Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Fifth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Globalizing curriculum beyond the classroom: Service Learning Programs benefit Students, impact local issues and answer local needs to build bridges between cultures
Philippe Briot, Ludivine Ponson, Thierry Leterre

Last modified: 25-06-2019



Based on a case study, this article analyzes the effects of introducing Service Learning in the curriculum of a study abroad US Center. Explaining institutional motivations as well as resistances, this research shows that this introduction was essentially academic in nature, and represented an innovative way to some perceived deficiencies in the acquisition of learning objectives by students. This research also indicates the specific conditions in which this type of Service Learning can thrive, such as a strong welfare state context, which is both a support and a potential issue, and the necessity to have students supervised in their service by local managers. More general lessons are drawn for a successful practice of Service Learning abroad: clearly defined academic goals, strict distinction between Service Learning and other forms of volunteering or experiential learning, ethical rules to prevent patronizing attitudes among volunteers.

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