Lit candle in front of open palm

SOCI 435 (6 Credits)

Partnerships for Participatory Development

Program overview

Applications for this program have now closed.

Course eligibility criteria

Students who are in or have completed their second year of study at UBC. This program is open to both Arts and non-Arts students. 

SOCI 435 has multiple components

  • Pre-departure learning program from January - April 2017
  • Seminars run on campus during Spring term, May 2017
  • 12 weeks of fieldwork in an International Service Learning placement from June- August 2017
  • Return seminar and final coursework on campus in September 2017
  • Post-placement re-entry debrief and International Development Symposium 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

Partnerships for Participatory Development: An International Service Learning Course is a 6 credit course that provides an opportunity for students to better understand how applied research can promote social change, in this case by supporting the design, implementation, and assessment of development projects. Although ‘research’ is the focus, this course is not about the student as a researcher, or about the student’s research project. Rather, this course explores how social research can be employed in international projects for community-based development where collaboration and reciprocal learning are central to the research process. Learning is facilitated through a series of pre- and post-departure seminars and assignments. The seminars are designed to develop not only academic knowledge, but also skills that prepare participants for responsible service work: collaboration, critical reflection, and demonstration of an understanding of the difference between ‘charity’ and work oriented to global justice.

Placement overview

As a part of the SOCI 435 course, you will be enrolled in an International Service Learning placement. Specific placements will be located in Mexico, Bolivia, Costa Rica, India, Kenya, Uganda or other countries where ISL community partners are located. Specific options will be announced in the Winter term of 2016. Below are examples of previous placements for SOCI 435.

Uganda – Literacy & Community Development (Program Assessment)

Students worked with a rural community library to undertake an assessment of youth-based programming and to understand the effectiveness in meeting intended outcomes of leadership development, nutritional knowledge and readiness to take up vocational training. In addition, students participated in the implementation of particular library programming, such as the women's literacy group, computer literacy workshops and primary school reading programs to fully understand the role of youth at the library and the strengths and challenges facing this group in their interactions with the library. Students also developed a report assessing youth programming and opportunities for the future.

Uganda- Literacy & Community Development (Program Development)

Students worked in a small community in the far west of Uganda at a young community library. They contributed to small-scale program development at the library by supporting library outreach to the surrounding community in the form of primary school reading programs, documenting library activities and supporting the creation and maintenance of a library database. The work involved collaborating closely with library staff to further integrate the community library into the fabric of the surrounding community and may include developing reports which can be utilized in securing resources to further realize the vision of the community library.  

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. 

In most cases, you will take public transport to and from your placement.

Post-placement overview

You will participate in post-placement activities in September- October 2017, including:

  • Full Day Re-entry Debrief in September 2017
  • Return Seminar and final coursework in September 2017
  • Presentation at an International Development Symposium in October 2017

Program dates

Date Activity
Mar - Apr 2017 Orientation and pre-departure learning sessions (all successful applicants will be expected to be in attendance at all sessions)
May 2017 Sociology 435 seminar
Jun - Aug 2017 12 week International placement including a facilitated workshop approximately mid-way through (exact dates TBD)
Sep 2017

SOCI 435 Course – Post Placement seminar and assignments due (exact times TBD)

Sep - Oct 2017

ISL Post-placement reflection sessions and International Development Symposium.

**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

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.

The 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.

  • To meet the minimum requirements for ARA funding for SOCI 435, you must:
  • Be a third- or fourth-year Faculty of Arts student
  • Be based at the Vancouver campus
  • Be within a qualifying major for the course (Sociology, International Relations, Political Science Major, or students from the Institute of Gender, Sexuality, Race, and Social Justice)
  • 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 (2015-2016)
  • Be enrolled in 24 credits in the Winter Session (2016-2017) prior to the 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 $3700 - $4,000 $1,110 - $1,200
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 the 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