ASTU 401I: Community Based Participatory Research Applications


Program Overview

ASTU 401I is a 3 credit course and an international service learning placement. To apply to ASTU401I, students must first complete its mandatory prerequisite course, ASTU401H, during Winter Term 2 (Jan-Apr 2020). Students can register for the prerequisite course on the SSC here.  ASTU401I requires participation in the International Service Learning Program (see below).

ASTU 401I provides an immersive and engaging course that centers research as a tool for social change and global sustainable development. Although ‘research’ is its focus, the courses are not about you as a researcher, or about your research project. Rather, ASTU 401I explores how reciprocity can be used to guide social research for a community-based partner.




ASTU 401I (2020S, May-October) is 3 credit course which includes an international service learning placement at one of ORICE’s community partners in either Costa Rica, India, Kenya, Mexico or Uganda.  Students must complete the prerequisite course, ASTU401H, in Winter Term 2, prior to taking ASTU401I. Participation in ASTU401I requires submitting an application to ORICE  using the link on the left side of the page.

ASTU 401I  students will be placed in a non-Western country and will work on a community-development project alongside a community partner organization. Within this context, students will work collaboratively with members of their host organization, develop their understanding of local challenges, and enhance their understanding of small-scale ethical research in practice for the organization.  Students will complete in-placement assignments, participate in a mid-placement workshop, contribute to post-placement discussions and present at a public engagement conference upon return to UBC-Vancouver.


International Service Learning Program 

Student enrolment in ASTU401I requires full participation in:

  • ASTU 401H classes on campus from January-April 2020
  • Pre-departure learning sessions from March-May 2020
  • ASTU 401I classes on campus during May 2020
  • 12 week International Service Learning (ISL) placement from beginning of June to the end of August 2020
  • Mid-placement workshop
  • Return seminar and final course-work on campus in September 2020
  • Re-entry debrief and public engagement presentation on campus in September and October 2020


More Information

Students must take ASTU401H before ASTU401I. ASTU 401H is open to students in all faculties with 3rd year status and beyond. Students can register for ASTU 401H through the SSC. Students interested in further developing their understanding of participatory research in an applied, international context are encouraged to apply for the course, ASTU 401I, using the application link on the left side of this page.

ASTU401I's prerequisite course, ASTU 401H, provides an overview of research in the social sciences, informed by post-colonial, feminist, and post-development scholarship.  In particular, the course will examine how power shapes research relationships. In the international context, power operates through North-South relations conditioned by histories of colonialism and imperialism. With these relations in mind, this course will introduce techniques, methods, and tools for collaborative research in cross-cultural contexts. Our goal is to identify research practices that decolonize knowledge seeking in order to promote social justice.

The course will focus on Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) methods, which work to decolonize approaches to conducting research and to promote reciprocity, respect, and resilience. This involves building relationships with community members and developing research projects that bring benefit to the community (reciprocity), placing value and emphasis on the practices and knowledge of the community members (respect), and working in partnership to develop the skills and capacity of the community (resilience). Students in the Social Sciences are trained in a variety of research methods – from survey design to ethnography. This course teaches students how to approach their research in a way that emphasizes reconciliation and diverges from the history of exploitative international research practices that have dominated the past century.

As a part of the ASTU 401I course, you will be enrolled in an International Service Learning placement. Specific placements will be announced in Feb/March 2020. ASTU 401I placements may be located in Mexico, Costa Rica, India, Kenya, Uganda, or other countries where ISL community partners are located.Specific placements for 2020 are currently being determined by host partners and program staff.

Living Environment

In Uganda, Kenya, and India 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.

Date Activity
Now Program application open. Applications to ASTU401I are currently being reviewed in the order received.
January 7th, 2020 First day of lectures for the mandatory prerequisite course, ASTU401H
January 17th, 2020 Last day to register for the mandatory prerequisite course, ASTU401H, on SSC
January-April 2020 Orientation and pre-departure learning sessions (all successful applicants will be expected to be in attendance at all sessions)
May-August 2020 ASTU 401I + 12 week International placement including a facilitated workshop approximately mid-way through (exact dates TBA)
September 2020 ASTU 401I Course – Post Placement seminar and assignments due (exact times TBA)
September-October 2020 ISL Post-placement reflection sessions and Public Engagement Presentation

*Please note these dates may be adjusted but will be confirmed prior to offer. There is no program fee for ASTU 401H aside from regular tuition fees.

The *cost of this program may be funded by the ARA award. The finalized cost per student is yet to be confirmed, but will be within the ranges in the table below.

Location 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
India $3,900 – $4,400 $1,170 – $1,320

NOTE: The ISL Program fee is separate from UBC course tuition. Tuition dues will be appear on your Student Services Centre account at the beginning of the term(s) in which you receive course credit.

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 part way through your placement
  • 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

Program cost does not include:

The following expenses are not covered in program costs and are the responsibility of the student.

    • 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. You will be required to bring your own laptop.

*Students who receive ARA funding will have 70-100% of the cost of airfare funded.

This course is eligible for the Arts Research Abroad & ORICE Regional and International Service Learning Award.
More information about funding options can be found here.

Selection Process

Applications for ASTU 401I are now open. The deadline for the first round of applications is October 27th. To apply please fill out and submit an online application via Gateway (link in left sidebar). Applications are processed in the order they are received. 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. Selection into the ISL program is based on whether you meet the eligibility requirements, your written application and your performance in the interview.

Pre-Departure Learning Program Overview

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

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

Post-Placement Overview

You will participate in post-placement activities in September – October 2020, including:

  1. A full day to debrief in September 2020
  2. Return seminar and final coursework in September 2020
  3. Presentation at a public engagement conference in October 2020