Current programs

Landscapes as complex social-ecological systems: Kluane Lake, Yukon

Due to the situation around COVID-19, this program will not be running in 2020, however it is planned to run again in 2021. 

This course will prepare students to critically assess and analyze the challenges and opportunities related to sustainably managing human interactions with the environment at the landscape scale, within in a diverse range of social, cultural, and economic contexts and in consideration of the inherent complexity of human-environment systems.

Using the Kluane Lake region, Yukon Territory as our study area, we will be exploring how historical and contemporary interactions between humans and the environment have shaped the present landscape. We will also explore how environmental and social drivers of change shape the landscape over scales of space and time, and discuss future resilience and vulnerability in this context. The field component of the course will cover present-day perspectives and visions of the landscape and use by different groups, as well as historical and contemporary natural resource management governance systems and approaches by First Nations, Parks Canada, and the territorial government.

This course will be relevant for graduate and upper-level undergraduate students studying environmental science, natural resource management, geography, or related fields.

Instructor: Lael Parrott, Professor in Sustainability, Departments of Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences and Biology, UBC Okanagan

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the term, students will be able to:

  • Describe how conceptual models of social-ecological systems are applicable at the regional landscape scale.
  • Understand how problems in environmental management or conservation can be resolved through a systems-level perspective that incorporates the knowledge and perspectives of different stakeholders.
  • Describe the key characteristics of a complex system and explain how these apply to a landscape with a special emphasis on thresholds, non-linearity, and feedback loops.
  • Propose how to integrate the inherent uncertainty of social-ecological systems into forecasting and prediction efforts.
  • Understand the concepts of resilience, panarchy, adaptive capacity and vulnerability as they apply to social-ecological systems, and in the specific context of landscapes.
  • For a given landscape context, propose policy, stewardship, management or other interventions that may contribute to achieving societal, economic and ecological objectives over the long-term.


The course will involve preparatory readings and a field component. The field component will be held at the Kluane Research Station, Kluane Lake, YT and surrounding area. The station is situated next to the massive Elias Range and Kluane National Park. We will be exploring the region by vehicle and on foot (day hikes) and interacting with regional land managers and stakeholders. Snow is possible in September and students should be prepared for variable weather conditions.


All meals and accommodation will be provided by the Kluane Lake Research Station. Detailed information about the station and accommodation can be found on the website and in the station manual (PDF).

This program will run from September 8 – 18, 2020.

Enrolment in a relevant graduate degree program or in the fourth year of a relevant undergraduate degree program. Only exceptional (first class standing) undergraduate students will be accepted. Limited spots are available for this program.

A good level of physical fitness is required to participate in day hikes or walks.

Program fees TBD*.

*The final fee is dependent on the number of students in the program. We expect to have an estimated range available by mid-March.

Included in program fee Not included in program fee
  • Accommodations
  • In-Territory group transportation
  • Meals
  • Wifi
  • Guest lectures
  • Go Global fee
  • Flight
  • UBC tuition (three credits)
  • Health or travel insurance
  • Immunizations (if necessary)
  • Visas (if necessary)
  • Personal spending money for communications, snacks, souvenirs, etc.


Complex social-ecological systems

Survey of recent knowledge and understanding related to the study and management of landscapes as complex, human-environment systems

Rural and remote nursing practicum

This program is open to nursing students only.

Applications for this program are now closed.

To apply, please complete the application form and submit it to

Rural and Remote Nursing Application

This unique learning experience provides nursing students with the opportunity to apply several nursing concepts and skills in a rural and/or remote setting in Canada. Placements include, but are not limited to: Haida Gwaii, Oliver, Osoyoos, Enderby, other local rural communities in BC, and in Dawson City, Yukon.

This nursing practicum placement aims to provide students with an opportunity to apply and further their knowledge and skills in the areas of community engagement, health promotion, community identified Indigenous health priorities, cultural safety, and acute care/emergency services.

This program also aims to contribute positively to communities that are under-served and experiencing disproportionately high levels of health inequities. Students will have a faculty supervisor, but will be primarily working with a nurse within the community.

This rich immersion opportunity aims to help students better understand the complex health challenges that impact people with limited healthcare resources. Many students will be living in the communities in which they are learning. Students may have access to student housing, while others will be living in hotels or motels within the community.

Students are expected to be immersed in the community, and will be expected to give back to the communities in which they are placed. Students will also be expected to complete pre-practicum modules specific to rural nursing, the ethics of global health practicums, and cultural safety.

General information on two communities and the offered health services:

Dawson City, Yukon
A town located on the Yukon River approximately a six-hour drive north of Whitehorse (or one hour by plane). Its population is about 1,400, approximately 500 of whom identify as First Nation. Dawson is a popular tourist destination and its population rises to about 10,000 in the summer months.
Dawson has a six-bed community hospital and offers ambulatory care, emergency services, and diagnostics. Unstable patients are transferred to Whitehorse General Hospital via air ambulance.

Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
Formerly called the Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida Gwaii is a group of islands located approximately 60 kilometers off the Northern Pacific Coast of Canada. Approximately 4,500 people call Haida Gwaii home and, of that population, almost half of the islands’ population belong to the Haida Nation.

Healthcare services:

Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre – Xaayda Gwaay Ngaaysdll Naay
The Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre (also known as Xaayda Gwaay Ngaaysdll Naay) offers a team approach to care. Services provided include: general practice, low-risk obstetrics, emergency coverage including closed reductions, minor surgery, and stabilization of trauma and critically ill patients for transport when necessary. Health Centre services include a health clinic, public health, home support, diabetes and chronic disease support, infant development program, mental health and addictions, and the Haida Gwaii Cancer Care program. The hospital has eight acute care beds. The major medical centre transfer place is Prince George.

Queen Charlotte Medical Clinic
The in-hospital clinic offers a multi-disciplinary team of physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals. The clinic has family physicians and nurse practitioner support.

Sandspit Medical Clinic
This community clinic offers multi-disciplinary care involving nurses, physicians, mental health counsellors, physiotherapy, and home care services.

Xaaynang.nga Naay/Skidegate Health Centre
This community clinic offers services provided by a multi-disciplinary team including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and allied health services. Programs include nurse practitioner and physician clinics, community health, maternal and child health, dietitian, mental health, and support with addictions.

The Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre
Located in Masset, the hospital services include: general medicine, laboratory, x-ray, community, public, and mental health services. The hospital is staffed 24/7.  The hospital has four acute care beds and four long-term care beds. There are limited emergency services, however the emergency department is open 24/7. The health care facility also offers prenatal care.

Early November to December, 2019

Early January to February 2020.

Students need to complete 240 hours over a maximum of an eight-week period.

Week one:

Students will be introduced to their ‘preceptor’ and orientated to the community and practice site. Students will be expected to contact their faculty supervisor to map out learning goals.

Week two to eight:

Students will have a shared experience of community practice and acute care practice. This will be organized between the student and the faculty supervisor.

Final week:

Students will be expected to present on their experience. This will also be arranged by the faculty supervisor and the preceptor.

Only Nursing students can apply. Students must be in fourth year and must have completed all of the cultural safety modules. Students must also take either the advanced community course (NRSG 428) or the advanced global health course (NRSG 429). Students must also have strong academic standing.

Program fees will be between $1,500 to 2,000*.

*The final fee is dependent on the rural placement.

Note: The program fee will be offset by $1,000 for UBC students qualifying for the Go Global Award (e.g. those students with a 70% average in their best 9 credits from Term 1 of the 20119-20 academic year). If you have any pass/fail courses, we will assess your average with advice from your faculty.

NRSG 434 (4/8):

Practice electives

Preceptored advanced practice experience(s) provides opportunities for evidence-informed practice in varied contexts*. Application of knowledge, skills, and abilities from related advanced nursing theory course(s). Pass/Fail. *Dependent on availability

Prerequisite: All of NRSG 421, NRSG 422, NRSG 432. A minimum of three credits of nursing electives related to practicum context, and recommendation of practice advising committee (NRSG 438 or NRSG 439).

Global health practicum: Ghana and Zambia

This program is open to nursing students only.

Applications for this program are now closed. Applications for March 2021 will open in August/September 2020.

2020 Nursing Application


UBC Okanagan undergraduate nursing students have the opportunity to work with diverse populations internationally in low- and middle-income countries. This consolidated practice experience is designed to provide opportunities for students to integrate, consolidate, and expand on concepts from previous learning.

This practicum will be in both Ghana or Zambia, however students will only attend one country for the duration of the program. Students will be required to indicate their country of preference on their application form. The global health practicum is focused on community development, providing students the opportunity to gain insight into global health issues and cultural safety.

Students choosing to participate in this practicum will work in a variety of settings, including: rural and remote community health clinics, government funded health centres, school and university settings, and a number of non-government organizations.

International practice placements cannot be guaranteed. If circumstances or political situations change, the experience may be cancelled, or students may be called back from the experience. If this occurred you would complete NRSG 434 in Canada and we would do our best to fully refund you of your program fee.

An information session will be held Thursday, September 12.

Information Session Presentation (pdf)

The general timeline for this five-week practice placement is early-March to mid-April, 2020 (including travel time). Anticipated dates are March 8 – April 10/15 (Zambia/Ghana). Exact dates will be confirmed by November. Prior to departure there is one week of mandatory seminars (3).

Week one:

Preparatory seminars and labs (Kelowna and then approx. three days travel time to location).

Week two to five:

Practicum begins. Students will be rotated through various settings throughout the four weeks in the country and then a debrief before coming home. Students may continue with personal travel following completion of the practicum in the country.

Practicum should be complete by mid-April 2020.

Review the out of region practice placement guideline (PDF). You must meet the out-of-region requirements to be considered for a Global Health placement. In addition, the following requirements must be met:

  • Students in good academic standing that have successfully completed Nursing 431.
  • Membership and evidence of participation in the Global Nursing Citizens club.
  • GPA above 72%.
  • Consistent satisfactory practice in all domains on midterm and final practice evaluations.
  • Exemplary attendance record in practice courses.
  • No records of unprofessional conduct.
  • Proof of current CPR.

If you have any questions about eligibility email Jeanette Vinek from the School of Nursing (

Program fees will be between $2,700 to $3,300. The final fee is dependent on the number of students in the program.

Note: The program fee will be offset by $1,000 for UBC students qualifying for the Go Global Award (e.g. those students with a 70% average in their best 9 credits from Term 1 of the 2019-20 academic year). If you have any pass/fail courses, we will assess your average with advice from your faculty.

Included in program fee Not included in program fee
  • Accommodations
  • Most on-site transportation
  • Entrance fees*
  • Guest lectures
  • Go Global fee
  • Flight
  • UBC tuition
  • Meals
  • Health or travel insurance
  • Immunizations (if necessary)
  • Visas (if necessary)
  • Personal spending money for communications, snacks, souvenirs, etc.

*Cultural performances, national parks entrance (site specific), and other group activities.

NRSG 439 (8):

Global Health Practicum

Advanced practicum provides opportunities to engage in an immersive global health experience in a variety of settings*. Students will practice in collaboration with global health partners. The focus is on application of global health and cultural safety competencies. Pass/Fail.

*Dependent on availability and cost of travel is in addition to course tuition.

Prerequisite: All of NRSG 421, NRSG 422, NRSG 429, NRSG 432, and approval of application

Community, creativity, and communications

We are no longer accepting applications for this program.

2020 East africa Application form


What does travel and travel writing enable us to explore — about not only the places and people we encounter, but also about ourselves? How are places represented and people’s stories told — or not told? How can sharing diverse ideas and perspectives lead to understanding and mutual benefits across disciplines and across cultures? How can creative and cultural production inspire social change and community building, both locally and interculturally?

Students participating in the Go Global East Africa program will explore such questions, while benefiting from experiential learning in Tanzania and Kenya that considers a vast range of cultural perspectives, creative works, social initiatives, educational models, and community-building strategies.

From excursions to artisans’ collectives and local markets to visits at local schools and conversations with East African educators, students will have opportunities to learn from a variety of grassroots perspectives. Program participants will gain further cultural insights via readings, performances, and opportunities for one-on-one conversations with leading-edge East African writers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, and social justice leaders.

Experiences in both rural and urban settings in Tanzania and Kenya will provide a diverse range of experiences and perspectives. Students will also have opportunities to explore some of Africa’s most compelling wildlife reserves.

Beyond the official program, those who wish to stay in the region after the program concludes may choose to participate in an additional, optional safari to the famed Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. Other options beyond the program include a Mount Kilimanjaro climb or a visit to the island of Zanzibar. Our hosts and guides in East Africa are happy to help with arrangements so that everyone can experience the journey of a lifetime.

With coursework plus plenty of opportunities for self-directed academic pursuits and/or creative projects, students in the Go Global East Africa program will immerse themselves in diverse experiences, while developing a range of interdisciplinary and intercultural communication skills.

For some information on previous Global Seminar Programs that have run to Tanzania, view the video below. Note: this year’s focus will be different from previous years.

May 4 to May 22, 2020 (optional wildlife safari to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater from May 23-28)

Week one (May 4-8): 

  • Orientation to the Nguruma Village, Tanzanian culture and educational systems, and Kiswahili language.
  • Excursions to local schools, markets, artisans’ workshops, coffee-growing regions, family farms, and ecological reserves, with experiences ranging from cooking traditional foods to writing and photography.

Week two (may 11-15):

  • Workshops on writing skill development and interdisciplinary communications
  • Wildlife safari in Tarangire National Park, famed for its elephants and giraffes
  • Visit a Maasai village and learn about Maasai ways of life
  • Immersion in a Chagga village, including rare experiences to become involved with traditional dancing and songs performed by elders, and opportunities to exchange ideas with residents of all ages
  • Hiking and overnight camping at Mount Kilimanjaro’s Shira Plateau

 Week three (May 18-22):

  • Author visits, guest speakers/performances, and conversations with leading East African writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, and social activists from Kenya and Tanzania
  • Travel to the greater Nairobi area of Kenya, where students will encounter a vibrant urban music, cultural, and literary scene
  • Workshops on writing and interdisciplinary communications, with individualized feedback from the Program Director
  • Community dinner to wrap up the official program

Week four (**optional may 23-28**):

  • Optional four-day safari to the world famous Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. The Safari is optional at an additional cost of $900 USD.
  • Additional trusted contacts and resources for student wishing to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or pursue travels in neighbouring regions, such as the island of Zanzibar, will be provided for those interested

All weeks of the program will include:

  • Excursions and involvement with cultural, artistic, environmental, and/or social initiatives.
  • Classroom instruction in writing and communication skills applicable to various disciplines.
  • Reading and discussion of travel writing, East African literature, and diverse forms of creative and cultural production.
  • Opportunities for student-defined projects and/or creative production.
  • Options for hiking, biking, creative writing, artistic production, photography, local cuisine, and cultural immersion.
  • Experiences within a small cohort of 20 UBC students total.
  • Individualized one-on-one skill development and meetings with the Program Director.

Prerequisite: At least one 100-level English course (such as ENGL 112, ENGL 114, ENGL 150, ENGL 151, or 153) or APSC 176.

Students from all disciplines and degree programs are encouraged to apply. Students do NOT need extensive literary backgrounds to enjoy and excel in this program, as it is designed to welcome students from all disciplines.


The program is comprised of two courses (3.0 credits each):

  1. ENGL 395 E – Beyond Borders: Strategies for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Communication; and
  2. ENGL 395 F – Writing a Place, Writing a Self: Travel Writing and East African Cultural Production

Successful program completion will earn six (6) 300-level arts elective credits.

English and Cultural Studies majors and minors** are eligible to have one 3.0-credit course count as a third-year ENGL course towards their major, with slight course modifications as per curriculum requirements. Please consult Go Global or Program Leader for details.

** Vancouver students will need to discuss with their advisor how these credits will work towards their degree requirements

Program fees $3,500-$3,800*.

*The final program fee depends on the number of students in the program.

Note: The program fee will be offset by $1,000 for UBC students qualifying for the Go Global Award (e.g. those students with a 70% average from the best nine credits during the 2019-20 academic year). If you have any pass/fail courses, we will assess your average with advice from your faculty.

Included in program fee Not included in program fee
  • Accommodations
  • On-site group transportation
  • Some meals
  • Entrance fees
  • Guest lectures
  • Go Global fee
  • Flight
  • UBC tuition
  • Remainder of meals
  • Health or travel insurance
  • Immunizations (if necessary)
  • Visas (if necessary)
  • Personal spending money for communications, snacks, souvenirs, etc.)

The program is comprised of two courses students will take concurrently. Successful program completion will earn six (6) 300-level arts elective credits during summer Term 1.

ENGL 394B (summer term 1, 2020):

Writing a Place, Writing a Self: Travel Writing and East African Cultural Production examines travel writing and portrayals of East Africa in international media, journalism, and film, contrasted alongside contemporary East African literature and cultural productions. Considerations of diverse social issues, educational systems, and environmental challenges – as well as the intersections between cultural production and empowerment – will encourage students to consider the dynamics of how stories and knowledge are created, valued, and shared. Readings, film viewings, response assignments, and opportunities to learn directly from East African writers, cultural producers, and social justice leaders will enhance students’ understanding of East African cultures, cultural productions, and the complicated dynamics of travel and tourism, alongside contemporary issues relevant to local and global communities.

ENGL 394C (summer term 1, 2020):

Beyond Borders: Strategies for Interdisciplinary, Intercultural Communications immerses students in local Tanzanian and Kenyan cultures. Opportunities for experiential learning and developing strategies for interdisciplinary and intercultural communication will enable students to advance their own writing and communication skills, specific to their discipline but also with a focus on communicating beyond it. Students will have the opportunity to design and pursue an independent project, which could include a creative project, that reflects their interests and academic trajectory.

Great article from a participant in the 2019 program.

Joanna Cockerline is cross-appointed in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies and the Faculty of Management at UBC, Okanagan campus, where she has taught since 2011. She teaches contemporary literature, composition, and communications courses, and is especially enthusiastic about bringing intercultural perspectives into her courses. In 2018, Joanna was nominated by students for the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies Excellence in Teaching Award.

Joanna led the Go Global Tanzania 2019 program, and now looks forward to also incorporating experiences in Kenya into the Go Global East Africa 2020 program. Integrating experiences in Kenya was inspired by Joanna’s previous visits to the country as well as by her travels to Nairobi in 2019 to present and participate in workshops as part of the 2019 African Writers’ Conference (AWC). The theme of AWC 2019 was “Cultural Stereotypes in African Literature: Rewriting the Narratives for the 21st Century Reader”, and the event brought together writers, scholars, filmmakers, musicians, and social justice activists from across the African continent and beyond. Passionate about the insights meaningful connections across cultures can inspire, Joanna has travelled extensively in 14 countries in Africa, as well as in numerous additional continents across the globe.

Joanna’s teaching is further informed by her work as a writer, editor, and communications instructor in the private sector. She works with companies and organizations across a diverse spectrum, from environmental initiatives and engineering firms to not-for-corporate-profit community organizations. She is also deeply involved as a nighttime outreach worker and literacy mentor for a grassroots community organization dedicated to women working and/or living on Kelowna’s streets.

Joanna is a CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Literary Award winner for a short story set in East Africa. She has published fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and journalism in literary journals, newspapers, and national and international magazines.

Beyond her love for reading and writing, Joanna enjoys hiking, photography, attempting to cook a variety of cuisines from around the world (with the emphasis on “attempting”!), enjoying the outdoors, and learning from the diverse perspectives of everyone she meets.

Joanna draws upon her connections in East Africa to provide students with opportunities for meaningful experiences and considerations in an intercultural, interdisciplinary context. In addition to the academic investigations, coursework, and creative possibilities the program enables, she looks forward to getting to know each students’ interests and goals to collectively create an incredible experience living and learning together in East Africa.

GEOGRAPHY: Rural sustainability in Central Italy


We are no longer accepting applications for this program.

2020 Italy Application form


This program will be led by Dr. Donna Senese.

This experiential seminar explores the historic and contemporary connections between local food and wine and the tourism industry in the rural countryside of Tuscany. Within a framework of sustainability students participate in local food and wine production and agritourism consumption. This program fits with UBC’s growing focus on sustainability and the international transferability of those concepts. Lessons from Tuscany, where traditional and typical food and wine systems have combined with tourism to sustain the rural countryside can inform local sustainability efforts in British Columbia.

Students are housed at historic Castello Sonnino, a 13th century estate of 150 hectares including olive orchards, market garden, vineyard and winery just outside of Firenze, near the village of Montespertoli. Our hosts, the de Renzis Sonnino family are dedicated to preservation of cultural and environmental heritage and their estate is the only operating farm, winery and historic site in Tuscany to offer university students on site experiential learning opportunities. Students will live and work within the castle at the winery, orchards, gardens and vineyards experiencing first hand the tenants of the slow food, and sustainable practices of vineyard management, food production, olive oil and winemaking. Students will have their own traditional Tuscan kitchens and are offered cooking classes and workshops on traditional markets and food and wine culture and consumption. Field excursions, tours and tastings at wineries, vineyards and farms that practice sustainable methods of production and encourage sustainable consumption through out Tuscany are also included. Guest lectures in sustainable practices of tourism, wine and food production from scholars at the Universities of Firenze, Siena, Torino and Roma Sapienza are also provided.

Dates: May 3 – 24, 2020

Week one:

Introduction to Castello Sonnino and Montespertoli. Introductory workshops on Italian language, wine and food culture, wine appreciation and production in Central Italy and introductory cooking class. Vineyard and orchard management as well as organic and biodynamic agricultural workshops in Pisa, other field excursions to market life in Montespertoli, and Firenze and the wine and food trails of Chianti including, San Gimignano and Greve in Chianti.

Week two:

Workshops on winery management, production and marketing. Guest lectures on sustaining wine and food culture, and the sustainable agritourism. Field excursions continue on the Chianti trail in Radda in Chianti and Montalcino and Pienza.

Week three:

Final lectures on sustaining rural places through tourism, wine and food. Workshops on soil, carbon farming and agricultural biodiversity, organic production and ancient grain and seed preservation. Field excursions continue on the food and wine trails to Volterra and Arezzo.

An interest in Sustainability is important but previous study isn’t required.

Program fees $3,600-$3,800.

*The final program fee depends on the number of students in the program.

Note: The program fee will be offset by $1,000 for UBC students qualifying for the Go Global Award (e.g. those students with a 70% average from the best nine credits during the 2019-20 academic year). If you have any pass/fail courses, we will assess your average with advice from your faculty.

Included in program fee Not included in program fee
  • Accommodations
  • On-site group transportation
  • Some meals
  • Entrance fees
  • Guest lectures
  • Go Global fees
  • Flight
  • UBC tuition
  • Remainder of meals (kitchen on site)
  • Health or travel insurance
  • Immunizations (if necessary)
  • Visas (if necessary)
  • Personal spending money for communications, snacks, and souvenirs, etc.

GEOG 491 (3 credits):

Special Topics in Sustainability: Rural Sustainability in Central Italy

This course explores historic and contemporary connections between the rural countryside, tourism, wine and food in Central Italy within a framework of environmental, social, and economic sustainability. The focus of this course is on the role of tourism, food and wine in sustaining rural resources, communities and landscapes. Topics include rural land use, agritourism, transformative tourism, sustainable agriculture and food and wine production. Concepts include sustainability, resilience, globalisation, localism and hybridity. This program fits with UBC’s growing focus on sustainability and the international transferability of those concepts. Lessons from other countries inform local and regional sustainability efforts in British Columbia and the Okanagan. The course is experiential; students receive first hand engagement with sustainable methods of rural production in the wine, food and tourism industries of Tuscany and apply these concepts and methods in British Columbia. Students are housed at Castello Sonnino, a working farm, olive orchard, vineyard and winery that also facilitates an education centre to preserve typical, traditional and sustainable forms of agriculture, food and wine production. The students participate in workshops at the estate and on field excursions on orchard and vineyard management, cellaring and oil and winemaking processes. Students are provided lectures on Tuscan history, tourism, agriculture, food and wine from the instructor and from leading scholars in the local area. A series of field excursions and workshops enable students to consider aspects of the rural landscape, including the various factors affecting sustainability of food, wine and tourism production, evolution of a regional food and wine identity, and the broader picture of sustainable and traditional practices of production and consumption in rural communities of Central Italy.

Donna Senese, PhD

It seems I like to live and work in regions that produce excellent wine and food and it is not by accident that those same regions are well loved, and often visited by tourists. I was born and raised in the Niagara Region of Ontario, one of the two most important wine producing regions of Canada. Growing up in a second generation Italian home also means that good food, family and wine are central to my existence. After completing a PhD in Geography from the University of Waterloo where I studied another passion, hazards, the environment and vulnerability, I moved to Canada’s other best wine growing region, the Okanagan, where I am an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. My research and teaching interests are also a product of my passion for understanding rural sustainability and the resilience of food and wine producing communities. In 2014 I coordinated and led my first Go Global Seminar on Rural Sustainability: Wine, food and tourism in Central Italy. I had a hunch at the time that UBC students (and me!) might have a thing or two to explore in an area of the world like Tuscany, so famous for its traditional rural landscapes of wine and food production. I wasn’t wrong, and so 2020 marks the fifth iteration of this Go Global Seminar. Castello Sonnino is the estate we call home for the GSP. It is located just outside of  a small town called Montespertoli just south of very busy, very touristed Florence. Castello Sonnino and the town of Montespertoli has become our UBC home-away-from-home in rural Tuscany, and the Sonnino family treats us like family. The Sonnino’s and their crew of farmers and winery workers enjoy hosting international students at their historic estate to share their love of food and wine tradition, and their deep commitment to sustaining the land and culture.

When I can’t get to Montespertoli because I am busy in British Columbia teaching Wine Geographies, Rural Geographies and Tourism Development, or I’m doing research on rural resilience in wine, food and tourism regions, I keep in touch with the Sonnino’s and a group of academics from the Universities of Siena, Florence, Rome and Torino through a research group that I direct ‘The Sonnino Working Group’. My colleagues in the group also provide workshops and lectures in the vineyard, orchard and gardens of Sonnino and the surrounding countryside when we are fortunate enough to have a Go Global group there. I am also involved with several other research groups at UBC and abroad, such as the Wine Research Centre at UBC Vancouver, the Centre for Environmental Assessment Research at UBC Okanagan, Kwantlan Polytech’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, the Terroir Congress in Oregon and the University of Newcastle’s Wine Studies Research Network.  I am also a member of the Association of American Geographers Wine Specialty Group and I like to write about the resilience of wine and food growing communities and how they change rural landscapes. I am off to Napa and UC Davis this winter for a conference on “Wine in the Anthropocene and this past year I published two papers with colleagues from other parts of Canada and Australia, ‘Ecotopian Mobilities: wine, food, tourism and migration’ and ‘Fruit Forward: wine regions as geographies of innovation’. When I’m not dreaming up new ways to learn about wine, food and tourism in the rural countryside and how we are going to make it more sustainable, I am most happy wandering aimlessly in the woods in the hills of the Okanagan with my family including my 16 yer old daughter, and two big, smelly and very loveable retrievers Lilly and Theo.

Economics and the media: Writing Media Articles in France

We are no longer accepting applications for this program.

2020 france Application form


Discover two of the most iconic French cities while learning about France’s economy and developing your writing skills. This 3-week course will lead you from Toulouse to Paris. It is specifically designed for you to learn how to write to a large audience and to gain a practical understanding of the local economy.

During our time in France, you will be required to write multiple media articles with a chance to be featured on our blog.  We’ll split our time between visits, interactive learning sessions, and one-on-one mentoring with the instructor of the course.

This course is a great opportunity to apply the learning of economics theoretical knowledge that you accumulated to analyze real-world situations in an intelligible manner.

Students that have followed this course at UBC seem to have appreciated the experience. Here are some such comments from students:

I really enjoyed this course, it was nice to be able to use the economic concepts we had been learning for the past four years and apply it to something tangible.  For myself personally, it really challenged me to adapt my writing style for a more general audience and not just my professors.

The course taught students how to break down complicated topics to make them accessible to a wider audience. The course also taught students to research certain topics in a limited amount of time and to integrate them into an intriguing article.

It was cool to collaborate within the community, and to understand how to write for different audiences.

Thank you for an interesting course and a worthwhile semester! I liked the concept of making Econ accessible to a wider audience. I feel lucky to have been a part of this inaugural course!

Program dates: May 11 to May 29, 2020

We will discover Toulouse from May 11 to May 18. The transfer between Toulouse and Paris should be by high-speed train. The remainder of our time will be in Paris, from May 19 to May 29

Meetings Activity
1 Workshop – work on developing a specific skill or presentation of concepts.

Pitch idea

2 Discuss draft – Fixing the article


In addition to classroom meetings, we will visit multiple sites of significant importance in Paris and Toulouse. During our stay in Paris, we will also visit the offices of ‘France Médias Monde’ that is the group in charge of French international broadcasting.

ECON 101 and 102.

If you do not have these pre-requisites but feel like you will be successful in this course, please contact prior to the deadline

Program fee: $3,500-$3,800*

*The final program fee depends on the number of students in the program.

Note: The program fee will be offset by $1,000 for UBC students qualifying for the Go Global Award (e.g. those students with a 70% average from the best nine credits during the 2019-20 academic year). If you have any pass/fail courses, we will assess your average with advice from your faculty.

Included in program fee Not included in program fee
  • Accommodations
  • On-site group transportation
  • Some meals
  • Entrance fees
  • Guest lectures
  • Go Global fee
  • Flight
  • UBC tuition
  • Remainder of meals
  • Health or travel insurance
  • Immunization (if necessary)
  • Visas (if necessary)
  • Personal spending money for communications, snacks, souvenirs, etc.

ECON 391Q (3 credits):

Topics in Economics: Economics and the Media

Julien Picault is a senior instructor for the Department of Economics, Philosophy, and Political Science at UBC Okanagan and the Co-Program Coordinator for the PPE major. He did doctoral studies at HEC Montreal, and currently teaches various economics courses, including industrial organization, cost-benefit analysis, and experimental economics. He has grounded roots in France as he was born and still has family near Paris.

He is also a frequent columnist for Radio-Canada for BC and Yukon (French CBC). He contributed op-eds and has been interviewed and quoted more than 100 times in media such as Global News, CBC, National Post, The Province, Le Monde, Radio-Canada, and Le Devoir.

Julien received a 2017 Curricular Innovation Award for the creation of the ‘Economics and the Media’ course, and the format of this course was presented at the 2019 Conference on Teaching & Research on Economic Education. He is enthusiastic about bringing the course to France, so students can learn about the economy of his home country while developing writing skills for a wider audience.

Engaging Osoyoos’ past and present:
land, people, industry

Applications for this program are now closed. This program is planning on returning for Summer 2021 so check back in the Fall 2020 for more details.

In collaboration with the Osoyoos Museum, this student-centered public history project will explore the land, people and industries of the rural community of Osoyoos, BC. The diverse population (indigenous peoples, settlers, immigrants) of 7,000 welcomes 100,000 tourists each year to a town noted for its orchards and vineyards. In a structured 13-day field course, students will engage in directed archival research in the museum and conduct REB-approved oral history interviews in the community on one of three themes: land/environment/agriculture, diverse peoples, and industry/tourism. Interviews will be deposited in the museum and students will have the opportunity to publish their research.

This program will run from May 3 – May 15, 2020

Sunday, May 3 – Students will travel as a group to Osoyoos and check-in to the accommodation (students will be sharing a hotel room with one other student, separate beds)

Monday, May 4 – Friday, May 15 – Students will participate in lectures, discussions and archival research, and receive training in oral interviewing

Friday, May 15 – program ends with a closing lunch. Students will return to Kelowna as a group.

The project offers students the opportunity to expand their understanding while bringing their own experiences to the process of knowledge integration. Students will engage in archival research in the collections of the Osoyoos Museum. The Osoyoos Indian Band’s Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos will provide cultural awareness training to students and faculty taking part in the course. Students will also take part in workshop training in REB-approved oral interviewing techniques. Each student will conduct one oral history interview focusing on one of three research themes: land/environment/agriculture, diverse peoples, and industry/tourism. Transcribed interviews—and with the permission of interviewees, digital copies—will be deposited in an archive and selected transcriptions may be included in the museum’s revolving exhibits. Students will work collaboratively in groups of three or four, with the goal of producing a short essay suitable for publication. Venues include public history magazines (BC History Magazine, British Columbia Magazine, Canada’s History and Historica Canada), museum publications (Roundup, BC Heritage, and Muse), journals (BC Studies, PiCHE: Papers in Canadian History and Environment, and Public History), and websites (,

Learning Outcomes

  • Connect students from the rapidly growing city of Kelowna to the surrounding rural communities and offer a critical understanding of the economic and cultural impacts on the rural town of Osoyoos of large-scale limited-time scope tourism each summer.
  • In the broader context of densely-populated coastal British Columbia, highlight the different dynamics, history and needs of the largely rural interior and its environment, peoples and industry.
  • Enhance understanding of Osoyoos’ complex history of initial settlement by indigenous peoples, occupation by Europeans and subsequent immigration (including from Portugal, Germany and South Asia).
  • Offer students the opportunity for hands-on experiential learning in the conduct of oral interviews and in undertaking archival research, while also building on the critical, analytical and writing skills they are acquiring in their university courses.
  • Provide students with an understanding of the centrality of small museums to preserving the past and its links to our shared present, in rural communities, in Canada, and globally.

This course is open to undergraduate students in all disciplines with third year standing. Limited spots are available for this program. A sufficient level of physical fitness is required. Students can expect to walk 3-5 km per day, to climb 5-10 flights of stairs and to lift archival boxes weighing up to 10 kg.

Pre-requisite: 3 credit of ENGL – please be in touch with Go Global if you have not met this requirement

Program fees: A UBC Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) grant will cover accommodation in Osoyoos, transportation from Kelowna to Osoyoos return, local transportation, and a daily per diem for meals.

Upon acceptance into the program, students will pay a $500 deposit to secure their spot. Once the program is complete, all students will be refunded $500.

Included  Not included 
  • Accommodations
  • On-site transportation
  • Breakfast (w/hotel)
  • Per diem for meals
  • UBC tuition (3 credits)
  • Personal spending money
  • Vancouver students – must pay for their own transportation to Kelowna
HIST 380/DIHU 320:
HIST 380 (3) Digital Archives, Cultural Heritage, and Public History
Interdisciplinary introduction to digital archiving, exhibition, and preservation of cultural heritage and public history. Deals with collective memory, politics of commemoration and collecting, and future of digital collection and museum interfaces.
Credit will be granted for only one of HIST 380 or DIHU 320.
Pre-requisite: COSC 264 (Waived) and 3 credits of ENGL.

Catherine Higgs earned her Ph.D. in modern African history at Yale University. Her scholarship has focused on the intersections of religion, politics, labour, and activism; her approach is interdisciplinary and transnational. She is the author of The Ghost of Equality, about a noted black African political activist, and of Chocolate Islands: Cocoa, Slavery, and Colonial Africa. She is co-editor of Stepping Forward: Black Women in Africa and the Americas. She is writing a book about the anti-apartheid activism of Catholic sisters in South Africa which considers whether and how small actions can shift national policy.

Her research has been funded by the National Humanities Center, the American Philosophical Society, the Luso-American Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Before joining the University of British Columbia, she taught at the University of Tennessee, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She teaches about Africa, Southern Africa, and the Atlantic World; newer courses focus on commodities, markets, labour and public policy, including China’s investment in Africa.

Timothy Paulson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Sociology at UBC Okanagan. He earned his PhD in environmental history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His current applied, public history research aims to produce a historical archive of land management on British Columbia grazing rangelands. From 2012-2017, he worked to identify, preserve, and promote the historical records of the University of California Natural Reserve System (, conducting several dozen non-recorded interviews. He has also conducted nine Canadian REB-approved oral history interviews that are deposited in permanent archives.

Kara Burton is the Executive Director of the Osoyoos Museum in Osoyoos, British Columbia. Burton was raised in Osoyoos and is firmly rooted in the community. As director of the Osoyoos Museum Society for the past nine years, she has gained valuable insight into the heritage and working relationships of various communities within the town. In 2020 the museum will move to a new location; Burton is responsible for grant writing and fundraising the $2.5million required for the renovation. She has a background in business administration and brings strong management skills to the project.

  • May in Osoyoos

  • Sẁiẁs Provincial Park (formerly Haynes Point) is managed and operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band

  • Osoyoos is a beautiful mix of vineyards and orchards

  • Osoyoos Lake