Image by K. Ho

May Anne Then’s Teach-In Speech: Ask yourself, “What is my philosophy on access?”

I’d like to begin by acknowledging that what I say today will no doubt be influenced by my personal experiences and may not represent all international students.

I am May Anne, an International student from Malaysia/Brunei.

I joined the Science faculty 4 years ago and have since transferred to Forestry.

I came to UBC in 2010 because UBC offered me a scholarship and my choice would have been a decision my family took collectively to invest in my sister’s and my education, taking into account my parent’s finite resources.

If this proposal was a reality the year I applied for UBC – it would definitely have affected my choice + my ability to come to UBC.

Please allow me to share some things I’ve heard:

– There are still some myths that people are sharing, which can be answered by the information already provided

– Such as the 10% increase only affecting incoming students

-If we are to prove that we have a point, whatever that point is, we must be well informed! Show the university that we’ve done our homework.

-A lot of emotions expressed regarding this: perhaps anger, confusion, frustration and others.

– I’d encourage everyone to listen to these and dig deeper. What are driving these? What are some arguments for and against? Is it rational?

A lot of very different perspectives expressed

– Just today, I’ve heard 5 completely different angles. To some, the answer is clear but not everyone feels or thinks this way.

I agree with a lot of the statements made today, especially the fact that the university, so far, has yet to provide adequate information regarding the details of the proposed increases. There are a lot of unanswered questions – and perhaps some questions that haven’t even been raised yet.

We always like to say that international students bring diversity to the university and I think this is true for the opinions towards this proposal as well. I anticipate a spectrum of opinions and thoughts that I may not even have imagined, and so the ISA is dedicated to listening to all of these. We ask that you stay engaged as we create platforms to listen to as many voices as we can.

I would encourage you to join me, when I ask myself these questions:

What is the value of my own education?

How much do I value the education of others?

How much am I willing to invest in the future of education?

What is my philosophy on access?

What is my philosophy on diversity?


Listen, ask questions (especially the difficult ones) and help us find solutions.


May Anne Then is the President of the International Students’ Association of UBC (ISA). The ISA is an AMS club that exists to represent and integrate the international student community, advocate for its needs and create a space for interaction and cross-cultural awareness where every student can voice their opinion.