Dal Economics student Ali Calladine

A day in the life

Dal Economics student Ali Calladine


Economics is a math-related subject that’s about finding patterns in society and seeing that they can be taken in many different directions. I highly recommend it.

A flexible degree

Ali Calladine, from Whistler, B.C., knew “from the start” that she wanted to do a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Economics and International Development. Well, kind of. Originally, she says, “I’d applied to do Commerce.”

The reason for the switch? “I realized studying something academic was better for me. It also seemed like there’s more flexibility in the Economics program to make the degree my own,” she says, explaining it helps her align her degree with her goals. It also gives her the option to take different elective courses, like one on global warming that provides the perspectives of both science and economics.

Though her major has changed, she was always sure about coming to Dal, after hearing from a family friend about the balance between classroom learning and extracurricular experiences. “He said Dal was excellent, offered great programs, and that there was a lot to do outside classroom," says Ali. "He also said a lot of students are dedicated to social justice, to making the world a better place.”

Ali has joined them: she has been involved with the Dalhousie Arts and Social Sciences Society (DASSS), is currently the chair of the student union council, and the treasurer for IDEAS – the International Development Education and Awareness Society. I’m also the president of Dal’s Oxfam Society.”

Making positive change - and meeting cool people

All these extracurricular activities aren’t only in the name of beefing up her resume. “Students have a lot of power to make positive changes,” she says. “I just think that the more you do, the more perspectives you get – you can bring that to your academic work and build skills for the future. That’s what you’re here for – it would be a missed opportunity not to participate. And you can meet some really cool people.”

It’s also bringing her some recognition, though. Last year, she won a Dalhousie IMPACT “Rising Star” Award, co-presented by the Dalhousie Student Union and the university to students demonstrating a high level of “commitment, leadership, creativity, and initiative” (and she has a renewable scholarship from Dal for her grades).

One of her favourite classes is Health Economics, taught by Prof. Courtney Ward. It’s provoking debate both inside and outside the classroom “about how the economy around health differs from country to country,” she says. “We had an interesting conversation on how to put a monetary value on human life, and who makes those kinds of decisions. It’s really cool when a class inspires discussion outside of class.”

She also thinks combining two subject majors is giving her a perfectly balanced perspective. “Views in international development can sometimes be biased – rightly so – and also have a strong dependence on economics. The Economics degree gives me the depth of understanding to question some of those views,” she says. At the same time, “IDS allows me to have a more left-wing, well-rounded perspective of economics. Overall, the two combined together are the best – there’s so much overlap.”