It’s easy to get stuck in the UBC bubble, but there’s even more opportunity for you beyond our borders. Connect with the community outside the UBC Vancouver campus, network with industry professionals and gain experiences that will help you apply what you’re learning — all while developing valuable career skills.

Build Your Network

Community-Based Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is a core philosophy in our faculty. Applying your knowledge in practical, real-world settings:

  • accelerates your learning;
  • teaches you effective problem-solving skills;
  • bridges the gap between theory and practice;
  • shapes your mindset;
  • delivers high return on your investment; and
  • makes your learning very, very personalized.

As an added bonus, you’ll be building relationships within the community while you’re gaining all that professional experience.

Select LFS courses, including the LFS core series, involve community-based experiential learning (CBEL). Through CBEL, you can partner with not-for-profit organizations, businesses and/or public schools on projects that are driven by community priorities. By taking part in these experiences, you’ll be enriching your grasp of classroom learning through actually applying it, investing your personal energy to make a positive difference, and challenging yourself in new learning environments to better understand what kind of work you’d like to pursue.

The LFS core series courses give you the opportunity to acquire and apply the tools required to meaningfully move the needle on food security and sustainability initiatives. You will incorporate both academic and community perspectives as you apply your knowledge in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable manner to community food-security challenges. CBEL is a key component of the LFS core series, and all undergraduate students take part. You can learn more about the core series here.

If there’s a CBEL component in a given course, your instructor will guide you. In CBEL courses, you’ll have the opportunity to help advance the priorities of community-based organizations working to improve the social and cultural positions of certain segments of society, practice and develop your reflective and critical thinking skills, and interpret your theoretical knowledge in a way that’s useful to community partners — all of which contribute to a stronger foundation for employability upon graduation.

Both local and international community placements are available for CBEL courses.

Check out which courses offer CBEL:


The first of its kind in Canada — and unique in the world — CityStudio is an innovation hub where post-secondary students work with City of Vancouver staff and community members to co-create projects aimed at making Vancouver more livable and sustainable. CityStudio reflects the shift in global education toward providing students with practical learning experiences that will: a) help them get jobs and b) further their efforts to make positive change in the world.

Some UBC courses that have involved CityStudio include ENVR 400, LFS 350, ECON 492d, SCIE 420, FIPR 436A and PLAN 425. Visit the CityStudio website for an up-to-date list of courses.

If you’re registered in one of the affiliated courses, your CityStudio project is part of your coursework. If you have questions about whether these courses can count as a restricted or unrestricted elective credit for your program, please connect with your program advisor (see your program’s webpage to find your advisor’s name).

Cool side note: In April 2018, the LFS 350 team placed first in the CityStudio Project Showcase!

LFS 350 Student Team Places First in CityStudio Project Showcase

A big congratulations to Kelly Xu (Major: Food Market Analysis), Michelle Yee (Major: Food Market Analysis), Rachelle Duckworth (Major: FNH), Selin Oguz (Major: GRS), Simi Wei (Major: FNH) and Zuzanna Sobotkova (Major: FNH) who partnered with City of Vancouver staff to look at waste reduction and diversion strategies around take-out food containers. Their LFS 350 project was entered in a city-wide event on April 6th, CityStudio Hubbub, where students showcase their projects to the CityStudio team, city staff, and members of Vancouver City Council. The LFS 350 team placed first out of 30 teams, competing with groups from the CityStudio program as well as UBC, SFU, BCIT, and Langara. Placing first means that they are invited to present their project findings directly to city council in May, and their presentation also garnered interest for further collaboration with Vancouver Coastal Health representatives.

Still Have Questions?

If you’re unsure about what opportunities will best help you meet your goals, we encourage you to visit LFS Student Services to meet with our student engagement officer, our career strategist, or an academic advisor (or all three!). We’ll help you narrow down your choices and share what we know about how to reach beyond campus to build your network.