms. It was a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain, and a great way to end the course. My goal now is to work in marketing and distribution in the film industry when I graduate, and to help bring great stories to audiences around the world.

I am so grateful to the BC Scholarship Society for their support to pursue my dreams; and I heartily encourage anyone considering it, to apply for one of their scholarships.

Adventure is waiting, and fortune favours the bold!

Erica Vigneron

Over the past decade, I’ve dedicated my career to leadership roles in Human Resources (HR) across diverse sectors such as employment services, tourism, content marketing and manufacturing. Throughout this journey, my primary focus has been supporting not-for-profit organizations, where I have found immense fulfillment in helping others.

My post-secondary education began at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, where I discovered the field of human resources. It was during my first business class that I realized how I could connect my passion for helping others into a career. After four years of dedicated work, I graduated with honors, equipped with a degree in business management, and began my HR career in Vancouver.

One of my lifelong aspirations has been to study or work abroad, as I am passionate about travel. For me, it is not merely about exploration but an opportunity to step outside my comfort zone, embrace new challenges, and engage with diverse people and ideas. These international experiences have been profoundly humbling, offering me valuable insights into how different cultures perceive and analyze the world.

While completing my eighteen-month MBA at Royal Roads University, I learned that the International Business specialization offered a study abroad program at the Ecole Grenoble Management in France. My determination to undertake this endeavour led me to discover the BC Scholarship Society and its One World International Scholarship Program, for which my accounting instructor encouraged me to apply. A few weeks later, I learned I would be awarded the scholarship, enabling me to fulfill my dream of studying in Grenoble!

During my study abroad, one of the highlights was my innovation management course, which deepened my understanding of innovation practices, providing me with the knowledge to address pertinent issues and make well-informed business decisions. What made this experience even more remarkable was the opportunity to present my findings to a live client, bridging the gap between theory and practical application. Beyond academics, I was privileged to immerse myself in French food and culture, explore a new city, and build a network with current and former students. This experience has expanded my horizons and enriched my understanding of business and culture.  I extend my sincere gratitude to the BC Scholarships Society and its accessible One World International Scholarship Program for making this once-in-a-lifetime experience possible.





Linden Webster-Krist

I have had a passion for tourism and travel since I was 8 years old, when my grandmother flew me to music events in North America for my piano studies. Another thing that impacted me was seeing a small child being yelled at one day by his parents, for playing where he should not. I felt the violence in their communication. The pain of the child. The total breakdown in communication. Afterwards, my mother said something that stayed with me, “Hurt people hurt people”. And a seed grew in me from that moment. I wanted to help people find more effective ways to communicate.

I was also home-schooled for years when I was a kid. So, when I got into public school, I jumped into my studies and sports. I really enjoyed contributing to the culture and communication of the teams I played on. I was inspired to see if I could translate that love of travel, tourism, and team-play, into a career. But the cost of post-secondary education was intimidating, with tuition and rent. I applied and received financial Awards, scholarships, and bursaries, and they helped me finish high school. Then I applied for financial help again, to cover my costs to take the business course at Okanagan College in Vernon. Because, even though I was working three jobs, I still couldn’t make ends meet and afford college.

Then I learned about an amazing Services Design Course happening in Finland. I applied and received the One World International Scholarship from the BC Scholarship Society, which allowed me to travel to Finland and take the course. Which was amazing! I got to meet over two hundred people my age from twenty-seven countries around the world. The program lasted 3 weeks, and the courses were taught by some of the top professors in the world in their fields. That course, and my studies at Okanagan College inspired me. I learned the power of using a two-way communication model in presentations – my audience and I are learning from each other at the same time. To see things from another persons point of view. That training has lit a fire in me, to translate this in my life and work. To use these communication skills to foster dialogue and understanding. Make the world a better place. I cannot thank the BC Scholarship Society and its One World International Scholarship Program enough for opening the door to that experience in Finland for me. And I am excited to see where my journey takes me from here.

Gary Hayes


When I was two years old, my father suffered a traumatic brain injury. After that, I really had to learn how to meet him where he was at. I think that experience had a lot to do with my interest in working with people who face personal or social challenges. You really have to listen to people and understand the environments the exist within. Later, when my mom passed away when I was seventeen, I developed a passion for gathering images and memories using my video camera. Deep down, I had wished I had more memories of her; it was through this creative medium that I recognized the value or of storytelling and better understood the importance of emotion in media.

As a result, I enrolled in  Humber College’s film and television production program which eventually lead me to begin working for Discovery Channel Canada. I was coordinating international television programs, when my college friend Jacky asked me to create a trailer about the outdoor leadership camps he was running in Jamaica. Shortly after I became involved, we co-founded Zen’s Outdoor Leadership camp for Youth, a non-profit that offered service-learning programs. I soon realized I wanted to know more about how to analyze what we were doing and the impact it was having. To do this, I decided to return to school.

So, I enrolled in the Global Leadership program at Royal Roads University. As our small non-profit was looking to expand our programming, we learned about the devastating earthquake in Nepal, and their urgent need for educational infrastructure. We partnered with Open Learning Exchange (OLE), a social enterprise that designed interactive educational software to meet Nepal’s curriculum. We began working with two remote villages and, through our programs, trekked to deliver 18 laptop computers that contained educational software.

Right before COVID hit, we dissolved the non-profit, and I moved out West for my doctoral work. But as I was working on my doctorate, my former business partner asked if I’d like to return to Nepal. I was thrilled with the idea of following up on our work and reconnecting with the communities we had worked with for four years. I applied and was awarded the One World Scholarship; I felt incredibly grateful when I learned that I received the award. Now Jacky and I could return to continue what we started. We sponsored OLE who provided a 3-day training program. It was amazing to be so warmly welcomed back to the communities, and see how much English the students had learned. We brought 12 new tablets and OLE was able to update the software on the older laptops. I’ve got a great photo of one of the kids from Nepal. He’s working on a laptop for the first time, and his eyes are popping out of his head. That snapshot really says it all.

To people applying for a One World Scholarship, I would say make sure your interest goes beyond your own educational goals. That it has a meaning for your life and others. Because these things take time and planning to pull off. I didn’t want our Nepal project to be a parachute program. So the scholarship enabled us to follow up and build on our previous 4-year program.

My dream is to continue to be part of meaningful projects using the medium of media to help create change. The focus of my doctoral research examines how Documentaries, accompanied with co-created impact campaigns, can be used to affect social change  Tackling complex international initiatives will always be a challenge, but through a commitment to understanding new environments, sharing leadership, and scholarships like this, students have  opportunities to learn in relationship while working collaboratively toward positive change.


Anya Sass

“Be prepared to put in your all!” Studying human rights and refugee law in South Africa. 

“Global citizenship is about respecting and accepting differences while embracing shared humanity across all groups. This means embracing diversity and encouraging tolerance.” These inspiring words are from Premier’s International Scholarship awardee Anya Sass. A world traveler with a brilliant mind, an aptitude for adaptability, and an empathetic nature, the Alberta born powerhouse didn’t take long to find her calling in human rights. Currently, a Poli-Sci and Gender Studies double major at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Anya is studying, and soon to be practicing, human rights and refugee law. Finding her passion helped her to find her drive and being awarded the Premier’s International Scholarship has helped her get closer to achieving her goals, taking her places she had only dreamed of.

Originally from Calgary, Anya admits that her parents had a lot to do with broadening her perspectives and setting her on her path. Exposure to global cultures through extensive travelling with her family helped to open her eyes to the realities of a greater picture. “Calgary can be a somewhat insular place and can be quite conservative. Having opportunities to travel so much helped me see the world beyond boundaries or nationalities,” says Sass. As a budding global citizen, Anya spent much of her teenage years burning to travel more and sink her teeth into deeper, more meaningful experiences outside the confines of her high school and home life. So, once she graduated, rather than immediately apply to post-secondary and plow through a generic degree, Anya took her time to open her world up and explore the planet — and herself.

During those years abroad, Anya lived in Syria with her partner, just as the civil war broke out, changing her life forever. “During this time, after watching so many of my friends and loved ones leave the country as refugees, I became very passionate about refugee rights and immigration issues,” she remembers. “From there, I decided to pursue a career in law, with a special interest in pursuing refugee law.”

Armed with a new purpose, Anya returned to Vancouver, BC to begin her journey to becoming a lawyer. “I was really drawn to Simon Fraser University because of their history in political activism. The joint Political Science and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program really appealed to me and offered everything I wanted out of my academic experience. It encompassed a broad spectrum of politics and human rights with an intersectional approach to both.” But that was easier said than done. SFU required upgrades for acceptance, so she enrolled in Langara College and got to work. With determination and focus, after one year, she was accepted into SFU — this time with an entrance scholarship.

In addition to her studies, Anya got to work doing what she loved, helping newly arrived immigrants and refugees with English class activities provided by the Immigrant Services Society of BC. She also worked with the Muslim Food Bank to customize lesson plans that incorporated both English language activities and useful information for immigrants and refugees just arriving in Canada and worked with a group of 5 individuals in the Vancouver and Surrey areas to privately sponsor a refugee family to immigrate in Canada. Stimulated and doing her life’s work, still, Anya was ready to expand her horizons and pivot to study abroad.

Currently in her fourth year in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Anya with plans to graduate in June 2021. But, with help from a Premier’s International Scholarship, she’s not in Canada anymore. Anya is now studying at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. “Receiving the Premier’s Scholarship for my semester abroad in Cape Town was an important achievement for me. It gave me the opportunity to move to a city and country I have always wanted to know better,” Anya shares. “It was an extremely enriching academic opportunity to be able to study politics in a country that has a very interesting, complicated, and dark political history. My experience in South Africa also gave me extremely valuable insights into African feminism as they compare to those in western societies.”

Since completing her semester at UCT she has secured two internships in refugee settlement and support organizations in Cape Town working in communications and high-level advocacy. “I do not believe I could have come across these same opportunities in Canada, and these internships have given me an opportunity to gain more practical experience as well as a more well-rounded knowledge of the field I wish to be in,” she says.

Anya is a perfect example of drive incited by passion. Not everyone knows what they want to be from birth. Sometimes high school is simply a cultural experience and a right-of-passage before the real work begins. For some like Anya, direction comes from the experiences brought on by the courage to jump into unfamiliar surroundings and brave the challenges that come with exiting your comfort zone. Her advice for anyone thinking about getting into the realm of human rights and refugee law? Be ready and stay strong. “It can be very challenging on a personal level — especially dealing directly with clients who have very difficult stories and situations,” Anya cautions. “That being said, it is also extremely rewarding. Be prepared to put in your all!”

We are so proud to be a part of Anya’s story and to have helped her to continue pursuing her passions in human rights. The world needs more global citizens like Anya that devote their lives to making the world a better place. We wish her all the luck in her future endeavours as she forges forward.

Sultan Singh Sandur

Driving Cultural Justice and Inclusion, So That We All May Flourish

Q & A with Sultan Singh Sandur, Master of Education, Thompson Rivers University

Recipient of the 2019 Premier’s International Scholarship, Sultan Singh Sandur is currently pursuing his Master of Education (MEd) at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops, BC. A digital content creator whose life has consistently been centered around art, Sultan’s current research activities include a gender diversity and inclusion project with TRU Recreation as well as an a/r/tography project with Universidad de La Sabana in Colombia, where he will study for two terms in early 2020.

Sultan’s research interests include exploring innovative student-centered approaches to pedagogy and examining concepts of power, privilege and inclusion. Challenging society’s current engagement with the deficit ideology gets Sultan super fired up — and he is ready for the task. Inspired by critical pedagogy, Sultan recently launched Suited Up, a local charitable initiative that assists marginalized high school graduates.

We caught up with this brilliant, creative and compassionate young man to learn more about his plans to deliver more “good” in the world.

Q: Hey Sultan. Congratulations on being awarded the Premier’s International Scholarship! Why is this scholarship important to you?

A: I’ll be able to better understand globalization and how I can work toward higher intercultural competence as I study abroad at the Universidad de La Sabana in Colombia. The scholarship will increase my capacity to be a global thinker, as it will allow me to engage life at a deeper level and foster professional, personal and ideological growth.

Q: And what are you planning to study?

A: As a Master of Education student, I look forward to participating in a project that will provide me with hands-on research experience and diverse perspectives to arts-based pedagogy. I’m very interested in arts-based education and learning from ones’ surroundings and nature.

Q: Why did you choose to do an MEd?

A: After completing my undergrad in Canadian Studies (TRU), I worked as a project coordinator in health-care but the role was heavily administrative and I was unfulfilled. I strongly needed a change and felt that there was a lot more that I wanted to do during this lifetime to make an impact in my community. I am pursuing the Master of Education to gain a better understanding of educational leadership and to pave a path towards a career where I can make a deeper impact.

Q: Justice and discrimination seem to be significant issues for you. You are deeply sensitive to the barriers that people face that ultimately create a sense of marginalization. You’re working with international students at TRU to help them adjust to life in Kamloops, you’ve helped sponsor a refugee student from the Congo, and you’re working with TRU Recreation to make their language more inclusive so more people can enjoy intramural sports. Why is changing the landscape of marginalization and discrimination such a passion for you?

A: Let’s start with the deficit ideology: how we constantly try to place the blame on marginalized communities for being oppressed rather than understanding the systemic conditions that foster the marginalization and oppression. To add to the challenge, there are many individuals that show severe complacency and ignorance. These individuals condone and make excuses for cultural insensitivity. As an example, when I raised complaints about cultural insensitivity within an organization I was associated with, I was advised that the person who was being culturally insensitive was “from a small town and had never really left the town before.” This was a terrible excuse for inappropriate behaviour that should not be condoned in a multicultural society like Canada, or anywhere in the world. We need to take responsibility for inequalities and stop making excuses.

Q: What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome to get to where you are today?

A: I find that being a minority is extremely powerful, but at the same time, it can be challenge, especially residing in a smaller city such as Kamloops. As much as we say that we are multicultural, we have a long way to go to foster true cultural humility and understanding within our communities. As a minority, I bring a diverse perspective as I have managed to deal with adversity and have navigated various social locations.

Q: In your application for the Premier’s International Scholarship, you say you are an optimist. Why is that?

A: I have inherited my optimism from my dad. He has faced many hardships, yet has always been extremely determined and positive. I think his optimism has been infused into my own worldview — I was taught from a young age that you cannot simply give up. Over the years, I have learned that an optimistic and hopeful attitude is integral to managing change and adapting to new situations.

Q: I wish more people would choose optimism. Because it really is just a choice, and it gets easier with practice. So tell me, Sultan, how is the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society Premier’s International Scholarship helping you in your career path?

A: I have always had a desire to study abroad, but financially I wasn’t able to make that dream come true, so this scholarship will allow me to accomplish a lifelong goal of mine. Studying abroad is a transformational opportunity that will broaden my worldview and provide me with the skills needed to work in a heterogeneous environment. I look forward to deeply immersing myself in my a/r/tography research and the local community. I will use the knowledge and intercultural awareness gained through this scholarship to make a meaningful contribution to my future work, research, and community.

Thank you, Sultan. You are inspiring in your conviction and commitment, and noble in your pursuit of true human equality. We wish you all the best in your studies and on the road ahead!