There are many people who work to make the Vancouver Summer Program (VSP) what it is – student assistants, coordinators and managers, world-class instructors, faculty directors and other incredible partners. Everyone works together to create an unforgettable experience for thousands of VSP students each year.

One of these people is Dr. Andrew Horne. Dr. Horne wears two hats with VSP; he is both an instructor and the Program Director for the VSP Faculty of Medicine. He engages with students within the classroom and networks with institution administrators outside of the classroom. His diverse work allows him to see and reflect on both student and administrator perspectives.

Dr. Horne’s VSP experience over the last 8 years has also provided learning opportunities through his interactions with students and visiting guests.

“…I have learned so much about the international community – differences in culture, life philosophies, and modes of education, all of which are fascinating to explore in detail and really underscore what a diverse world we really live in.”

Dr Horne shared some more insights about the VSP with us recently:

What is your role and department/faculty as it relates to the Vancouver Summer Program?

My name is Andrew Horne. I am an Associate Professor of Teaching at the Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology, & Therapeutics. I am also the Program Director for VSP Faculty of Medicine. In 2019, I was a course instructor, VSP Faculty of Medicine Course Package B.

Tell us about your work and its connection to the VSP.

I have been a course instructor in the UBC VSP since 2013, teaching pharmacology and scientific literature analysis to students from around the world.  In addition to my instructional role, I have been a program director for the Faculty of Medicine’s VSP offerings since 2018; my responsibilities in this role include the oversight of the 15+ course packages Medicine offers, welcoming students to UBC each summer, and reviewing new course packages for potential inclusion in future programs.

What is one thing that you didn’t expect from VSP?

The vibrancy and energy brought to UBC by the diverse groups of students from countries around the world certainly exceeded my wildest expectations.  It is incredible to see students of the VSP interacting with one another, sharing their cultures and forming friendships in and out of class, taking advantage of their time on campus and enjoying it to the fullest as they contribute to our community in so many positive ways.

What have you learned thus far with being involved with the VSP?

By taking the time to talk with the students and visiting guests, I have learned so much about the international community – differences in culture, life philosophies, and modes of education, all of which are fascinating to explore in detail and really underscore what a diverse world we really live in.

What have you found has been an unexpected experience for VSP students?

It is hard for me to speak on behalf of the thousands of VSP students who have come to UBC, but so many of my conversations with students end with their desire to return to Vancouver in the future.  I think that many students enroll in the VSP expecting to leave UBC behind after four weeks, when the reality is that so many are taken in by their experience here to the point of tweaking future educational plans so that they may return some day in a more permanent capacity, for example in pursuit of graduate studies; I know of at least a few students who have done exactly that!

How is studying at UBC different from studying at home?

Studying at UBC gives VSP students a unique opportunity to expand their way of thinking through interaction with so many diverse personalities from B.C. and around the world.  By getting to know professors, teaching assistants, and fellow students, one will quickly learn that the UBC community is full of different perspectives and backgrounds that together challenge even the most steadfast way of thinking.  Studying at UBC truly challenges your views of the world in a positive way, which will allow you to continue to grow and improve as an intellect and a person.

What VSP activity can students look forward to? What was popular in the past?

The VSP Farewell celebration is one of the most amazing events that I have the pleasure of attending.  For each and every student, and everyone at UBC involved in helping the program run, this event serves as a culmination of 4 weeks of hard work and friendships made.  It is an incredible combination of joy (at having experienced UBC, learned so much, and made so many new friendships and memories) and sadness (at the experience having almost come to a close) that just holds so much raw emotion for everyone to behold.

What do you like about being a part of the UBC community?

I gain great satisfaction in my role as an instructor, taking pride in helping move students towards their career goals through higher education.  I cherish the UBC community for its ability to help inspire me towards this goal and provide opportunities for friendships and collaborations that will assist in my personal and professional growth, so that I may continue to find better ways to guide and mentor students.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love spending time in the B.C. wilderness, whether it be a day hike to the North Shore mountains or longer backcountry trips throughout the province.  I don’t get out as much on those more arduous journeys as I used to with a young family at home, but eventually I will be back exploring the outdoors with my two sons in tow.  Beyond that, I enjoy photography, baking, and board games with friends and family over a nice craft beer (or two).

There, we have some valuable insights about the program from course instructor and Program Director, Dr. Andrew Horne. To learn more about the Faculty, course packages, and general teaching structure, visit the VSP Faculty of Medicine page.