Coding across the globe

Meet Yanjie Yu, a third-year student majoring in Computer Science with Statistics from the University of British Columbia (UBC). We spoke to Yanjie about her experience at UBC, the nature of her course, and her incredibly diverse academic journey.

From China to Canada

Originally from China, Yanjie emigrated to Canada in the tenth grade, where she completed the remainder of her high school education. This student has been interested in computer science since eleventh grade when she participated in some high school computer science classes. “I found computer science interesting, particularly the coding parts and logical aspects of the course.” As she approached the end of high school, Yanjie questioned where she would go to university. “I wanted to apply to one of Canada’s most famous universities, but I didn’t know what I wanted to major in my second year. So I received an offer from the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and McGill University.” UBC offered the major that Yanjie was thinking of pursuing at university. “I originally wanted to choose mathematics as my major. However, I came to realize that I enjoy computer science.”

Yanjie chose UBC as her university, and she embarked on her first year of studies.

UBC course structure

Yanjie explained that she didn’t know what to do after she left high school. “I decided to choose mathematics in my first year as I was interested in the logical nature of maths.” However, this changed when Yanjie developed a keen interest in computer science. The structure of the University of British Columbia allowed Yanjie to explore different disciplines and opened her up to new possibilities. “In the first year, students are assigned to departments based on the major they applied for. In the second year, they can choose a major within that department. I am currently enrolled in the Science department. I have the flexibility to take courses in economics, but I can't choose economics as my major.” The University of British Columbia is structured so students pick their major in their second year. So, in the first year, all the courses you take teach you the fundamentals of the discipline. This means that you can various aspects.

Practice makes perfect

Once Yanjie discovered her true vocation, she immersed herself in computer science. “My computer science course is enjoyable. It’s very versatile because there is a good balance between theory and practice.” Yanjie explained that the mixture of practical and theoretical learning helped her to get to the root of her discipline and explore different aspects of computer science. “You’re not just focusing on a book. You can practice your skills while learning new things.” Yanjie expressed that when you’re participating in projects, the course feels flexible. “It’s entertaining because you can do whatever you want, and while completing the project, you must learn by yourself.”

Warm and welcoming

The University of British Columbia is a diverse and welcoming environment that appeals to students from all over the world. Yanjie felt great adjusting to the new university environment but faced some challenges. “The workload is much heavier than high school, and adjusting to a new environment can be overwhelming.” However, UBC's warm feel and friendly students made Yanjie comfortable. In her first year, Yanjie had a lot of social time where she could hang out with her friends, go to a restaurant, or sit by the sea. In her second year, the workload became heavier, and the subjects she began studying were more complex. Yanjie’s second year demanded more attention; however, she still had time to socialize with her friends in the library or travel during school breaks.

Globe trotter

During her time at the University of British Columbia, Yanjie had the opportunity to visit North America and take part in an exchange program with the University of California Berkley. She had the chance to explore a new environment, experience different cuisines, and learn from other professors. Yanjie secured this position through a Go Global program at the University of British Columbia. “Through this program, you can visit many universities in Asia and the U.S. I applied at the beginning of this year and completed a study exchange in China in the summer. Now I’m at the University of California Berkley.” Yanjie explained that the program guides you through your top-priority schools and helps you find the best match. There are some prerequisites, like GPA requirements and some essay writing, but besides that, the application process was pretty straightforward.

Pristine projects

One of the best times Yanjie recalls having at university was working on her personal and team projects. “My ‘Cyber Friend’ project was enjoyable. I worked in a team, and we had to complete tasks under a time constraint.” Yanjie divulged some of her most interesting projects. “I completed a Blackjack project in year one, which was fun because I enjoy poker games, and when I was writing the code for that project, it went well. I just felt great when participating in this project.” Working with her friends and creating incredible pieces of software was something that initially motivated Yanjie to pursue computer science as her major.

We at Cybernews Academy asked Yanjie what her plans are for the future. She told us that upon graduating, she would like to enter the workforce and focus on a job that requires coding skills. “I would prefer to work in software development or backend engineering. I want to work more with writing code.” Despite Yanjie’s eagerness to head into work, she is considering graduate school. “I’m considering doing Quantum Finance at graduate school as I want to gain more knowledge relating to finance.” When asked what advice she had for future students, Yanjie urged new students to manage their time properly, prepare for deadlines, and plan their work step by step.