Lia Lee

Name: Lia Lee (Current Student)

Hometown and Country: Seoul, South Korea. Grew up in Vancouver, Canada.

Degrees Completing at UBC Sciences Po: Politics & Government at Sciences Po and International Relations at UBC.

Choosing UBC Sciences Po
Since high school, Lia has been passionate about alleviating  social issues that she sees around her. From leading her high school’s Model United Nations club and Me to We program, Lia worked for various non-profit organizations that help people overcome poverty and homelessness in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. When Lia realized that social injustices often stem from bigger political issues, she knew that she needed to fill her knowledge gap in politics by pursuing a post-secondary degree in social sciences. As a first-generation Korean Canadian, Lia had a strong desire to enhance her cultural understanding of South Korea, and sought to understand the world around her by studying international relations. Lia was drawn to the UBC Sciences Po Dual Degree program where she would be surrounded by like-minded students from around the world who were genuinely interested in politics and making a positive impact in the world.

Making Lifelong Global Connections
With UBC Sciences Po program’s unique cohort structure and diverse student body, Lia had the opportunity to study and become friends with students from around the world – including Madagascar, France, the United Kingdom, India, China, and across North America. These relationships were not only special through the holistic and engaging conversations made possible by the cultural diversity of students, Lia’s move to France for the first two years of the program at the Sciences Po Paris’ Reims campus – while challenging at first due to cultural adjustments – allowed her to do everything with her cohort, including cooking and studying. She learned about different cultures in the process and deepened her understanding of both domestic politics around the world and international relations.

Fly Me to the Moon (Arts Association), 2017-2018

Reims International Model United Nations (RIMUN), 2018-2019


Sundial Press, 2017-2018

Lia also made many new connections by being involved in a variety of extracurricular activities. In France, Lia was part of Reims Model United Nations (RIMUN), European Law Student’s Association, the Reim’s campus student journal Sundial Press, France’s national food bank association, and various artistic charity organizations. After her transition to UBC, Lia served as VP Academic for the Political Studies Student Association, worked on Canada’s 2019 Federal Eletion campaign, and continued her involvement in external organizations like the International Model United Nations Association (IMUNA) which allowed her to travel to China, New York, and meet speakers such as Susan Rice, who was the 24th U.S. National Security Advisor.

National High Schools Model United Nations (NHSMUN) China with IMUNA, August 2018

National High Schools Model United Nations (NHSMUN) China with IMUNA, August 2018

National High Schools Model United Nations (NHSMUN) New York with IMUNA, 2019

2019 Canadian Federal Election Campaign

Interning at the Canadian Embassy
In the summer after her first year, Lia had the opportunity to work as a Public Affairs & Advocacy Intern at the Embassy of Canada in Washington D.C. One of her summer highlights was also being able to work with the human rights organization, Freedom for North Korea (FFNK), and she even had lunch with Yeonmi Park, who Lia had recently watched in her Ted Talk “What I learned about freedom after escaping North Korea.” Lia felt that the many passionate professors at both UBC and Sciences Po, her international experiences from the program, as well as the breadth and depth of social science courses equipped her with the necessary knowledge and confidence to pursue these valuable opportunities.

Public Affairs & Advocacy Internship at the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC, Summer 2018

Public Affairs & Advocacy Internship at the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC, Summer 2018

Freedom For North Korea (FFNK) featuring Yeonmi Park (second from right), Summer 2018

Checking off Everything on her Bucket List
Currently in her third year of the UBC Sciences Po program, Lia is back in Vancouver and completing her International Relations major at UBC. She recently dug up a bucket list that she made when she was twelve years old and discovered that she had accomplished all of her goals through the Dual Degree program. She travelled to Europe, learned to speak five languages, and is pursuing her passion for making a difference in society.

Lia is also adding to her bucket list. Inspired by a Sciences Po course on French Constitutional taught by an engaging teacher from Guinea who had once ran for the judiciary, Lia learned that she had a passion for law. When she graduates, Lia may pursue law, work in Ottawa, or help coordinate another political campaign!

Advice for Prospective Students
With access to so many academic and extra-curricular activities, Lia encourages students to be bold and grasp onto the opportunities that may come their way throughout their studies in the Dual Degree program. Students will truly thrive if they try new experiences that’s outside of their comfort zone or familiarity and make the most of the opportunities that are offered by the program. Lia reflects that she had been timid before, but the program helped her appreciate a relaxed and flexible pace of life, as she learned to be open-minded in her personal, academic, and professional journey.

 “There’s no right or wrong in face of opportunities, so make your own decisions and don’t be influenced by others. Two years may be a short period, but you can choose to make the most of it.” – Lia Lee