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  • Add local community service to study abroad programs

    Study abroad experiences can shape one’s academic and personal life, and some schools are beginning to add value to that time by creating opportunities to serve in the local communities where students study. Learn more about how to bring this kind of program to your college or university.

    Setting: Higher Education

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    Organization/people involved

    Central College
    Pella, Iowa, U.S.A.

    What they did

    Central College was one of the first colleges to create a study abroad program. So long ago, in fact, that the first group of students traveled by steamship to Paris! The college's longstanding commitment to education abroad and to broadening their students’ horizons moved them to add a new component—service learning during a student’s time abroad—further expanding the impact of the experience.

    How you can do it

    Colleges and universities looking to institute a similar plan can take advice from Cheri Doane, director of community-based Learning, and Jessica Klyn de Novelo, associate director of Study Abroad.

    Impact

    Most students participate in service learning while abroad and really see it as a way to get even more out of their experience.

    Big takeaways

    Jessica says: When you’re planning, make sure there’s an academic voice in the room. It’s also important to engage in community listening when thinking about service projects abroad—to truly serve and not impose your own cultural expectations on others.

    Resources

    Photo credit: Central College Abroad

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