A Quick Study with Katarzyna Kabacinska

This ongoing series is aimed at getting to know what motivates and inspires UBC students about their learning — inside and outside the classroom.

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On seeking out challenges, embracing interdisciplinary studies and different cultures, Nitobe Garden, the rain, and Turisas.

Meet Katarzyna Kabacinska, Vantage College student.

Katarzyna Kabacinska


Why UBC?

KK: I’ve decided to come to UBC as I wanted to challenge myself to completely change my environment, language and even continent to prove to myself that the boundaries are where I myself set them. At the same time, I was looking for a university with diverse academic opportunities, as well as immersive environment and attractive campus, so UBC was an excellent fit for me.


You are in the very first year of Vantage College—how is the experience going so far?

KK: Thanks to Vantage College I got the opportunity to study and interact with people from all over the world. So far, it’s a truly enriching experience, as every day I learn something new about different cultures, I have met many fantastic people with diverse range of interests.

Katarzyna Kabacinska

Being in Vantage College also involves academic challenges and taking interdisciplinary approach to problems and those are the things I like the most. It makes the classes interesting and exciting, as we are able to discuss with people from different cultural backgrounds. It is beneficial also outside of the classroom, as when for example, I go to eat something off campus with my friends, it’s always great to have someone who can recommend some specialties.


What are your favourite hangouts on campus?

Katarzyna Kabacinska

KK: I like spending time in Nitobe garden, especially when I want to relax and distance myself from everyday activities. I also really enjoy exploring the campus. I usually get lost very easily wherever I go, but I find it to be a very effective way of getting to know all the amazing spots that UBC campus has to offer.


What has been the biggest surprise since moving to Vancouver?

KK: I’d say the biggest surprise for me was the weather. I wasn’t expecting that much rain, but as soon as September started, I’ve learnt that going out without an umbrella is not an option.


What is on your playlist these days?

KK: When I’m working on my papers, I enjoy listening to soundtracks from video games, like Skyrim; other than that there are different kinds of metal on my playlist, from heavy like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden to folk/Viking like Turisas.


Is there a particular course that has inspired you this year?

KK: Yes, the course in psychology I am currently taking (PSYC 208) which is about contemporary topics in psychological research. I find it inspiring, as it made me realize how many questions in that discipline remain unanswered. Knowing that there are so many new things to investigate and discover is an exciting perspective for me, as I feel like I can actually make a difference by developing in that discipline.


Any top tips for international students before they arrive on campus?

KK: I would advise international students to treat coming here as an adventure, to focus on exploring new environment and academic opportunities and celebrating things that are different from their own culture. And I also recommend buying rainwear in advance, because if you lose things as easily as I do, you can’t possibly have too many umbrellas.


What is next for you after Vantage College?

KK: After Vantage College I’m planning to continue studying in Arts. I’m still exploring all the possibilities, but as for now, I’m interested in majoring in Cognitive Systems. I have many interests, so it’s very difficult for me to choose one specialization. The Cognitive Systems Program is multi-disciplinary, as it involves computer science, linguistics and psychology and thus it seems just right for me. Also human thinking processes are very fascinating and applying them in intelligent artificial systems sounds like sci-fi, so I couldn’t think of a more exciting career path.