INTERNATIONAL SERVICE LEARNING
What is service-learning?
Service-learning is defined as a form of experiential education undertaken in partnership with community members and organizations. It integrates “academic material, relevant service activities, and critical reflection in a reciprocal [co-created] partnership that engages students, faculty/staff, and community members to achieve academic, civic, and personal [growth] learning objectives as well as to advance public purposes” (Bringle & Clayton, 2012, p. 105). Students, faculty, and community members all serve as co-educators, co-learners, co-servers, and co-generators of knowledge and practice. An international service-learning program with GVI focuses resources and efforts on working with communities to help them make a difference in their own situations and working with students to help them make a difference in their own lives and those of others through guided critical reflection to generate learning before, during, and after participation in our programs.
Volunteering vs interning vs service-learning
Service-learning is not the same as international volunteerism / community service or as an internship. Community service is generally, undertaken for communities, positioning the volunteer as richer in resources or expertise than those who are, in turn, understood as needing their help. International internships generally occur in communities (off-campus) and focus on student development of professional skills and occur in communities. Service-learning, on the other hand, emphasizes working with, not just in a community.
How service-learning contributes to our mission
As we approach our 20th anniversary, we are re-examining how we can best meet our mission: To build a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference. The drive to fulfill this mission has led us to continue focusing our resources and efforts on working with communities to help them make a difference in their own situations, alongside local partners such as Save the Children (Mexico), Panthera (Costa Rica), The Red Cross, PADI, WWF (Mexico), Project AWARE, and the National Parks of South Africa, Seychelles, Thailand, Mexico and Costa Rica, among others. However, we are also focused on working with students to help them make a difference in their own lives, and those of others, through guided critical reflection and evaluation to generate learning before, during, and after participation in our programs. GVI has always been a mission-led organization, aiming to create exponential change as our alumni, community partners, faculty, and staff use the knowledge and skills they gain as they work and learn together to create further positive change long after the end of a course.
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Hear from students & educators!
Or, to read more testimonials from educators and students from institutions such as Duke University, Endicott College, Stelly’s School and Ohio State University.