The “organized discombobulation” of China fascinated Jason Carroll, who taught English in Chongqing for two years - photo by Martin Dee
UBC Reports | Vol. 54 | No. 5 | May 1, 2008
Poli Sci Student Spans the Pacific
By Lorraine Chan
If Jason Carroll has any advice for incoming UBC students, it would be to speak up in class and ask questions.
“I would tell them to take advantage of the opportunities they have and get to know the profs,” says Carroll who will graduate from UBC this month with a BA in political science.
During his time at UBC, says Carroll, he was delighted and surprised by just how approachable faculty members are.
“I had the image that they were there to lecture and leave, but most profs are more than willing to go out of their way to help you.”
In addition, Carroll says he was impressed by how his Political Science professors expected students to be fairly sophisticated in their analysis and discourse. “Dr. Kenneth Foster’s seminar class on Chinese politics was fantastic.
And I also really enjoyed working on a U.S. studies project with Dr. Colin Campbell.”
In fact, it was UBC’s level of teaching quality and engagement that got him over a hump in fourth year, says Carroll.
“I found it hard to get back into school mode,” recalls Carroll, who had just returned from China where he had been working and living for two years.
Carroll moved abroad in 2004 as part of his work term organized by the Faculty of Arts Co-op Program. Carroll was teaching English as a second language in Chongqing, a smoky, industrial city of 10 million in the province of
Sichuan in western China.
After his Co-op placement ended, Carroll opted to continue working in Asia. He found a second job with a private language institute teaching adults and children, while enrolling in Mandarin courses at the Sichuan International Studies University.
The “organized discombobulation” of China fascinated him, says the Chilliwack native. And he thrived on teaching.
“There’s something really neat about communicating when you don’t share the same language, but there’s still a sense of connection.”
Despite the difficulties of re-integrating into campus life, Carroll says he’s glad he stuck it out. What really helped, he says, was being in the Co-op program that merges the academic and professional worlds.
“I can’t say enough about the Faculty of Arts Co-op Program. It got me to China. It gave me a chance to work with a variety of employers. And it has given me mentors.”
Over the past year and a half since his return, Carroll has completed additional Co-op placements. He worked as a researcher at the Recycling Council of British Columbia and as a communications assistant at WorkSafeBC, where he created marketing and advertising materials.
And thanks again to Arts Co-op contacts, says Carroll, he has already lined up a job for the next year. As a member of the “Presidents Crew Program.” Carroll will be interning at Dillon Consulting, an international firm that provides consulting and design services related to facilities, the environment, community development and infrastructure.
In the meantime, Carroll aims to nurture his own fledgling business, one he launched last year with a friend. Called Lotusland Communications, the company has a website (www.lotuslandworldwide.com) and several contracts on the go, including organizing investment tours for local realtors.
When not working, Carroll likes to hone his photography skills and stay fit through informal soccer and football games with friends.
Still fascinated by Asia and its dynamic politics, Carroll says he hopes to travel or work there again.
“I like the idea of being in a place that’s changing so fast and so important to the world. In many ways China has become a central focus for the world.”