Have you met Peter Carter?

Get to know a little bit more about the staff at UAI.

15 June 2020

UAlberta International has a friendly team of professionals that focus on various areas of work that support internationalization at UAlberta. Let's spend a few minutes getting to know Peter Carter, International Relations Coordinator (Asia)!

Have you ever lived/studied/worked/volunteered outside of Canada? If yes, tell us when and where, and share one key life lesson from your experience.

I've spent a total of 7 years studying and working outside of Canada. My first experience was a year-long exchange at a high school in Yokohama, Japan, which I consider to be the main catalyst towards my passion for international education. Being born and raised in Saskatoon, moving to the bustling metropolis that is Yokohama was truly eye opening and hooked me on the idea of living/studying abroad.

I later participated in another two exchanges during my time as an undergraduate at UAlberta: a year each at both Meiji University in Tokyo, and Yonsei University in Seoul. After graduation, I moved back to Japan to participate in the JET Programme for an additional 4 years as the Coordinator for International Relations in the City of Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture.

The City of Sanjo has a population of close to 100,000 people, with less than 700 foreign residents - the vast majority of whom come from neighbouring countries in Asia. While I was there, there were only about 20 Canadian and American citizens total living in the city. Although I felt like I stood out while living in Yokohama, Tokyo and Seoul, it was much more pronounced in Sanjo, as many people there had only met and interacted with a foreigner who was their English teacher in school. It allowed me to experience life as a minority firsthand, and with it, all the negatives such as constantly being stereotyped, treated differently, or getting carded by police for no legitimate reason. Needless to say, this really made me reflect on my life of privilege in Canada and has had a lasting impact on how I perceive social inequalities.

What do you like most about your work at UAlberta?

Definitely the wide range of stakeholders that I get to interact with on a daily basis! In addition to working closely with many of our faculties and offices on campus, I also frequently engage with external partners such as university and government representatives from across Asia and Oceania.

While COVID-19 has impacted our ability to currently receive international delegations, it is certainly a highlight when we have the opportunity to welcome these partners to UAlberta in person. For example, last year I had the pleasure of being involved in coordinating a visit by Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado of Japan together with the Faculty of Arts and the Prince Takamado Japan Centre for Teaching and Research.

What previous position have you held that contributes most to your position at UAI?

As mentioned before, I spent 4 years on the JET Programme as a Coordinator for International Relations prior to working for UAI. Although the job title is very similar to my current position (International Relations Coordinator), the responsibilities were for the most part quite different, ranging from giving public lectures to hosting a weekly radio show to teaching international cooking classes. That being said, it certainly provided me with the necessary foundation to succeed in my role at UAI, namely intercultural communication, project management, and problem solving skills.

What's a work-related accomplishment that you're really proud of?

Our team has been working hard for the past year to establish Joint Doctoral Degree Programs with select Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) - India's top ranking institutions. These programs will facilitate the two-way mobility of doctoral students and help enhance research connections between our faculty members. There was a considerable amount of coordination required both internally at UAlberta and with our partners in India to set these up, and we are now finally preparing to launch. What makes me particularly proud about this is that we are the first Canadian university to enter into such an agreement with IITs, further strengthening our position as a leader in Indo-Canadian academic relations.