Spanish for Community is a community-based experiential and service learning initiative in the FHIS, that creates, manage and delivers  course-based,  cross-course, and volunteer independent projects and events in partnership with  organizations serving the Spanish speaking community in Metro Vancouver as well as organizations linked with Hispanic communities in Central and South America.  Instructors, graduates, students enrolled in Spanish with different levels from intermediate and up  and collaborators engage in linguistic-based projects,  and community events in partnership with local organizations and grass roots groups bringing awareness to the university community and the general public of different issues in which the Hispanic population is involved,  promoting human rights, social justice, diversity and inclusion. Through partnerships with  organizations and agencies, we work together to enrich and improve cultural understanding and integration for families and individuals whose first language is Spanish, and to create links with our university community.

By participating in these community projects, we have the opportunity to interact and learn from our partners and clients, to expand linguistic skills working hands-on in meaningful and relevant contexts.  Our initiative integrates experiential components into a pedagogical approach. The model also considers sustainability by being sustainably conscious. From our classrooms, students work locally for the benefit of the communities here and globally through projects with partners abroad.

Spanish for Community is aligned with UBC vision and strategic plan linked with teaching innovation and global and community engagement. In the wider scope of the university’s mandate, these Community Service Projects are based on the UBC Community Learning Initiative’s definition that includes the following three key elements: classroom learning; volunteer work that responds to community-identified priorities; and structured reflection activities that challenge students to make connections between what they are studying and their experiences in the community.

Spanish for Community has three  models for projects and events:

  • Course-based projects and events aligned with specific curriculum content and learning outcomes (Experiential and Service-learning course-based and service learning component-option)
  • Cross-courses based projects and events  (involving more than one course) also aligned with shared objectives and transversal content.
  • Independent projects and community events (these projects are run by students volunteers and are related but not integrated to any particular course).

Spanish for Community is also open to all students that wants to participate even if they are not currently enrolled in a course related to a specific project with a proficiency language level low intermediate.  Students with an intermediate level or higher,  bilingual or native speakers are also invited to participate even if they are not enrolled in Spanish courses.

The Spanish for Community model for course-based projects (fully integrated or as option),  involves two-way direct interaction and co-teaching by partners that visit our classes or outside class,  giving between 2 to 4 hours of instruction to our students per project.
The French, Hispanic and Italian Studies Department and the UBC Center for Community Engaged Experiential Learning support and help with logistics and funding.

Our initiative and UBC’s strategic plan

Our vision is aligned with UBC’s commitment to society ( https://strategicplan.ubc.ca )where students, faculty and staff engage with the community to enhance social and cultural understanding, promotes responsible citizenship  while creating knowledge, research and innovation.

Spanish for Community is an initiative that promotes cultural understanding and intercultural communication,  social justice, human and earth rights, respect for all diversity, and the values and principles sustained by Canada and by extent, The University of British Columbia.

Our partners (current and past)

Current (2018-2019):


Little Mountain Neighbourhood House, Vancouver

VAST Vancouver

Mosaic_LGTBQ_I Belong

Abreast in a Boat Society

Past: (2010-2017)


South Granville Senior Center, Vancouver
REACH Multicultural Health Center, Vancouver
Best Birth Clinic, Vancouver

Kinbrace Community Society, Vancouver

Corpus Christi College, UBC Campus

CoDevelopment Canada
FOMCA (Federation of Central American Teachers’ Organizations)
CCDA-Café Justicia (Comité Campesino del Altiplano, Guatemala)

Dr. Maria Carbonetti (FHIS) Director and project designer

Community Liaisons:

Dr. Maria Adelaida Escobar Trujillo

Student Liaison: Jacob Fisher-Credo,  2018

Instructors participating in projects or events 2018-19:

Iris Escuer Riera, MA,  Lecturer

Dr. Olga Caselles, Sessional Lecturer

Community Liaisons Past:

Dr. Maria Adelaida Escobar Trujillo (FHIS),  since 2017

Dra. Carolina Navarrete, Community Liaison (2015-2018)


Sarah Day, 2017

Carmen Miranda Barrios 2011-2014