Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This FAQ answers many questions about applying to the ISL program. Please read carefully to see if your question has been answered here.

International Service Learning (ISL) provides students the opportunity to contribute towards important projects led by community partners around the world. ISL challenges participants to apply their discipline to real-world issues while aiming to make a positive impact in solidarity with their host organization. ORICE has identified six key values through the Ethics of International Engagement and Service-Learning (EIESL) Project. We strive to enact these in all of our work with our students, instructors, and community partners. Find out more about ORICE and ISL here.

An academic course is a course-based placement, which pairs a course and an ISL placement together, in subjects such as history, economics, sociology, or psychology and allows students to earn course credit in a unique learning environment that fosters the application and critique of theory to practice.

In a co-curricular program, students apply directly to partner with a particular community on a focused issue for twelve weeks and assist their community partners in implementing projects that produce positive change. Co-curricular programs are not for course credit.

Students in co-curricular programs apply directly to a community partner organization whereas for academic courses, student placements for community partner organizations will not be determined until after the application. All placements require students to be a good fit and well prepared for the experience of going abroad. Previous work experience needs to be an asset for a student participating in a co-curricular program.

Regarding the application process, eligibility and funding:

You need to be in 3rd year by the time the program starts and fit the criteria for course prerequisites.

The offered courses and ISL program is based out of UBC Vancouver. Many of the programs have class that runs in May as well as mandatory pre departure sessions that requires in person attendance at the Vancouver campus. Having said this, UBCO students are welcome to apply as long as they are able to meet these attendance requirements.

Students graduating in May are eligible for our academic ISL programs, but they must postpone their graduation till fall. This means that you are eligible to take part in the program if you are in your last semester at UBC, but you are not able to officially convocate in May, as you must be a UBC student to participate in our programs, and the programs run beyond May.

We often have students in this situation, who end up completing all of their degree requirements, and completing the ISL program as part of their last involvement of their undergrad.

Students earn credit for academic course placements but not for co-curricular programs. Some of our programs may fulfill specific course requirements for specialization programs. Your academic advisor is the best line of contact with regards to specific requirements for your degree.

Check out if you meet the ARA eligibility requirements here to get an idea of if you would be offered the scholarship.

For the Arts Research Abroad Award (ARA) and the Regional and International Service Learning Award eligibility, visit our funding opportunities page.

The individual interview is behavioral so it asks you to draw a lot on your own personal experiences so there are no right or wrong answers. One thing we do ask you to bring is your resume!

Regarding the placement:

Placement locations depend on the course and on our community partners.
ASTU 401H+I possible locations: Costa Rica, Mexico, India, Kenya or Uganda.
ASTU 401G locations: Bangalore, India.
ECON 364B possible locations: Kenya, Uganda, Mexico, India, or Costa Rica. Click for here a link to some examples of previous placements for this course.
APSC 461+462 possible locations: Mexico, Costa Rica and India.

Please see both Community Partners and Programs pages for more information.

Placements are typically announced in March after a lot of communication with our community partners and determining what they need for the term. Next, we allow the ISL students to rank and submit the different options and we take this into consideration when determining placements– keeping the needs of community partners at the forefront of our minds.

Placements for summer 2020 are currently being determined by host partners and program staff. Please visit the Programs page and find the specific course you are interested in, you will find examples of other placements towards the bottom of the page.

Here is an example of a previous placement:
Kenya: Econ 364B student interns have worked in southwestern Kenya with a community partner organization that is working to determine financial models that will facilitate the continued growth and operations of the education facilities aimed at the girl child. The intern worked with the team to identify models that will allow for a sustainable balance of students in the years to come. In addition, interns explored income-generating opportunities and conduced feasibility research and cost-benefit analyses on potential income generation opportunities such as establishing a community health facility or water point in the community.

Students going on placement will generally be paired with another student either at the same organization or going to the same location. There will be also be a lot of ongoing support from ORICE, fellow ISL students, community partners and in-country representatives throughout the duration of your placement.