Kaiping street

Kaiping - The Heritage of Chinese Migration

ACAM 390 | 3 credits

Apply by January 24, 2020

Applications are reviewed as they are received, so early applications are encouraged.  

  1. Log in to the Gateway online application program
  2. Select “Search Experiences” and type "GSP" to explore Global Seminars programs
  3. Upload the application form for your selected Global Seminar – see Application documents below

Please note that you can apply for up to a maximum of 2 Global Seminars.

Students are encouraged to meet with the Program Director at an orientation session or one-on-one to learn more about the program.


About the course

This course is led by UBC faculty member Henry Yu.

This unique field study in Vancouver, Kaiping, Malaysia, and Taiwan will allow you to explore multi-disciplinary perspectives on the histories, cultures, and geographies of Cantonese migration. These migration networks primarily stem from the “Szeyup” or “Four Counties” area of Canton (Guangdong) Province, the home region of many overseas Chinese who went to Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries.

By visiting the different sites, you will develop an understanding of regional approaches to heritage conservation of historical, cultural, and natural landscapes in Kaiping, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vancouver that will inform the development of their community-based research projects.

Key themes include:

  • an investigation of the historical context of Chinese migration to North America
  • forms and causes of segregation
  • the evolution of food practices and foodways
  • cultural heritage preservation
  • the changing livelihoods of residents and migrants over time and space
  • UNESCO world heritage site designation process

Field excursions in Vancouver’s Chinatown, Burnaby Village Museum, Kaiping Diaolou and Villages, Malaysia, and Taiwan will complement in-class work.

Please note that the program locations and itinerary are subject to change

About the experience

A typical day might include:

  • a lecture by Professor Yu, followed by a walking tour to a local site, museum, market, and/or another cultural point of interest
  • you are expected to dine together for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and will have “off” periods to encourage local exploration

Notable environmental conditions:

  • hot, humid weather with mosquitoes
  • sometimes we’ll get caught during typhoon season, which has resulted in students catching colds in the past. We recommend that students wear long, light linens to stay cool and to remain protected from the sun and mosquitoes.
  • lots of walking and commuting

Sensitive or potentially triggering content:

  • some students find that it is an emotional experience (especially if you have heritage/roots in the areas we are visiting)

In 2019, students from the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Land and Food Systems traveled to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Penang to research the heritage of Chinese migration.  Find out more about their experience by watching the original UBC ACAM 390A feature below.


Accommodation is shared and hostel-style.

General timeline

The program will take place in Kaiping, Malaysia, and Taiwan May 30 - June 20, 2020  Prior to your time in the field, you will be required to attend pre-departure sessions and lectures in Vancouver. Full schedule below.

Vancouver lectures: May 13-May 30

Kaiping/Malaysia/Taiwan: May 30-June 20

Vancouver Lectures/Conference/Showcase: June 21-July 3

ARA funding

This is an Arts Research Abroad (ARA) funded program. ARA is a funding body made of the Faculty of Arts – Dean’s Office, anonymous donors and Go Global that supports research intensive Global Seminars.

The ARA program offsets the cost to students for participation in an ARA course.  70% of the cost may be offset for academically qualified students;  and up to 100% of the cost may be offset for academically qualified students who demonstrate financial need (as determined by Enrolment Services).  The ARA program does not fund course development costs; faculty salaries; costs related to tuition, textbooks, course materials, visas, and vaccinations; or personal expenses incurred by students.

Students are automatically considered for the ARA funding.  Separate application not required.

For more details, please see the Eligibility and Fees and costs section.


Program-specific requirements

This program is open to students in all faculties, however only students in the Faculty of Arts are eligible for ARA funding.  

ARA Eligibility:

  • Be enrolled in UBC Vancouver’s Faculty of Arts
  • Be in their third, fourth, or final year of study
  • Be enrolled in at least 24 credits in the academic year before the program
  • Must be registered in 24 credits in the current academic year, or sufficient to graduate
  • Have a minimum GPA of 70% with no fails or incompletes

Students can only be considered for one major International Learning Award throughout their degree e.g. ARA (Arts Research Abroad) funded Global Seminars, Undergraduate Research Conference.

Fees and costs

CAD $4,800 - $5000 + tuition and flight

CAD $1,440 - $1,500 + tuition if receiving ARA funding

The final fee depends on the number of students in the program. Students do not pay the Go Global fee when applying to a Global Seminar. The Go Global fee is built into the Program Fee and is payable upon acceptance to the program.

Program Fee Includes 
Program Fee Does Not Include



Program-related travel


Program-related excursions


Go Global fee ($415.00)

Travel Visa

*UBC Tuition - Not included. Part of your costs

This amount will differ for domestic and international students. This amount will be assigned to you on the Student Service Centre (SSC) according to normal UBC tuition timelines. Read about tuition fees.

This amount is not determined or applied by Go Global.

All students participating in a Global Seminar will have tuition applied to their SSC account.

*Flights - Not Included. Part of your costs

Travel to the destination  is a separate cost. However, 70 – 100% funding is provided for the flight at a budgeted cost of $1,000. You are responsible for arranging your own travel. You should not book your flight until you are notified to book. All Global Seminars only run if there is a minimum number of students enrolled.

*Incidentals - Not Included. Part of your costs

Some examples include: personal mobile communication, personal transportation that is not related to the learning outcomes of the program, additional meals that are not already identified as part of the program fee, immunizations, Visas

Global Seminars refund policy

Adjustment on deposits

Students are eligible for an adjustment of their deposit under the following circumstances:

Withdrawal after you accept your spot in the program

  • You are eligible to have your Global Seminar deposit adjusted from $750 to $93.25 (ie: you receive a $656.75 credit)

Withdrawal after deposit posted on SSC

  • You are eligible to have your Global Seminar deposit adjusted from $750 to $321.75 (ie: you receive a $428.25 credit)

Withdrawal after deposit due date

  • The deposit and all remaining program fees are completely non-refundable. Exceptions may be determined at the discretion of Go Global. 

Any funds allocated to students through the ARA program must be returned in their entirety.

Students who decide to withdraw their application must submit a request in writing by email to the Global Seminar Advisor at go.global@ubc.ca.


If you are considering applying for a Go Global program and identify with having a disability or pre-existing health condition (mental or physical) which could impact your participation, or if you require academic accommodation, you can contact the following offices and meet with an Accessibility Advisor before the start of your program:

The Centre for Accessibility (Vancouver) 604 822-5844

Disability Resource Centre (Okanagan) 250 807-8053

Pre-departure Policy

Safety Abroad

UBC is committed to preparing students for safe and successful international experiences. In order to achieve this, any student participating in a Go Global Program must complete the following:

  • All UBC Student Safety Abroad requirements
  • Go Global Program-specific pre-departure requirements (includes both online and in-person components)

Failure to successfully complete these and any other requirements may result in withdrawal from the Go Global Program.


Global Seminars Advisor

Student Advising

Drop in advising - Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00-3:00pm

Please email go.global@ubc.ca with your student number in the subject line.

Global Seminars Advisor


Telephone: 604 822 0942

Fax: 604 822 9885

UBC Life Building
6138 Student Union Blvd
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1


9:00 am - 4:15 pm
9:00 am - 4:15 pm
9:00 am - 4:15 pm
9:00 am - 4:15 pm
9:00 am - 4:15 pm