Vancouver is a city defined by its expanding and deepening connections with peoples and cultures from around the world. The dynamic growth of immigrant populations reflects the wealth of knowledge and experiences contained in the everyday life of the city. To give students an opportunity to learn from Vancouver’s diverse immigrant communities, the UBC Departments of Anthropology and Sociology have launched the first Urban Ethnographic Field School (UEFS) .
As a fieldwork-based course, UEFS trains students how to conduct in-depth, community-based research on the social, political, cultural and economic lives of immigrants. By immersing themselves in qualitative research, students gain valuable experience linking hands-on research in the classroom to theoretical paradigms related to the study of migration, transnationalism, global diasporas and multicultural communities. Students learn how to carry out participant observation, interviews and focus groups; students also learn how to create statistical portraits of immigrant communities and map key community resources such as sites of worship, cultural centers, immigrant services, or language specific delis and video stores.