The Myth of Canadian Studies

By Niki Ottolia

February 20, 2020 

WASHINGTON, DC – Look around you. Approximately, one of every 67 SAIS students is a Canadian Studies concentrator or minor. This elusive student often cross-concentrates in Latin American Studies, making them the Students of Fire and Ice. Although their natural habitat is the Great White North, at SAIS you can find them on Nitze fifth floor eating maple syrup cookies and embellishing their sentences with “ehs” and “sawrys.” But who are these students and why do they study the land of Trudeau and company?

The Johns Hopkins University Center for Canadian Studies was founded in 1960, at a time when it was sexy to study the U.S.A.’s northern brethren. The Cold War was going strong and if the Canadians know anything, it’s how to handle the freezing cold. These days, however, other SAISers ask Canadian Studies concentrators questions like…

“LOL wait…you’re a Canadian Studies concentrator?!”

“Do you even have classes?”

“WHY do you study Canada?” 

Yes, I exist. Yes, we have class. In fact, we are thinking of adding a Skills Course called Good Manners. As for why we study Canada, please read on.    

10 Reasons to study Canada (i.e. everything 98.5% of SAIS students are missing out on, ehh):

1) Know if things go wrong in the U.S,, you can apply for residency in Canada via their immigration points system. Don’t know anything about Canada’s Immigration Policy? Have no fear. Just take SA.840.715.01 Economics of Immigration and you will be golden, like a maple leaf in the fall.

2) Find out what Canadians REALLY think about people from the U.S.

3) Understand the parliamentary system.

4) Witness the legendary rivalries between Quebec, Alberta and versus British Columbia. Inter-provincial politics in Canada could warrant its own reality TV show: Keeping up with the Kanadians.

5) Enjoy REAL maple syrup. Cookies, butter, bacon, ice cream, pancakes…. There is maple everywhere.

6) Gain a delicious appreciation for poutine.  

7) Talk hockey. A bonus to our language requirement! Pas l’temps d’niaiser.

8) Become immune to the cold. Canadians are a lot nicer and rarely give a cold shoulder. 

9) Live like the stars. Even Harry and Meghan know what’s up (north).

10) Choose from 10 Canadian provinces for a visit. As a concentrator, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to three for study trips and conferences. There’s no better place to try Montréal bagels than in Montréal or ask difficult pipeline questions than in the Albertan Oil Sands or check out the Vancouver skyline than from the top floor of the TD Tower.

Let’s hear it for “Our True North, strong and free!”

~ One proud Canadian Studies concentrator reporting live from Nitze fifth.

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