Meet Yasameen Tareq
Yasameen Tareq is an MA student at the University of Guelph, and holds a BSc in Biological Sciences, also from U of G. Yasameen took two experiential learning courses through her Italian minor in her final year of undergrad. Having enjoyed them so much, she decided to pursue a master’s in European Studies in which she explores influential movements in psychiatry in 20th century Italy and how they influenced modern practices both in Italy specifically, and Europe generally.
During her undergrad, Yasameen worked at the University Centre and Central Student Association, through the work-study program. The skills she developed and experiences she gained in both experiential learning courses and work-study helped her choose her career and further education path, and expanded her view on different aspects of life. Yasameen notes, “Although I have faced many difficulties through my academic journey such as language barriers (because it had only been my third year in Canada when I first started university, my English being self-taught), cultural shocks and adjustments, difficulties of the outside world and financial struggles, I can honestly say that my four years at the University of Guelph had been a true blast. I made many friends of different backgrounds, I learned to see the outside world from many perspectives and most importantly, I learned many different academic and life lessons and will continue to learn more through my pursuit of a European Studies Master’s degree”.
Do you think that having two very different perspectives throughout your Undergraduate degree helped you develop skills and grow as a student?
“With a major in Biological Sciences and a minor in Italian Studies, I was able to experience student life at the University of Guelph from two very distinct yet equally interesting perspectives. Due to my simultaneous involvement in art and science classes, I found that I have developed the ability to view both from unique points of views which allowed me to stand out in both fields. I also gained the ability to be critical of my work from a factual perspective as well as an artistic one, which is a skill that I will forever be thankful for as it can be applied to many aspects of life in general.”
What was your role in your experiential learning and independent research courses?
“I was able to take the courses through my Italian minor, which were two of my favorite courses at the University of Guelph as I was able to meet with different members of the Italian community of Guelph, learn about their eventful histories and experiences and document their fascinating lives in the Italian Heritage project on the University of Guelph website. I searched through archival material, interviewed many individuals and collected valuable information about the Italian Canadian community of Guelph, which I then organized and published through the University of Guelph’s Italian Heritage website. It was the first time I had felt true freedom within the confines of an academic environment and the very reason why I had decided to pursue a Master’s degree in European Studies”
How did hands-on learning help you learn? Did the hands-on learning you experienced in your last year of undergrad change the way you think about other courses or other general ways of thinking?
“Not only did hands-on learning enable me to gain listening and speaking skills, it has also led me to think of and apply the knowledge I have acquired at University to daily life, not to mention that it had taught me how to communicate and converse about such knowledge in nonacademic settings with everyday people.”
What did you do for Central Student Association (CSA) and University Centre (UC) staff?
“With the CSA, I participated in multiple seasonal and on-call jobs with variant tasks such as sales management, event coordinating, technical support and general backup staff duties. As for my tasks with the UC staff, I did stage set-ups, event organization and general technical support for different events on campus such as information sessions, live performances, fashion shows and other.”
What was it like working while in school in the work-study program?
“Although it was very stressful at times, I found that working while studying was quite rewarding. I was able to meet many people and make many friends of different educational and noneducational backgrounds through the different jobs I had. I was also able to experience student life from many perspectives due to the different events and gigs I had worked in. Not only did I feel accomplished every single day after finishing both school and work tasks, but I also learned many important skills such as time management, leadership and many others.”
What made you decide to pursue a European Studies Masters?
“One of the many reasons I decided to pursue a European Studies Masters is the happy memories I had as a child of the beautiful European sceneries and music on television which were unlike anything I have seen as an Iraqi child. Not because of Iraq lacking such sceneries, rather the fact that war did not allow us Iraqis to necessarily enjoy the sceneries we did have. This prompted me to peruse a minor in Italian, which I enjoyed so much that I decided to peruse a European Studies Masters to further examine the beauty of Europe.”
What would your advice be to someone looking to pursue a Master’s degree?
“Pick a degree that you are passionate about and that you can enjoy and have fun with. To give a personal example, I tremendously enjoyed science, but I picked arts over it because I knew that I would enjoy it more and therefore will be able to produce better quality contributions in the field of academia.”
“Overall, being a part of the University of Guelph community has been the best experience I have had in my 8 years in Canada. It is a tight-knit community which still manages to feel warm and welcoming, from the helpful and friendly students to the wonderful staff members. Therefore, I truly recommend and encourage anyone who is pursuing education at the University of Guelph to do so without any fear.”