Feature stories

  • Voices UP! The Comic

    Voices UP!, a play developed and performed by community members, students, and staff at the UBC Learning Exchange, brought to life stories of the Learning Lab, a dynamic arts-driven program for Downtown Eastside residents, as part of a program evaluation.
  • Photo courtesy Chris Koch 2015

    Chinatown Seniors Bring UBC Language Course to Life

    When learning a language, textbooks can only take you so far. Fortunately when UBC Prof. Qian Wang was seeking innovative ways to help third-year language students improve their Mandarin speaking skills, she didn’t have to look too far.
  • Photo courtesy Gabby Korcheva, Binners Project 2015

    Supporting Street-level Research

    When you’re working at street level, research resources can be hard to come by... Unless you’re a binner in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). A growing group of these informal waste recyclers has connected with the Learning Exchange to access and develop research that will help identify economic opportunities and reduce the stigma surrounding their work.
  • Alina binner thumbnail

    Keeping Research Connected to Community

    Alina McKay is passionate about making sure that research taking place in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside can engage and empower community members.
  • Thumbnail

    Seniors Step Up to Share Strengths

    You could have heard a pin drop. All conversation stopped as heads turned toward a small glass-walled meeting room where a petite senior citizen was staging a solo performance of traditional Chinese song. Fuqin Xu sang with the clear, strong voice of a woman half her age.
  • Photo by Martin Dee, 2014

    Coming Back to the Future

    Sometimes moving ahead means going back to where you started, but with new skills. Brad Peters knows about that. Two years ago, he was a learner in a job skills program. Today he’s moved to the head of the class – literally, as a facilitator in the same program.
  • Anna Ward Tutoring English

    Community Learning Puts Potential to Work

    When Anna Ward signed up for summer field school at the Learning Exchange she had no idea it would turn out to be a highlight of her time at UBC. “It was one of the best decisions I‘ve made here,” says the 22 year-old Sociology Honours student. Last summer, as a third-year student, Anna enrolled in the Urban Ethnographic Field School (formerly IVEFS) organized by the UBC departments of Anthropology and Sociology. In six-week field school placements, students learn from and contribute to a variety of community organizations.
  • Freedom to Learn

    Prof Finds Academic Conversations with DTES Residents Rewarding In early 2012, Rima Wilkes, an associate professor of Sociology, led a seminar series for community members at the Learning Exchange. The seminars took an alternative look at Canadian history and society, covering topics such as First Nations’ rights and the experience of the Chinese in Canada. […]
  • Contributing Through Computers is Getting Results

    The Contributing Through Computers Initiative has played a significant role in realizing the potential of residents, supporting them to make a contribution by sharing their computer skills with their neighbours.
  • Laszlo and Sean

    Zoning in to Learning

    If your heart is pumping like crazy and your brain is buzzing, you’re probably there. Outside your comfort zone. It’s a familiar feeling for Learning Exchange workshop participants where both patrons and students come together to discover something new. Human Diversity Fourth-year students Lena Yuen and Michelle Leong recently facilitated a workshop called “Deconstructing Cultural […]
  • Learning Lab Equals New Possibilities

    Ian started attending Drop-In for the coffee. But when the Learning Exchange experimented with some new patron-led activities, Ian proposed sharing his skills.
  • Ian and Jasmine

    Cartooning Links Local Learners

    When a young mother asked for directions at a downtown bus stop, she had no idea she was about to find a mentor, an untapped skill and a way to help her nine-year-old son discover his special talent. All it took was connections.
  • ESL Facilitators' Toolkit

    Small Grant, Big Difference

    With the support of the Rotary Club of Vancouver Chinatown, the ESL Conversation Program facilitators and learners developed a resource library of items to help newcomers learn English. This new Toolkit is packed with lesson materials like photo flash cards and a Pictionary game, to name a few, designed to be intuitively used by facilitators […]
  • Learning Movement Through Dance

    Building Community Connections through Movies and Movement

    During the Winter months of 2012, two UBC students led activities on fill discussion and movement practice that were huge successes for both the participants and the leaders.
  • Presenting Project Findings

    UBC Learning Exchange: Connecting Students, Faculty & Community

    Working with the UBC Learning Exchange and community can be a new experience. For students, it can be challenging but is ultimately rewarding and fun. For faculty who may be contemplating building a community element into a particular course, the Learning Exchange offers an ideal place to get started.
  • Lindsay Gordon & Stephen Toope

    The donor experience: a Q&A with HSBC Bank Canada President and Chief Executive Officer Lindsay Gordon

    HSBC Bank Canada president and chief executive officer Lindsay Gordon comments on why HSBC is committed to supporting the Learning Exchange.
  • Deborah Chen

    Learning Can Take Students by Surprise: The Experience of Deborah Chen, ESL Program Volunteer

    In life, there’s a learning opportunity in every experience — a chance to grow, to think differently about the world around us, our community and the people who live in it, even about ourselves.
  • Snap Happy Feature Story Photo

    Snap Happy: Bringing Community Into Focus

    One of the things people discover when they come to the UBC Learning Exchange is that learning can happen in unexpected ways, and can lead to unexpected results. This was true for members of a small group involved with a Learning Exchange program called Snap Happy.
  • UBC Learning Exchange Crest Logo

    Contributing Through Computers, Building Community

    “Volunteering is a two-way street. When you help other people, you enrich your own life ... you learn from those you teach,” says Ron Sander. Sander is a recently trained facilitator who’s helping absolute beginners learn how to use computers as part of the UBC Leaning Exchange’s Contributing Through Computers program. The program is based in the Downtown Eastside - a place the UBC Learning Exchange is proud to have called home since 1999, offering programs and tools to neighbourhood residents from its location at 612 Main Street.