International Volunteer Service: Good Intentions Are Not Enough

This CHE Commentary is a useful summary of the challenges and obstacles of conceiving and implementing service-learning programs.  As someone involved in the creation of the first nonprofit organization sponsoring S-L programs, the Partnership for Service-Learning, circa 1980, the issues addressed here are not new.   http://chronicle.com/article/International-Volunteer/130459/?sid=gn&utm_source=gn&utm_medium=en

I do like the linkage the authors make between campus internationalization policies and best practices with respect to providing opportunities for students to  “unpack”  their overseas experiences as articulated in this statement:

Students return to campus, where there is often a stark juxtaposition between their campus bubble and the culture they lived in and the conditions they experienced. We have heard from colleagues that higher education has yet to fully maximize this “post-experience” phase. How do we institutionalize this phase in our curricula and cocurricular offerings such that students can translate their experiences back to their lives on campus? They should be able to say what they learned about themselves and the world and how their learning will inform their choice of courses, majors, and careers. This learning, like all meaningful learning, takes time to develop.

To review the excellent research and analysis of experiential learning theory and practice of  The Partnership – now named The International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership – go to http://www.ipsl.org/services/publications

 

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