UBC Students

Discover a unique learning experience in the
heart of Vancouver.

Students at the UBC Learning Exchange

When you get involved at the Learning Exchange, you’ll be learning in the Downtown Eastside alongside local residents. It’s a powerful real-life learning experience – the only one like it in Canada. You’ll get practical skills and a better understanding of your strengths and yourself.

Come to contribute and leave with a lifetime of skills

Through working with local residents, you can gain facilitation, administration, communication, and other transferable skills. Many students get inspiration for future careers by applying classroom learning in a real world context.

Build your confidence in a dynamic neighbourhood

We support our students with a variety of orientation materials such as videos and walking tours of the Downtown Eastside. The Learning Exchange is a safe environment to learn about other cultures and issues faced by immigrants and marginalized people. While you’re here, we’ll help you identify and develop your strengths and encourage you to step outside your comfort zone as you connect with local learners.

Grow as a learner and a leader

You’ll meet other UBC students from a wide range of academic backgrounds, knowledgeable staff and community members with a lifetime of experience to offer. It’s a chance to be a learner, facilitator and a leader, and to build relationships and perspectives for the future.

How does it work?

Any UBC student can volunteer. We’ll talk to you to find out what fits your interests and our needs. Opportunities range from leading conversation groups to tutoring computer users. Most students contribute 1-2 hours a week for an academic term. You can also work with us during academic breaks and over the summer.

We also welcome students completing coursework. We work with faculty to create customized community-based learning experiences. These range from working on class projects to completing entire courses in the DTES. Student experiences can take place at the Learning Exchange or at our partner community organizations. If you’re here as part of a course, you’ll be supported by Learning Exchange staff who can help with tips on navigating this complex and vibrant community.

Ready to try a new way of learning? Come visit us Tuesday to Friday 1-4:30 p.m. at 612 Main St. to find out more or contact our Student Learning Coordinator Katie Forman at katie.forman@ubc.ca.