Community-Based Experiential Learning

The Faculty of Arts and the UBC Centre for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) support opportunities for you to apply your academic knowledge in community contexts through community-based experiential learning (CBEL).

Through CBEL, you can engage beyond the university to tackle complex real-world issues in a collaborative environment with community organizations.

By taking part in these experiences:

  • you apply your classroom knowledge to enrich your grasp of it,
  • invest yourself to make a positive difference, and
  • challenge yourself in new learning environments to better understand the type of work you’d like to pursue.

Courses with a CBEL Component

Take a course with a CBEL component and be guided by the course instructor. In CBEL courses students have the opportunity to:

  • interrogate and apply course-based knowledge,
  • participate in advancing the priorities of community-based organizations working to improve the social and cultural positions of certain segments of society,
  • practice and develop their reflective and critical thinking skills, and
  • interpret theoretical knowledge so it is useful to community partners.

Community Involvement Outside of Courses

Participate in a short-term CBEL project or one- or two-term placements with community partners including inner-city schools and non-profit organizations. You will receive support and training from UBC CCEL staff.

Reading Week Projects

Short-term Reading Week Projects take place over three days in February. Engage in the community on hands-on projects within a group or individually. Projects range from designing and running after-school programs about nutrition, gardening, and healthy living at local neighborhood houses or inner city schools to working with seniors on documenting their personal histories and most memorable experiences.


Ongoing Trek placements take place over the academic year. In Trek, you become part of a team of UBC students who support a community partner from October to April. Trek projects can range from mentoring children in areas such as literacy, math, science, and the arts to supporting adults living with HIV/AIDS.


Madeleine Meek, CBEL Officer, Arts
604-822-1943 |
UBC Centre for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL)