Making a Home at Quest
Barbara Batista Fernandes ’17, Coordinator of New and International Student Services offers some advice for current students, and shares why she decided to stay in Squamish after graduating.
As a student, what drew you to Quest?
My high school graduating class had just 15 students and the international program was only three years old when I joined. I wanted to go to a university where I would know all of my peers and professors, and be part of shaping its history.
What do you wish you would have known as an incoming student?
Don’t resist change. You will change, and your friends will change. Encourage yourself to do that and support others as they change too. Some of the friendships you will have on your first year might end and new ones will emerge. That is totally okay!
When you were a student at Quest, you were a member of the SRC. What was your role? And in what ways is the SRC important to the campus community?
I was the Minister of Internationalization. The SRC is one of the main avenues students have to shape their Quest experience, should it be by organizing an event on a topic that interests them, petitioning to get a new block offered at Quest, or pressuring Quest’s leadership to review and add to its policies. If I may add, the SRC provides students with the opportunity to learn when and how to work within the system and when to throw it out the window.
Describe what you do now at Quest.
I am part of the Student Life Team at Quest, supporting incoming and international students. I do anything from ordering health insurance (not the most glamourous), to helping students develop skills that will allow then to succeed at Quest and beyond (very rewarding!).
In what ways did your Quest education prepare you for the role you’re in now?
My role at Quest was in a lot of ways a logical step for me. I had always worked with international and incoming students for the four years that I was a student. The co-curricular and academic opportunities allowed me to develop a cross-cultural, critical thinking, inclusive mindset while working under tight deadlines and delivering high quality work. My Keystone project was about the future of education and investigated the ways we can re-shape education through an anti-oppression lens.
Of all the places to go in the entire world, what made you decide to stay at Quest post-grad?
I felt like I wasn’t ready to stop investing in this place. The number of ways I was involved in the Quest and Squamish community grew every year, and it seemed impossible to leave it all behind. I love the Quest community, I love Squamish, and the opportunity to work within the field I am passionate about was all right here.
Tell me a joke!
Well this is a hard one…most of the jokes I know are in Portuguese!
I heard this the other day: why is it hard to play cards in the jungle? Because there are too many cheetahs.