Aging, Health and Well-being PhD Candidate (Recreation and Leisure Studies)

Jibin Yu profile photo in foyer in front of stairs

Expanding on what we know about 'well-being'

Experiences while travelling can have a profound impact on an older person’s well-being. This is what Jibin Yu, a second year AHWB doctoral student, is looking to explore in his dissertation research, “Current studies focus more on hedonic well-being – how happy they are, how much pleasure they get, but according to my experience and reading the literature, people also felt that they experienced self-actualization, positive relationships, and sense of purpose in life. Present research on tourism doesn't capture these aspects– referred to as eudaimonic well-being”. Beginning his studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine back in China, Jibin realized that

the best way to improve health and well-being is not through medicine, but what we did, what we do, in our daily life.

It was this awareness that guided him towards exploring what older adults do in their leisure time. During his master’s studies, Jibin spent time researching older Chinese city-dwelling adults who migrated seasonally to rural areas with the intention of improving their health. At the moment, China does not collect data on its citizen’s health and well-being - something that Jibin is looking to take on after his doctorate studies.

Respect and admiration in mentorship

Jibin’s decision to come to the University of Waterloo for the AHWB program was in large part due to the opportunity to work with Prof. Bryan Smale, director of the Canadian Index of Well-Being, “What my supervisor studies is also related to my future work. What I’m doing now is to try my best to study how to develop an index… to capture the quality of life of the Chinese population”. Jibin values his relationship with Prof. Smale and the other faculty members,

Prof. Smale treats me as a colleague, like a potential scholar.

This, he says, has given him confidence in his abilities as a new researcher. Jibin has every intention in staying the course towards an academic career in China, with the hopes to one day adopt the same mentoring approach, “I hope to do my best to support students to encourage them to explore their interests”.

Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Waterloo