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Alumnus/Alumna profile

Karine Balé

Bachelor of Arts 23
Major in Economics (Co-op)

Paria Asadi

Economics (BA)

Experiential learning

“At Concordia, the vibe is very forward-thinking, and the students are hard workers, almost like revolutionaries.”

Karine Balé creates links across campus, mapping out new spaces where her passions can intersect with her program.

How has your time been in the Economics program?

It's been great, mostly because of all the people that I've met. I've made some great friends throughout my time. Economics is such a large field, so I had no idea of what I wanted to do as a career. But since I was in the Co-op program, I got the opportunity to discover that after I graduate, I want to work in finance. I love sustainability too, so my dream goal would be to merge finance and sustainability, working to divert funding to sustainable projects.

How do you combine your major in Economics with your love for sustainability?

In the classroom, economics is mostly applied mathematics, but I took an environmental economics class. We mostly talked about carbon markets and stuff like that, so it's mostly math. In general, we don’t talk about sustainability, so I had to go out of my way to find ways to apply sustainability to my field of expertise.

What kinds of sustainable projects have you been involved in at Concordia?

I was part of the first cohort of Sustainability Ambassadors, and we had to create a solution to a sustainability problem on campus. I ended up creating Concordia’s Sustainability Ecosystem Map. I felt like there were so many sustainability resources available to students, but they were kind of hidden. I wanted to create a map in a fun and exciting way so that people can discover all the sustainability initiatives that we have available at Concordia. I ended up getting a class credit for the project too, so I was very happy.

What else are you involved in at Concordia?

My first big project when I came here was the Woodnote. The Concordia Student Union partnered with an association called UTILE to get more access to affordable student housing. I worked on that project for over three years as a board member. Basically, we were able to build a four-floor student building hosting over 140 students from the Concordia community. It's very exciting because it was the first project of this kind, and it’s exciting that I also live there now.

In the Woodnote, we have communal events, like Christmas parties or birthdays. It's really cool if you're new in Montreal because you have a community of people that you can rely on, which is very useful, especially for international students. We have a communal fridge where people can provide food for each other and donate to other people.

What was it like to transition to Montreal as an international student?

It was a big transition. I would say the first two years were the hardest because I studied all my life in French. Navigating university is completely different from the French system. It took a bit of time to adapt, but getting involved really helped me. Throwing myself into Canadian culture and university life put me in situations where I had to adapt and learn.

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