History Student Amelia Boughn’s Study Abroad Experience – ACAM 390A

Amelia Boughn, a 2019 History Graduate, participated in Prof. Henry Yu’s ACAM 390A course in the summer of 2018. ACAM 390A is a Global seminar titled “Kaiping- The Heritage of Chinese Migration” and in 2018, took place in Hong Kong and Kaiping, China. This course explores multi-disciplinary perspectives on the histories, cultures, and geographies of Cantonese migration.

Watch a snapshot of Amelia’s experience studying in China with a short video (below) and scroll down further to read a Q&A with Amelia about the value of studying abroad. 






How did you hear about the Global Seminar- ACAM 390A?

I decided at the beginning of my fourth year that I wanted to study abroad before graduation. Because I was also playing varsity ice hockey, I was unable to go away during the school year. I focused my search on courses offered during the summer. I came across the ACAM 390 course on the Go Global website and immediately applied, as the course description spoke to my interests in both history and in public health. 


How was your experience working with Prof. Henry Yu?

I thoroughly enjoyed learning with Professor Yu. He challenged me to re-examine my own perspectives and opinions as we learned, making me feel quite disoriented at times, especially while in Kaiping. I felt that I finished the class with more questions than when I started, which I think is the sign of a great prof! One of my favourite experiences with Professor Yu was on an off-day we had in Kaiping, when he invited me and another student along with him to map out a bike route to a town we would be going to with the class later on in the course. We ended up getting a little bit lost and taking the scenic route through hundreds of Kaiping rice fields. It took us several hours longer than we anticipated to get to our destination, but along the way we had a great adventure and had some stimulating, thought-provoking conversation!


How did this program affect you personally and professionally?

Personally, this program had a tremendous effect on my life as it allowed me to meet other students from various majors and faculties across UBC. Our group forged close friendships during our time in Kaiping and many of us are still in touch a year after our trip. Professionally, spending three weeks abroad learning about food and health in a small community highlighted to me how big our world really is. It contains billions of people, each with their own sets of values, beliefs, and personal and collective histories. I was challenged during this course as I tried to wrap my mind around these new ideas and work with my classmates to bring the voices of the people at Cang Dong Village back to Vancouver through the film that we made. 


What are you up to now? Can you apply anything you learned from this course to your current studies/work?

I have just moved back home to Ontario after graduating and in the fall will be starting a Masters of Science in Global Health at McMaster University. My experience last summer in this course played a huge role in my decision to apply to the global health program. Not only did the course introduce me to the challenges and rewards of studying abroad, but my group's project on the relationships among food, health, and community in Cang Dong Village piqued my interest in the study of public health as an intersection between science and the humanities, a gap that I had been trying to bridge since I arrived at UBC as a transfer student from a science program at another university. I feel ready to embrace this next opportunity in large part because of my experiences in ACAM 390. 


For more information:

Prof. Henry Yu was featured in a recent History Spotlight article: http://www.history.ubc.ca/content/spotlight-faculty-henry-yu

Video was created by Angela Ho from the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Department