We sat down in Wyckham House at Mount Royal University (MRU) to catch up with Ethan a 19 year old young man from Morley who Canada Bridges met a few years ago. Ethan relocated not too long ago to Calgary to attend school and as he describes it “build a new lifestyle”.
How did you first come into contact with Canada Bridges?
I actually first heard about Canada Bridges from a friend, Sandis who was involved in some of their programming, he invited me to attend a few of their sessions and I have been in contact with them in one way or another ever since.
When did you relocate from Morley into Calgary?
I moved to the city in 2016 and enrolled in the Aboriginal Education Program at Mount Royal University. I am now enrolled in the General Studies Program but plan on attending veterinary school afterwards, I have already received advice on how to qualify for this program and is working towards it. I’ve always loved animals and I see this as a very good way to help them and to work in an area that I love.
I also love chemistry I can’t explain the interest but it’s as if Chemistry pulls me forward. I also have thoughts of becoming a chemistry professor and maybe combining chemistry and veterinary science to create new medicine to treat animals. I don’t see many indigenous people in the field of Chemistry, and I’ve never seen one as a Chemistry Professor, who knows maybe I could be the first.
How has your time at University been so far?
It was rough at first, transitioning from home to the city, it was a culture shock for me actually. I had to get over being shy and try to learn to feel comfortable talking to people who are not first nation people. I started volunteering and assisting with the hosting of various events. I also joined the Chess Club at MRU and was a member of the executive committee. This helped me to meet a lot of new people and now I have many friends and colleagues at school. Now life at MRU is a lot better and every day is just like a normal day.
What would be your advice to persons looking to transition to the city to attend University?
It is a new environment and a lot to get used to. Don’t take the new independence and the freedom of being on your own for granted, learn to control it. Remember why you are there, attend all your classes and motivate yourself to stay focused and do well.
Ethan, you seem to be very focused on your future goals, what motivates you?
I look at what I did in the past, I look on my past achievements and all the awards I’ve gotten for this hard work and it motivates me to do better.
What are you most proud of to date?
Obtaining my honor roll certificate through the Aboriginal Education Program. This award is given to those who maintain a 90 and above average in all courses. I did pretty well and I am very proud of that.
What are you passionate about?
I’ve always been passionate about my culture and this got even more intense after doing a course in Native Studies at Mount Royal. It felt weird at first being the only native person in the class and being taught about my own culture, but it was very good, I learnt a lot and did really well in the course. I am thinking about doing a minor in Indigenous Studies.
What would be your one message to anybody reading this interview?
I really think it’s important to research and study indigenous culture in general or to take courses that teaches what native persons went through and is still going through in our daily lives. It is important to learn about the people of this land.
We wish Ethan all the best!!!