James Wakelin, 26
Why did you choose CUE?
Concordia drew my attention for many reasons. The central Edmonton location allows easy access with fairly stress-free commuting. CUE is established and has a long history in Edmonton. I discovered that the school’s large variety of programs, small class sizes and prestigious professors make the student experience amazing. A bonus is the North Saskatchewan River Valley: it is attached to our campus, which makes for amazing nature hikes and study locations.
Describe some of your best experiences so far.
I was lucky enough to get a full scholarship to study at our partner university, Beijing Foreign Studies University, in China. This program changed my life and has greatly increased my professional opportunities. Every semester our students’ association puts on a large campus welcoming party that we call Thunder Fest. New students make lifelong friends and get an introduction to what university life is like.
Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
I was fortunate enough to be the elected Concordia students’ association president. With the position came many amazing opportunities to meet other leaders and to learn how to make our campus better.
What do you think of your professors?
The class sizes at CUE are quite small and create a personal teacher-student dynamic. Many professors give out their personal numbers so that they can answer questions outside office hours. They seem to enjoy what they teach and put that passion into their lessons.
What do you think of the school’s administration?
The online user interface can be overwhelming to a new student. I have spent many hours helping friends pick their classes and navigating the portal system. The Registrar’s Office and admin staff are available for support, but they can be quite busy around the beginning of each semester. Most mandatory degree classes are offered every semester, so it is not too difficult to get into the classes you need as long as you do so the week registration opens up.
What is off-campus life like in Edmonton?
CUE is close to Edmonton’s bustling downtown and the main strip of Whyte Avenue where a long line of eateries and pubs are located. The city has amazing attractions, including the West Edmonton Mall, Fort Edmonton Park and TELUS World of Science. Many more offer student-discounted activities.
If I wrote the school motto: ‘Our campus is small, but our opportunities are huge’
Best place to live: Large apartments along the river close to downtown
Best place to study: Third floor of the library or outside along the river
Best campus events: Thunder Fest, Cuca Spooka, sports games, pancake breakfasts, Pride events
Best campus food: Taco in a bag (on Taco in a Bag Day)
Best cheap lunch: Soup and buns from the cafeteria
Best place for a fancy dinner: Highlands Golf Club restaurant
Best giveaway: Apple AirPods, drones and Bluetooth speakers have been given away this year
Best bar for hanging out: The Canadian Brewhouse downtown
Best live music venue: Blues on Whyte
Best place for a nap: Booths in the library basement
Best weekend activity: Going to the mountains (Banff or Jasper) for a hike or winter sports
The thing that surprised me most about the school: How approachable the faculty are and the international recognition of the smaller institution
If I could change one thing about the school: I would improve the dorms and build better amenities for students living on campus
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