Avril Espinosa-Malpica
Avril Espinosa-Malpica
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
BA, Economics and Political Science

When Avril Espinosa-Malpica father’s accepted a job offer in Mexico, it changed the course of her life by igniting an interest in trade relations. After spending nine years in Mexico, she was excited to return to her hometown of Vancouver and pursue an education in political science and economics at UBC.

Why did you choose to go to UBC?

My dad studied at UBC. He had such a great experience and made many wonderful friends. In fact, a librarian from UBC picked me and my mom up from the hospital when I was born. But not only that, UBC has a strong reputation and is highly ranked worldwide, which makes it a great school to go to. It was an easy choice for me to make.

What drew you to your area of study?

I love trying to figure out how our world works. Studying both economics and politics helps us understand the world we live in, especially these days; it’s relevant to pretty much everything in the news and most social issues.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far on your UBC journey?

How connected everything is. You can draw a line from one point to another and, along the way, you’ll find so many different reasons why those two points are connected. At UBC, it’s fun seeing how connected you are to people through mutual friends or common interests. It’s about focusing on what we share, not how we differ.

How have you been able to combine your interests in politics and economics at UBC?

Through Global Affairs Canada, I work as a co-op student for the Trade Commissioner Service. In this department, I help companies that contribute to Canada’s economic growth succeed in international markets. I also get to do a lot of research on international trade trends and political activities to help clients pursue business opportunities. I’ve been working at the Pacific regional office this past year and will continue with the department in Ottawa this spring.

What do you value most in your UBC community?

I really value the number of opportunities there are for students. I’ve been able to hear from renowned people like Jeffrey Sachs, played in a midnight volleyball tournament, participated in the French Club’s wine and cheese night, attended a Vance Joy surprise concert on campus, and helped package medical supplies for Syria through the Red Cross Club. UBC is a unique environment where you get to experience a range of activities and meet a lot of great people. It’s just a matter of finding something that fits your interests.

What has been the highlight of your UBC experience so far?

Last year, I got to do a six-month exchange in Lyon, France, through the UBC Go Global program. It was so amazing. I’m doing a minor in French, so I got to practice my language skills. I also made incredible friends from many different universities around the world. As a co-op student, I’ve had some great experiences, too. For one of my co-op jobs, I worked at the Canada Border Services Agency. I searched for contraband and conducted immigration exams.

Who is the most inspiring person you’ve met at UBC, and why?

For me it’s Martina Valkovicova, my former manager and the assistant dean of the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre at the Sauder School of Business. She’s smart, super driven, and really wants students to succeed. As a woman, she really inspires me to work hard. She spoke at a Women in Leadership event I organized for the Arts Co-op Students’ Association and it was so rewarding.

What role do you think trade has on BC’s future?

I think trade can help BC develop innovative industries like clean technologies. Trade can help clusters in that sector grow by opening new opportunities abroad and attracting new talent. We already have a strong, clean-technologies industry in BC, and by developing this even further, we can become leaders in tackling climate change. I also think that by developing sustainable and inclusive trade policies, which help women, minorities, and low-income people to fully participate and benefit from trade, we can build a better BC for everyone.