Spanish for Community (SfC) is an Experiential and Community-Based Learning initiative of the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies (FHIS) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). SfC develops linguistic and community-engaged learning projects with partner organizations in the Hispanic community, locally and abroad. The projects offer students transformative language and cultural learning opportunities related to social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion, human and earth rights, public health and education, and community art and culture.

Most of the projects are embedded within Spanish courses at UBC, but students and faculty interested can also participate as task volunteers, collaborators, and graduate or faculty fellows.

Instructors, students, 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, equity 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’s 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:

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