Douglas College baseball player eyes career as diplomat

David Denofreo photo

If someone asked Surya Viswanathan a few months ago about his plans for the future, he wouldn’t have had an answer.

The 19-year-old baseball player was taking General Studies at Douglas College, sampling different classes to see what appealed most to him.

“I had no clue what I wanted to do when I started at Douglas. I originally had come for the baseball program,” he said. “Then I joined the Student Ambassadors Program and that’s where I met some key individuals who helped shape my future.”

Now, Surya is working towards an education in international relations, with the goal of becoming an ambassador for the United Nations. Currently enrolled in the Intercultural and International Studies Program, Surya will transfer to UBC in two years to wrap up his degree.

He credits the Student Ambassadors Program for showing him the importance of finding his passion. Soon after joining, Surya began to mull over plans for his future. The long-time outfielder has always played baseball – even hoping to play professionally – but he needed a Plan B.

Through his work with the Student Ambassadors, Surya was able to see a number of motivational speakers discussing topics that were important to them. Seeing their passion made Surya want to find his own.

“I can’t do the 9-5 thing,” he said. “That’s not me.

“So, I devoted myself to finding what my passion was aside from baseball. I’ve always been interested in being in a leadership position, helping others and I want to travel to every country before I die. I paired those two interests, and international relations was something that clicked for me.”

The unwavering support of his parents – who gave him the opportunity for a better life by moving to Canada from India – allowed him to pursue his passion.

“They let me figure out my own path,” he said.

Surya, who works with the Office of New Students as a supervisor for the Student Ambassador Program, said that his decision to get involved in his school was the best he’s made.

“This job has been the most amazing experience because of all the opportunities it has given me,” he said. “By being a leader, finding out what works for me and what doesn’t – I realized I needed to diversify my options.”

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