Arrthy Thayaparan (BSc, Combined Major of Science)

Arrthy recently graduated from UBC with a Combined Major of Science degree and a minor in ACAM. Growing up as a Tamil Canadian woman on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-waututh nations, Arrthy has found an immense passion for analyzing society through a postcolonial lens and in assisting marginalized communities share their stories. With these interests in mind, she will go on to continue her studies as a Master of Journalism student this fall.

Why did you declare a minor in ACAM? What drew you to the program? 

I was initially in the Asian studies program and only came to hear of the ACAM minor from another UBC student while studying abroad in Singapore. While I truly enjoyed my classes in Asian studies, I think that ACAM was perfect for me in challenging my knowledge and allowing me to engage with complex ideas of colonialism, transnationalism, and so much more. Through meeting others and discussions in the classroom, I have come to realize that I am not alone in relearning and rediscovering my own culture and identity as an Asian Canadian. As such, I owe it all to ACAM for helping broaden my horizons and welcoming me into their diverse community.

Have you completed any projects through or related to an ACAM course? If so, could you share your experiences and, if possible, share a link to your project.

What is truly unique about ACAM courses is that they challenge you to critically analyze course content, society, and history but also encourage us to share our learning through a creative format. As a STEM student, these types of projects were a breath of fresh air that allowed me to use skills I haven’t accessed since high school. Some of my favourite projects have been a group project for ENGL 348 with Dr. Danielle Wong called “Pagitan” and a solo final film for ACAM 350 with Al Yoshizawa called “Without the War”. “Pagitan” was a visual recreation of the postcolonial 3rd space in the Philippines and the feelings of loss felt by those stuck within that dimension. Parts of that project was published in The Talon’s zine “Resurgence”. “Without the War” was an experimental collagesque film that explored my own wonderings of what life would have been like had my family not had to escape the Sri Lankan civil war. Much of my life has been shaped by this tragedy, and I am grateful for having the chance to delve into it deeper. Without ACAM and it’s supportive community, a lot of the work that I have created would not at all have happened. As such, I am grateful for the many opportunities that have made my undergraduate at UBC so much more worthwhile.