News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB students make community impact through experiential learning

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Apr 6, 2021

Category: UNB Saint John , myUNB

University of New Brunswick students are working with 14 community organizations to help make positive changes in the world around them while gaining a credit toward their university degree.

Social Science in Practicum (SOCS4501) is a course offered at UNB’s Saint John campus that pairs students with an organization that best fits their goals and related disciplines to provide them with a paid experiential learning internship at that organization.

Experiential learning gives students the opportunity to create knowledge through experience. By combining hands-on problem-solving and research for community organizations with their academic studies, the students can find solutions to real-world problems while working within their community.

"In my day, you attended university so you could learn how you might change the world,” says Dr. Rob Moir, associate professor of economics. “In SOCS4501, students are changing their community while they learn, and community groups are benefitting from the latest knowledge applied to issues that matter to the people they serve.”

The Saint John Newcomers Centre (SJNC) is one of the many community organizations partnered with UNB through the SOCS4501 course. The SJNC strives to help newcomers adapt and prosper in the Saint John region and fully embrace the value of their contribution to the community.

Catherine Taylor, a third-year arts student, is paired with the SJNC for her internship. She has been working on the podcast Racialized: Anti-Racism Conversations with Mohamed Bagha, the SJNC’s managing director. In a collection of recorded conversations with guest speakers and members of the community, the podcast features their personal experiences with discrimination and racism.

“We wanted to find a way to educate and spread the word on the impacts of racism,” says Mr. Bagha. “Allowing the guests to tell their personal stories will help people learn from each other. It is important to find ways to embrace diversity and communication that will help create harmony.”

The first episode of the podcast was released on March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The podcast is available for listeners on YouTube.

“The conversations in the episodes are very important and interesting,” says Ms. Taylor. “Having the stories told from the perspective of real people within our community makes the issue of racism something we can solve together.”

Experiential education opportunities are offered on both campuses during summer, fall and winter terms.

Through experiential learning partnerships with UNB, community organizations can connect with highly motivated and talented students. During the internship, students work on projects that are beneficial to both employers and their academic pathways.

If you are an employer or a community organization looking to create a partnership and have opportunities for students, you can connect with the Office of Experiential Education at UNB. All questions and inquiries can be directed to Experiential Learning Coordinator Laura Vadala at

Media contact: Kathleen McLaughlin