Go Global Office of Global Engagement

The Heritage of Asian Canadian Migrations

ACAM 390A | 3 credits

Program overview

This course is led byHenry Yu, Faculty of Arts

  • Course dates: May 13, 2024 – June 28, 2024 
  • Travel dates: Approx May 30 – June 19, 2024
  • Format: In-person* 
    • *In Vancouver, classes will be hybrid (Zoom and in-person field trips)
  • Location(s) visited: Vancouver; Kaiping, China. 
    • Note: The teaching team is coordinating with our institutional partners in China. If we are unable to travel to China this summer, we will travel to Malaysia and Singapore.
  • Approximate program fee: $3500 - $4000* (Go Global fee, tuition, food and flight [from Vancouver to first destination] are not included) 
  • Funding available (click through to learn more about each award) 

Information Session Recording

Recording available here. Use passcode: su=Bw3Er 

Application deadline extended to January 30, 2024

 Application instructions here

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About the course 

This program allows students to conduct interdisciplinary academic research while exploring the histories, cultures, foodways, heritage, and geographies of Asian migration around the Pacific, particularly Cantonese migration. These migration networks primarily stem from the “Szeyup” or “Four Counties” area of Canton (Guangdong) Province, the home region of many overseas Chinese who went to Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries. With field trips to sites across the Lower Mainland and Kaiping, students will explore themes including race, Asian migrants and Indigeneity, foodscapes, and cultural heritage. Students will learn in traditional and non-traditional classroom settings locally and abroad to explore best practices in ethical community‐based research and knowledge sharing to rethink the history of BC and the Pacific and learn about the intertwined histories of Asian and Cantonese migrants. Students will be asked to present a project at a community showcase in June 2024. Led by Professor Henry Yu (History), this is an idea opportunity for students looking for a short yet rewarding international experience. 

Check out the ACAM 390A YouTube Playlist to learn more! 

Program eligibility  
General Global Seminar requirements

To participate in a Global Seminar, students must:  

  • Be in good-standing in their faculty (as defined by home faculty) 
  • In the year leading up to the Global Seminar, have full-time student status (as defined by home faculty)  
  • Have completed 2nd year requirements before the start of the program (i.e., eligible for 3rd or 4th year standing)  
  • Have at least a 70% academic average in your last full-time academic session before applying  
  • Maintain a 70% academic average leading up to the program  
  • Meet any program specific requirements listed below including pre-requisites before participating 
Program specific requirements
  • This is an interdisciplinary program: All are welcome! However, priority is given to students pursuing an ACAM minor. All eligible applicants will be asked to participate in a group interview for selection. 

Final selection will be done by the lead faculty program directors. Spots in the program may be limited.  

Students who wish to participate in the summer after graduating may be eligible on a case-by-case basis. 

Experience and conditions in the Field

The course will begin with two weeks of lectures, field trips, and group activities in Vancouver. The teaching team will invite community leaders from Chinatown, Punjabi Market, local museums and heritage organizations and other spaces to provide guest lectures to the class. 

A typical day during travel may include: 

  • A lecture by Professor Yu, followed by a walking tour to a local site, museum, market, and/or another cultural point of interest 
  • Group work 
  • Dining together (students are expected to dine together for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and will have “off” periods to encourage local exploration) 

Note: Kaiping is typically hot and humid with mosquitoes this time of year. Occasionally, typhoons can occur. Students are encouraged to wear long, light linens to stay cool and remain protected from the sun and mosquitoes  

After three weeks in Asia, UBC students will travel back to Vancouver to complete their research projects. Students will have time to produce their thesis media project and paper for a community showing at the end of June. 

Please note that the course schedule and itinerary are subject to change. 


Dorm and hostel-style accommodation while abroad. Students should expect to share rooms with 1, 2 or more students.

Program fees and costs
Approximate fees: $3500-$4000*

*The final fee depends on the number of students in the seminar. All Global Seminars only run if there is a minimum number of students enrolled.  

Program fees include:
  • Accommodation  
  • Program- related travel in-country; (e.g. buses)  
  • Excursions and entrance fees  
  • Some group meals  
  • On-site guest lectures
Not Included:  
  • Go Global Fee 
  • Flights* 
  • UBC tuition for credits   
  • Visa/country entrance fees   
  • Health or travel insurance  
  • Most meals 
  • Personal spending money**   

*For this program, you are responsible for purchasing your flight from Vancouver to the first destination of the course, as instructed by the teaching team. Other flights will be included in the cost of the program 

**Some examples of personal costs included: mobile communication, personal transportation that is not related to the learning outcomes of the program, additional meals that are not already identified as part of the Program Fee, immunizations, Visas, etc.   

Arts Research Abroad (ARA) Funding 

This seminar is an Arts Research Abroad (ARA) course. ARA courses will provide an award which will cover up to 50% of the program fee and flights for eligible students. In cases of demonstrated financial need (determined by Enrolment Services), ARA may fund up to 100% of the program fee and flights. 

All eligible Arts students selected for this program will be automatically considered for the award. No additional award application is required.

Eligibility for Arts Research Abroad (ARA) funding:

  • Undergraduate Faculty of Arts students (students from other faculties are not eligible for ARA funding, but may still participate in the program)
  • Selected for this program
  • Students who have Canadian student loans and non-repayable bursaries may qualify for 100% ARA funding

For example, assuming a $3500 program fee: 

  • Students who qualify for 50% ARA funding will have program fee reduced from $3500 to $1750. In addition, you will receive an award equal to 50% of the estimated flight cost, or $1000, whichever is higher.
  • Students who qualify for 100% ARA funding will not be charged the program fee, and will receive a cash award equal to the estimated cost of the return flight between Vancouver and the arrival location.

Typically, students will need to pay for the flight first and will receive the award early in the summer term.

Selected students who are not eligible for ARA will be charged the full program fee and receive a $1000 Go Global Award.

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