Hand raised in African community meeting

ECON 492D (6 Credits)

The Economics of Sustainability: Communities, Markets and Technology

Program overview

Applications for this program are now closed.

Course eligibility criteria: Students who have completed their second year (54 credits) by January 1, 2017 and who have completed a minimum of nine credits in Economics. 

ECON 492D has multiple components.

  • Pre-departure learning program from January - April 2017
  • ECON classes run on campus from January to end of May 2017
  • 12 weeks of fieldwork in an International Service Learning placement from June 1 - August 25, 2017
  • Return seminar and final course-work on campus in September 2017
  • Post-placement re-entry debrief and public engagement presentation on campus in September - October 2017

Pre-departure overview

The pre-departure learning program is designed to prepare you for an international service learning placement. This will include:

  • Pre-departure learning sessions taking place over the academic term leading up to departure led by staff and community development professionals.
  • Creation of a learning and development plan
  • Participant-led events/presentations
  • Facilitated meetings with your placement team to explore learning topics

Course overview

Communities, Markets and Technology is a six credit course integrating an international service learning approach with rigorous academic studies. The aim of the course is to both deepen and broaden students' understanding of the process of economic development as it affects poor communities in Africa, India and Latin America. In particular, students will explore the problems and concerns of developing communities in relation to ways that resilient, healthy communities are able to create sustainable livelihoods, to support rather than deplete the local or regional environment, and to build local economies that ensure the well-being of all community members.

Placement overview

As a part of the ECON 492D course, you will be enrolled in an International Service Learning placement. Specific placements will be announced in Feb/March 2017. 2016 ECON 492D placements that may be located in Mexico, Bolivia, Costa Rica, India, Kenya or Uganda or other countries where ISL community partners are located. Below are examples of previous placements for ECON 492D.

Swaziland - Income Generation and Community Development (Market Assessment)

Past students worked with an international NGO in Swaziland that supports children and families by supporting income generation projects being undertaken by small entrepreneurs in an effort to contribute to economic empowerment efforts. Their work included collaborating closely with staff to conduct a market assessment identifying income generation opportunities, in addition to this they also be supported the development of an entrepreneurial forum to share best practices and facilitate networking among young and experienced small businesses. 

Mexico – Sustainable Livelihoods and Community Development (Feasibility Study)

Past students worked with an NGO in Mexico which works in solidarity with local communities to advance eco-agricultural practices and ensure that reliable forms of income are available for community members.  Their work included collaborating closely with staff to comparatively analyze the market and production for current and proposed agricultural products.

Uganda – Microfinance Support (Program Development)

Past students worked alongside staff at an international NGO in western Uganda which undertakes microcredit activities to advance the role of women in their communities.  Their work supported the continued implementation of an in-house database which supports accurate tracking and reporting on the microcredit program to set the organization up for more robust data analysis and research in the future.

Placements for 2017 are currently being determined by host partners and program staff.

Living environment

In Uganda, Kenya, India and Bolivia you will live with host families in modest conditions. In most cases, you will take public transport to and from your placement. In Mexico and Costa Rica you will live in hostel-style accommodations with modest living conditions on the placement site. 

Post-placement overview

You will participate in post-placement activities in September - October 2016, including:

  • Full Day Re-entry Debrief in September 2017
  • Return Seminar and  final course-work in September 2017
  • Presentation at a public engagement event in October 2017

Program dates

Date Activity
December 04, 2016 Program application is open and will close when full. Applications will be considered in the order they are received until a final deadline.
January - April 2017 Orientation and pre-departure learning sessions (all successful applicants will be expected to be in attendance at all sessions)
January - April 6 + May 2 - 27, 2017 ECON 492D course
June – August 2017 12 week International placement including a facilitated workshop approximately mid-way through (exact dates TBD)
September 2017 ECON 492D Course – Post Placement seminar and assignments due (exact times TBD)
September - October 2017 ISL Post-placement reflection sessions and Public Engagement Presentation

**Please note these dates may be adjusted but will be confirmed prior to offer.

Selection process

To apply please fill out and submit an online application. Successful applicants will be invited to an interview.  After interviews, you will be notified of a decision; successful candidates will be sent an offer letter with further details on the program and detailed instructions on how to accept. You will have approximately one week after receiving the offer letter to accept and pay a program deposit. Your selection into the ISL program includes meeting eligibility requirements, as well as your initial application and your performance in the interview.

Don’t wait to apply, limited spaces exist! 

Eligibility + ARA funding

The Arts Research Abroad (ARA) award will offset up to 70% of the cost (including flight). In cases of demonstrated financial need (determined by Enrolment Services), ARA may fund up to 100% of the program costs and flight.

Students in this course are eligible to be assessed for the ARA award. This award is granted to the top 12 academic performers in the program, who meet all eligibility criteria. Decisions of who will be awarded the ARA funding will be made after selection for the program has been completed. Limited numbers of ARA awards are available.  All students will be assessed automatically for the award. No separate application is necessary.

To meet the minimum requirements for ARA funding for ECON 492D, you must:

  1. Have completed 60 credits of undergrad coursework
  2. Be based at the Vancouver campus
  3. Be a third or fourth-year Faculty of Arts students
  4. Have completed a minimum of 9 credits in Economics
  5. Be enrolled in a qualifying major for the course (Economics, International Relations, Political Science) or be enrolled in an Economics minor with a major in the Faculty of Arts.
  6. Have a minimum of 70% in the top 24 credits of the previous academic year (2015-2016)
  • Priority will be given to students that have 75% in the top 27 credits of the previous academic year
  • Be enrolled in at least 24 credits in the 2016-2017 academic year or enrolled in maximum sufficient credits to satisfy graduation requirements if this is your final year 

Admission to this course is only by application to the International Service Learning program.

Program costs

The cost* of this program may be funded by the ARA award. Please see the Awards & Eligibility section below for more information. The costs below are per student and are yet to be fully determined, but will be within the following ranges:

Full program fee Fee with 70% ARA funding
Uganda $3,900 - $4,400 $1,170 - $1,320
Kenya $3,900 - $4,400 $1,170 - $1,320
Mexico $4,600 - $4,800 $1,380 - $1,440
Costa Rica $4,600 - $4,800 $1,380 - $1,440
Bolivia $3,475 - $3,975 $1,043 - $1,193
India TBD 70% ARA funding available

The program cost includes:

  • Pre-departure learning sessions at UBC
  • Room and board
  • Transportation from the airport to your placement site
  • Orientation in host country
  • In-session debrief and workshop
  • Reflection materials
  • Community partner management fee
  • Program management fee

*Fees may be adjusted before offer. Program costs vary primarily due to cost of living expenses per country and region. Placements may be in other countries where ISL community partners are located.

Additional Information:

All expenses not covered in program costs are responsibility of the student. Costs not included are tuition, airfare*, visas, vaccinations, local transportation while in country, transportation from the project site back to the airport at the end of the placement, personal items, and daily incidentals. 

*Students who successfully obtain the ARA award will receive an approved flight award up to a predetermined maximum depending on the location.  (For example ISL students travelling to Kenya have received $1400 CAD towards the flight in the past).

Apply to the program



Contact an International Service Learning Advisor

We would be happy to answer any enquiries about our programs. Please contact us with your questions, and/or to schedule an advising meeting.


International Service Learning

Office of Regional and International Community Engagement


Iona Building
Room B155
600 Iona Drive
Vancouver, BC V6T1L4

Drop-in advising hours

Mon10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Wed1:00 pm - 3:00 pm