International Service Learning Projects and Study Abroad Trips
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Establish a Leadership Team
Assembling the Team: Preparing an international service learning trip certainly takes support and planning from all levels on your university campus. Establishing a team who is committed to meeting and working to promote and plan the experience is really crucial. Ideally this team would include the Faculty leading the trip, the Director of Service Learning, Study Abroad Coordinator, the individual who manages faculty-led travel study (could be housed in the International Office or Extended Education), and student leaders.
Assign Roles and Deadlines
At this point it is helpful to identify roles and dividing up tasks amongst the team. Utilize the student leaders as much as possible as this is a great learning experience for them.
International Service Learning Course Design and Approval
Prepare a Trip Vision: Once the leadership team is established it is important to make sure you are all on the same page as far as the vision and the philosophy for the trip. This will guide you in decision making, recruitment, and ensuring that you are all representing the trip in the same light.
Example: The Fiji Service Learning Adventure seeks to provide students, faculty, and community members with the opportunity to engage in a cultural immersion experience that will allow them to redefine their definition of service through a meaningful and lasting service learning project that centers around cultural exchange and asset based community development.
Contact Madventure: Our ISL Planning Team will provide you with the information needed for us to plan your custom experience. Once received, we will work with you to ensure we design a project and select a location that fits your desired educational outcomes and experiences.
Create your Syllabus, Itinerary, Budget, and Travel Plans: A basic syllabus is required to get the course and the trip approved that outlines the course descriptions, the educational objectives for the course, and an overview of the requirements. As you will most likely be running this as a summer session, or winter session course it is much of the same requirements for setting up a standard version of one of those courses. You will also need to include an itinerary and a budget that includes a price quote from Madventure. It may also be required that you have a quote from a travel agent for flights.
Complete the Course Proposal: Depending on the structure of your university this should be a process that is housed under the international/extended education office. For example, at Fresno State the Division of Continuing and Global Education is in charge of all faculty-led international experiences and the proposal process would go through them.
Getting Approved: You will most likely need to work with your contact at International/Extended to prepare an approval packet. At Fresno State this includes an approved budget, course proposal, itinerary, course syllabus, and cover letter. This will need a number of signatures throughout campus to declare the trip a “go”, always allow more time than you think you will need to make this happen!
Creating Awareness and Recruiting for the Trip
Establish Enrollment Procedures: Decide how students can sign up for the trip and if there are any eligibility requirements. These trips are very popular and you may wish to have an application process that included essays and the leadership team worked together to pick the students who were in the course and on the waiting list.
Generate Promotional Materials: Work with your Extended Education Office and International Office to generate posters, fliers, email templates, and press releases to get the word out about the trip in order to fill it.
Establish an Online Presence: Make sure that the trip details are on the Service Learning Website, International Website, and Extended Education Site. Utilize Social Media to create a Facebook Group for interested students and to create an event to promote informational meetings. It is also fun to set up a blog that can be used to provide updates throughout the process.
Keeping Costs Low: There are certainly ways to be creative to keep costs as low as possible. At some universities professors waive their salary for the course because their trip fees can be covered by Madventure and their travel fees were covered by their Deans or grant money. This helps to keep the per unit course fee lower than it would be for a regular course. Do your best to work with Extended Ed to keep the per unit fees as low as possible and hopefully they will be helpful!
Grants: As early as possible, apply for travel grants for the course. If your course is associated with a student club or organization you may also be able to apply for ASI grants as well. There might also be local foundations or individuals who might consider providing a grant for something like this as well.
Fundraising Efforts: Fundraising is a great experience for your student teams and student leaders. Have them contact local Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, Lions Clubs, and businesses to help support and sponsor the trip. It also doesn’t hurt to teach students how to reach out to their Deans and Department Chairs to ask for support as well.
Preparing Your Team
Host Pre-Trip Meetings: These meetings extremely important in preparing your students for the experience they are about to have.
Topics to cover include individual and team goal setting, trip philosophy, fundraising, travel details and logistics (passports, immunizations, travel insurance etc.), packing, course requirements, information about the culture and country, service learning best practices, and trip customization. Fresno State had one meeting all about Team Building, Goals, and Trip Philosophy, one about Logistics and Paperwork, and one where students planned fundraising, donations, and activities they wanted to plan for the village. Madventure would be more than happy to Skype in or come to any meetings to help answer questions and prepare the students as well.
Madventure will also provide curriculum we have for preparing students for cultural immersion and sustainable service that you can utilize at your will.
Getting an International Service Learning Course going can be challenging, but is absolutely worth it.
We are committed to helping you in any way we can to make this a reality on your campus. Throughout the planning process we would love to share advice, procedures, documents, and anything you may find that you need.
Many ways to Serve.
So much to Learn.
Traveling to a new country and immersing yourself in a new culture is guaranteed to teach you loads about the people you are serving with as well as about yourself. We aim to maximize this learning through reflections, journaling, facilitated discussions, and readings to help you get the most out of the experience and in turn so you can put the most into it. While there is plenty of learning already built into MAD trips, we can customize your adventure to incorporate specific learning goals, curriculum, and vocational training experiences.
Examples of custom University Study and Serve Abroad Experiences:
History in Ghana
Serve during the week working on a school build and helping to teach world history in the classroom. In turn have a chance to sit in on classes that address the history and culture of Ghana and see how Ghanaian students are learning about their own past. When you aren't working in the school, we have plenty of activities we can build in to enhance the experience. We will arrange lectures from professors at Cape Coast University, set up tours of historic slave castles and political monuments, and provide you with many ways to learn about the rich history of West Africa.
Education in Tanzania
You will gain invaluable experience working in a village school where you will have the opportunity to observe, plan lessons, conduct activities, work with classes and small groups of students, host after school tutoring sessions and more. Teachers at our partner schools are eager for the support of future teachers from around the world and will look forward to sharing their methodology with you as well as learning from you.
Language in Peru
On your Peru community development project you will be working alongside locals and have the chance to practice your Spanish. Exchange some English lessons for some Spanish lessons for an experience that everyone will benefit from.
Community Development in Ghana
Students studying international affairs, NGO management, community development, social entrepreneurship, or anything related to serving the social sector can learn so much from being in Ghana. When you are not working on one of our community development building projects, you will have the chance to meet Ghanaian social entrepreneurs working to benefit their community. Tour the sites of local organizations and international NGOs to learn the best practices of development work, to be encouraged by what is being done, and to be inspired by what there is left to do.
Sanitation and Clean Water in Thailand
Work on a project and spread awareness that can save lives. Explore the water system of Thailand, their infrastructure, and meet with local engineers and health specialists to learn about the current infrastructure and what needs to be done.
Health in Fiji
Bring your health knowledge to a village in Fiji, set up a clinic, help conduct workshops on health practices for the community, empower the community with the skills to take care of each other, and work to prevent the spread of water born diseases. Take tours of hospitals and health clinics, interview nurses, learn about tropical diseases, and receive a seminar on natural herbal remedies often used in the villages.
These are only a small sample of the types of educational projects we can build for your University Team.
Want to learn more?
Contact the MAD Team and we will get you more information about how we can custom build a learning experience with you.
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