How I went to the Philippines for Reading Break  

As a student, dreams of reading break start as soon as your midterms are over. “I’m going home to visit my family” or “I’m going to shower and eat real food” but rarely do you say, “I’m going to the Philippines.”

That’s right, I went to the Philippines for my Geography class.

So how does a second year geography student get to go to the Philippines for course credit? Well, it’s a little complicated.

1. You get lucky. The course I am taking is a “Directed Studies” class, which means that the course is not something usually offered by the department and usually pertains to a specific interest that a student might have. My directed studies class was created by a researcher here at UVic by the name of Alessia Kockel. She was looking for a filmmaker to help disseminate her research; that filmmaker happened to be me.

2. You have a skill. That last line from the previous part? That’s really the hitch in this whole thing. I could be rich, Clooney good looking, and “willing to do whatever it takes” but that still would not change the fact that she was looking for a filmmaker. Even if I had found this door, that skill was the key that opened it.

3. You know the right people. While on this subject, my dad always tells me “You either go to University, or you work at the meat packing plant.” What my dad means by this over simplified rendition of life is that what you need to surround yourself with the people who will get you to where you want to go. UVic and university as a whole is a breeding ground for people who are doing really cool stuff, and with a keen attitude you can be a part of it.

So am I extremely lucky? Yes. Was the trip amazing? Yes. Was I wearing a tank top and shorts in November? I wish I was wearing less, honestly…

The research that Alessia is doing there is outstanding, and being a part of the process was a formative experience that I will have a tough time forgetting. If you want to know more about directed studies at UVic you can contact the registrar’s office.


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