'Why I came to Concordia … from India'
When Yogi Joseph arrived at Concordia in 2017, he immediately settled into Montreal’s cultural scene.
“I learn languages quickly and am comfortable assimilating into new cultures, so I saw an opportunity to immerse myself in Quebec society,” he says.
A PhD student in Geography, Urban and Environmental Studies, Joseph is originally from the city of Coimbatore in southern India. He earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning at CEPT University in Ahmedabad and his current research explores connections between transportation and economic and social accessibility in urban environments.
Joseph is particularly interested in barriers to accessibility for poor women, children and individuals with disabilities.
At Concordia, Joseph works as a research assistant and a tutor for undergraduate students. Outside the classroom, he participates in activities organized by the Teaching and Research Assistants at Concordia (TRAC), as well as events hosted by GeoGrads (the Geography, Planning and Environment Graduate Students Association).
Why did you choose Concordia, and how did you first learn about it?
A professor at my previous university had an ongoing research collaboration with Govind Gopakumar, associate professor in Concordia’s Centre for Engineering in Society. Gopakumar — who is now my co-supervisor — put me in touch with Craig Townsend, associate professor in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, and they both encouraged me to apply.
Concordia’s excellent facilities, Montreal’s cosmopolitan charm and scholarship opportunities are what attracted me to the university.
What are the top three things you like about Montreal?
Montreal is a beautiful city. I really appreciate its mix of francophone and anglophone cultures, along with those of Indigenous people and immigrant communities.
I love Montreal’s arts scene and the cultural extravaganza that venues across the city offer on any given night, especially those on Saint-Laurent Boulevard.
Sustainable transportation is an area I am passionate about. Montreal’s pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, as well as its public transport system, are excellent. Public transit is also very affordable.
What would be your top three pieces of advice for another international student at Concordia?
Take every opportunity to explore. Concordia has a lot to offer in terms of training and personal growth. There is so much happening in various departments on any given day that it can be a challenge to keep track — it’s worth the effort.
Be open to new experiences. When people move to a different country, they have a tendency to gravitate towards their native community. Over time, it’s important to assimilate into the larger student community. You can learn a lot by exposing yourself to different cultures.
From writing clubs to sustainable food groups, there are wonderful resources available to students. Some of these may be new to international students and they may be hesitant to participate. Let go of any inhibitions and benefit from everything there is on offer.
What is your favourite spot on campus, and why?
I love the fourth floor of the Webster Library. There is a wealth of information and the infrastructure is definitely better than most libraries that I have been to. The Concordia Library instills in me a sense of wonder — to see such an investment in library resources. It inspires me to read more and undertake more scholarly reading.
On top of thousands of books and journals, online resources — such as Scopus and Web of Science — make any scholarly work easily accessible.
I have had many enriching experiences in the library and collaborated on many projects in its conference rooms. As a PhD student, I cannot overemphasize the amount of reading that goes into every research piece that I put together. The library has provided me opportunities to enrich my knowledge through extensive amounts of reading material and an enabling environment for engaging with the material.
What are your impressions of the International Students Office (ISO)?
The ISO plays a major role for new international students at Concordia. On my first visit, I was greeted warmly and assisted well by its staff. I was also fortunate enough to attend their pre-winter preparation session last December. It was extremely helpful in preparing me for winter in Montreal.
Find out more about Concordia admissions for international students.