Experiential Learning Spotlight

 

UBC Okanagan offers a wide range of Experiential Learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom. These transformative learning opportunities would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff.

Experiential Learning (EL) opportunities have a practical or applied experience at their core, are intentionally linked to a learner’s academic degree program, personal development and/or career goals, and integrate reflection.

See what our students have to say about some of these opportunities below! Click on Read More to be directed to the student’s story.

1

Akeem Johnson     Co-op

“I have enhanced my writing skills and gotten the hands-on experience in other marketing aspects…”

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2

Mimi Mutahi         Work Study

“From this reflection, I found that I had a lot of points of personal growth and had become bolder in my decisions…”

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3

George Ng Research

“I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to learn the new language to program the board in a short period of time!”

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4

Graham McIntosh Research

“I didn’t think I would learn so much from being put into leadership roles with younger students.”

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5

Holly Yacnuk         Go Global

“One unique thing that really helped me engage in courses outside of my discipline was taking field trips every week…”

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6

Daulton Baird Work Study

“I now find it easier to talk to professors and other professionals where before I was intimidated by them “

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7

Miriam Woldu Work Study

“Working with the Equity & Inclusion office has also helped me find my passion in getting my master’s in public health policy.”

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8

Parsa Rajabi Community Service Learning (CSL)

“I was also able to gain valuable leadership experience by failing and being guided through it within a safe environment…”

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9

Sage Cannon Creative Performance

“My experience has also helped me make connections between things I have learned and my everyday life and other work…”

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Co-op

Co-op Experience

Social Media Marketing Assistant at UBC Okanagan May 2019-2020

  • University Relations (4 months)
  • AVP Students Portfolio (8 months)

How did the experience transform your learning?

I knew that I wanted to pursue a marketing career after my first year, but I didn’t know how I would successfully translate the skills I learned while getting my English degree to marketing.

I came into Co-op with no prior experience in marketing but my colleagues in both University Relations and AVP Students Portfolio were really great because they knew that as an English major, writing would be my biggest asset to my role as a Social Media Marketing Assistant.

Part way through my co-op I switched to a different department (AVP Student Portfolio) and I got to reflect what I had learned so far. During the second part of my Co-op term, I was able to take all that I learned from University Relations and apply it myself, without as much supervision. It really showed me how much I had learned already!

This Co-op has assured me that marketing is the career that I want to continue in the future, and without my Co-op experience, I wouldn’t know for sure.

Through this experience with Co-op, I have enhanced my writing skills and gotten the hands-on experience in other marketing aspects which I can take to future jobs after graduation.

What did you learn that you weren’t expecting to?

I learned communicative skills and was able to do a lot of networking, and meeting people. I also learned the true size of the university, as prior to Co-op I didn’t know how many people are employed by the university. I now realize there’s a lot of people here to connect with, and to gain insight from. The people I’ve met are very knowledgeable about the fields that they are working in, so getting to meet and talk with them is something I didn’t expect to learn from.

How did you learn about the opportunity?

People from the Co-op office presented in one of my English classes. Once that happened, I talked to my aunt who works on the Vancouver campus and she said it’s something that people don’t explore enough, but help them a ton! So, I decided to pursue it.

Learn more about co-op opportunities

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Work Study

Work Study Experience

UBC Equity & Inclusion Office, May 2019 – Present

How did the experience transform your learning?

I’ve always really enjoyed talking through ideas and concepts with people as a way of learning, but in Economics, I felt somewhat limited because our learning is very independent and the concepts are strictly rooted in theory. Working at the Equity & Inclusion Office has provided a space for me to learn through conversation and foster a knowledge exchange that incorporates a wide range of perspectives. My work has also helped me gain the confidence to share concepts with others through conversation, ultimately making those tough conversations more easily achievable.

 

I’ve also made connections with people that I never would have met outside of this job, including the amazing people in the Equity & Inclusion Office, like my colleague, Miriam!

 

Our integration of reflection was in the form of conversational debriefs after each workshop, where we discussed the highlights, our key takeaways, and ways to continue pursuing our message of equity and inclusivity on campus.  As we transitioned from the Summer semester to the Winter semester, we reflected on the projects we had completed, and began preparing for our upcoming semester. During our reflections, I realized how much growth I had already made, and it was really rewarding to reflect on my progress over such a short period of time.

 

What did you learn that you weren’t expecting to?

My time at the Equity & Inclusion Office has opened my eyes to the importance of meaningfully integrating equitable practices and inclusivity initiatives into every space I encounter. I cannot wait to continue immersing myself in Equity-focused work in my future.

 

How did you learn about the opportunity?

A friend of mine told me about the job posting board on the Student Services website. I found the job posting, emailed the contact person, and sent in my resume. As soon as I met the people from the Equity office during my interview, I knew it was the job for me!

 

Learn more about on campus employment 

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Research Project

Research Experience

Lab Technician Assistant, Advanced Thermofluidics Lab, May 2019- Present

How did the experience transform your learning?

I learned things “in the real world” that helped me take my classroom learning to the next level. For example, I learned about hydrogen embrittlement, which is how hydrogen gas molecules can escape through the grains of a material, in the lab. Then in one of my classes we learned about something similar and my mind instantly made the connection between the two and I was able to understand the new concept so much easier.

What did you learn that you weren’t expecting to?

I didn’t know what to expect when I started working in a lab environment as it was the first experience applying my engineering knowledge in the workplace. There were many aspects I had to build on, but most of all, I build on my coding skills. When I began learning to code, I had the mindset that learning to code would be very difficult and time consuming. I was assigned to program one of the circuit boards to work with a sensor that we were using in the lab, and to do this I needed to learn a new coding language. I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to learn the new language to program the board in a short period of time! This made me realize that coding isn’t only about learning the logic and how-to code, but it is about learning how to learn a new language and how-to read technical documentation. This was something that I did not think that I would take away from a lab environment.

How did you learn about the opportunity?

I got involved through a recommendation from another professor. After talking to him frequently in my first year, he pointed me towards two professor’s research projects. I was very excited for the opportunity, so I applied right away!

Learn more about funding opportunities for research projects

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Research Project

Research Experience

Advanced Thermofluidic Lab, Summer 2019 – Present

How did the experience transform your learning?

I realized that I did not have as much knowledge in electrical engineering since most of my courses have been in mechanical engineering, but this year I have been taking more electrical courses and working in the lab and it has helped me evolve my electrical knowledge immensely.

I have also been working with 3D printers and Raspberry Pi’s in the lab, which has exposed me to different aspects of engineering that I hadn’t explored previously. I have even purchased my own 3D printer and Raspberry Pi to tinker with, in my own time.

It was also very interesting to learn about micro-channel diffusion and how it can be a more efficient and cheaper alternative to traditional sensors being used currently.

What did you learn that you weren’t expecting to?

I didn’t think I would learn so much from being put into leadership roles with younger students; I learned how to communicate and share both design experience and knowledge with them.

It is also very interesting working with Masters and Post-Doctoral students because they share their knowledge-base with me and I can help them with their research papers. This lets us both reflect on the work that has been done in a step-by-step format.

I’ve also been able to work directly with clients which has given me the hands on experience of working outside of the classroom. I’ve been able to present design concepts to our clients and conduct field tests of sensors that we have been working on in the lab.

How did you learn about the opportunity?

My professor (Mina Hoorfar) who runs the lab, brought up the different project she was working on in the lab for our APSC 375 class and mentioned that we would be able to apply to work in it over the summer, so I jumped on the opportunity!

Learn more about funding opportunities for research projects

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Go Global

Go Global Experience

Iceland, August – December 2018

How did the experience transform your learning?

Through this experience I learned a lot about myself and how I like to learn. In first and second year I didn’t have much passion for courses that weren’t directly related to my career in Urban Planning, but when I went to Iceland, I really enjoyed learning about their culture and gained a passion for learning about topics outside of my discipline.

One unique thing that really helped me engage in courses outside of my discipline was taking field trips every week to local museums, historic landmarks and other cultural areas to enhance the learning in my cultural studies and history courses.

I spend a lot of time doing self-reflection with my journal while I was in Iceland, especially since it gets dark early in November! Journaling really helped organize my academic and social life effectively.

What did you learn that you weren’t expecting to?

I learned to appreciate smaller things. I had a lot of roommates that were from different countries and there were some cultural differences and language barriers, but we bonded over the small things – would go to the beach together and look up at the Northern Lights at night. It was a really beautiful way for us to bond even though we couldn’t always communicate with each other at home.

The experience has also helped me learn to take advantage of opportunities where I can and that has helped me get involved more around campus including attending student leadership conferences and even getting a couple of jobs on campus.

How did you learn about the opportunity?

In my first year, one of my teammates on the Rugby team told me about her semester abroad in Iceland. It sounded very cool and I wanted to do it! I didn’t know if I wanted to go to Iceland at that point, but the opportunity to study abroad was something I definitely did not want to pass up. I looked into it on the Go Global website and started planning my classes around a semester abroad right away!

Learn more about Go Global

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Work Study

Work Study Experience

Undergraduate Academic Assistant – Office of the Provost and Vice President, Academic – May 2018-Present

Teaching Assistant – Essential Skills for the Digital World – April-May 2018

How did the experience transform your learning?

I learned skills that I wouldn’t have learned in class – particularly web development. Learning these skills allowed me to realize that I can pursue web development after graduation if I choose to. I also had an opportunity to work with people who do not have a computer background. From this, I learned how to share what I know in common language.

My supervisor encouraged me to keep a log of what I am learning. I reflect on it periodically and I am really able to see how far my skills have developed.

From this job I’ve made connections on campus and have great experience to put on my resume. I know that will make a difference after graduation whether I decide to look for a job or pursue my masters.

What did you learn that you weren’t expecting to?

I learned skills like how to write a professional email and how to conduct a meeting. I now find it easier to talk to professors and other professionals where before I was intimidated by them – now I know that I can do it. Also having this job on top of school has forced me to be more organized with my time.

How did you learn about the opportunity?

My professor (Abdallah Mohammed) asked in class if anyone would be interested in helping to teach basic computer skills to people who did not have any experience with computers.  Right after class I connected with him and he put me in touch with two members of the Provost’s office – and this is what it led to.

Learn more about on campus employment 

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Work Study

Work Study Experience

UBC Equity & Inclusion Office, May 2019 – Present

How did the experience transform your learning?

I was hired over the summer by the Equity & Inclusion Office. With the support of the office, we have been able to go to conferences and have conversations with Vice-presidents of different universities. I feel that being able to have conversations about anti-racism and how we tackle similar issues is powerful and a great learning experience.

 

I am an introverted person, so doing workshops where we facilitate conversations with groups of people was initially very nerve-racking for me. Over my work-study term I have grown my social, especially my facilitation skills immensely; and, recently my colleague, Mimi, and I successfully conducted a workshop to one hundred Jumpstart leaders.

 

We do something called “What’s the Word Wednesday?”, where we share two words on our social media platforms, and let people choose a word for us to explain. I know that personally, it has helped me learn some really interesting terminology and concepts, and I found that very transformative.

 

Additionally, we set goals for ourselves and reflect on them for each week, month, or the semester. For me, the most reflective one was after the September conference where we had a meeting to discuss the initiatives that we wanted to take on and what events we were going to conduct this semester. We were given a lot of freedom and support in choosing what initiatives we wanted to tackle, and I think that helped me reflect on what I had learned and where the gaps in my knowledge were.

 

What did you learn that you weren’t expecting to?

I feel that everything that I have learned and done was very different than what I had originally expected. I started my position after finishing my term as the President of the African Caribbean Student club, and I was assuming that I would be doing similar administrative tasks, but it was completely different than I had imagined. I have learned how to design social media campaigns, the skills of facilitation, and so much more.

 

Working with the Equity & Inclusion Office has also helped me find my passion and has been pivotal for my academic career, specifically in the pursuit of a Master’s of Public Health. I feel this choice will be a great way to bridge my work within the office to what I am learning in the classroom.

 

How did you learn about the opportunity?

I had known Jenica Frisque, the Equity Facilitator on campus, beforehand through my work with the African Caribbean Student club, so when I saw the summer job posting on the job posting board, I applied for the position.

Learn more about on campus employment 

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Community Service Learning

Community Service Learning (CSL) Experience

Coding for Kids program – Teaching kids how to code, 2016-2019

How did the experience transform your learning?

Through my experience with the CSL program, I was able to gain valuable insight into teaching and learning. The Coding for Kids program enabled me to work closely with elementary and middle school teachers to create a coding curriculum from the ground up. In addition, by implementing the program in a classroom, I was able to understand the various elements required to deliver a lesson to students. The CSL program provided a safe environment for me to experiment with new concepts which allowed me to continuously improve the program by recognizing previous mistakes and learning from them.

After two years of working on this program, I was delighted to hear that a Canadian charity was interested in partnering with us. Being able to make a positive impact on more children’s education was something I had strived for since day of one of the program and it all came to life through the partnership.

 

What did you learn that you weren’t expecting to?

During the first year of developing the program, I spent a lot of time researching and understanding how curricula are developed within school systems. Although I didn’t have any teaching experience, I knew that by careful planning, I could create a curriculum that was easy to follow and engaging for the children. After completing the lesson plans, my team and I implemented the program into a grade 5-6 split classroom at École Élémentaire Casorso Elementary School. During this process, I finally understood what being a teacher feels like and how overwhelming it can be at first.

In one of the coding lessons for the LEGO Mindstorm project, I presented the class with instructions on how to program their robot to follow a maze. After the instructions were given out, the class started working on their own coding solutions except for two children. After approaching them to offer some help, they began explaining how they found a better solution and why their approach is more efficient in comparison to the instructions provided. Through checking their code, it became evident that they had actually created a better solution despite working on the project for less than a day!. Having the opportunity to learn from a 10-year-old child was definitely not something I was expecting, however, it’s an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

 

How did you learn about the opportunity?

During my first year of university, I was very eager to find volunteer opportunities to get involved. After exploring on-campus resources, I came across the Campus Life office (now called Student Experience office) where I met Lori and Phil from the Community Service Learning (CSL) program. Afterwards, they helped me find multiple volunteer opportunities on and off campus such as Coding for Kids, Society for Learning in Retirement (SLR) and UBC Reading Week: Days of Caring. I have been volunteering through the CSL program for the past 4 years and each year I have been able to grow and learn more skills while continuing my Computer Science degree.

 

Learn more about CSL

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Creative Performance or Exhibit

Creative Performance Experience

Visual, Digital & Performance Arts Program – Focus in Sculpture & Theatre.

How did the experience transform your learning?

My experience has given me the opportunity to apply what I have learned in the classroom in the real world through the research of some of my amazing professors. Getting this real-world experience has given me a new perspective on everything that I do. Given the inter-disciplinary nature of my degree, I can take courses in a variety of disciplines. This has fostered my interests in aspects of fine arts that I had not considered at the start of my degree. Taking courses in different disciplines has also helped me experience the crossover between different disciplines within my faculty, which I have found very interesting. The connections between concepts and applications of different courses are becoming more apparent as I gain more experience in different aspects of my degree.

What did you learn that you weren’t expecting to?

I have learned that I am more creative than I initially thought I was. I have also realized that gaining experience in different disciplines has pushed me to be more open to trying different opportunities that I come across. I have begun approaching everything as a project by considering the planning and practice involved in my previous projects and how I can apply that to new projects. My experience has also helped me make connections between things I have learned and my everyday life and other work that I have been involved in through my professors.

How did you learn about the opportunity?

My involvement in various experiences has mainly come from my professors integrating their research in the classroom and looking for students to help them. I have found that once you put your name forward once, the professors tend to know that you are interested in working with them and may ask you for help on future projects.

 

Learn more about the campus studios, labs and gallery

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