Kris Rhude: Skiing to Success


Recognized by UBC President Stephen Toope as the Top Academic Varsity Athlete at UBC in 2013, third-year Arts student Kris Rhude juggles his double major in Near Eastern Studies and Religious Studies with his commitment as a varsity athlete on UBC’s Nordic ski team.

Originally from Cross Plains, Wisconsin, Kris set his sights on UBC due to its Near Eastern Studies major, a program that is offered at only a few universities in North America. The Nordic ski team was also a huge draw, and after receiving the International Leaders of Tomorrow (ILOT) scholarship, he knew that would attend UBC.

Growing up, Kris always wanted to be an Egyptologist. After coming to UBC, he was certain he would major in Near Eastern Studies. While taking a few courses in the Religious Studies department, he fell in love with the program and decided to pursue a double major.

Kris feels that the Near Eastern Studies and Religious Studies programs complement each other and provide opportunities for interdisciplinary learning. He believes that there are certain benefits of being a student in smaller programs.

“You become very close to the entire department,” said Kris. “All the professors are incredibly passionate about their subjects, and they get excited when they have students who are as well. I’ve gotten a lot of guidance and advice from my professors.”

Although Kris spends countless hours training and racing as a member of the Nordic ski team, he still finds time to give back to the community. Kris coaches the Vancouver Nordic Racers junior skills development program, which gives both able-bodied and physically disabled children the chance to learn Nordic skiing. This year, he is also coaching an adult adaptive racing team. In addition, Kris works as an international student ambassador as part of the International Student Initiative (ISI), giving campus tours and sharing his passions with prospective international students visiting the campus.

“I came from another part of the world to study here and I’m getting this very global education,” said Kris. “I don’t know any university comparable with its global outlook, both in terms of the university’s perspective and the students from all around the world. As an international student ambassador, it’s a neat experience to be able to express that to others.”