WHAT IS SERVICE-LEARNING?
Service-learning is a unique combination of study abroad and community-based volunteer work where participants immerse themselves into the local community while developing professional and personal skills. At its core, service learning focuses on the local community and its needs. Thus, service learning programs are adaptable to the local community’s settings as well as participants’ backgrounds.
What makes Service-Learning different from Volunteer? It’s the “learning” part. Upon working locally and reflecting from experiences in a structured format, participants gain an understanding of the local community, the social issues it faces and find approaches to resolve these issuess.
Why Service-Learning with ABROADER?
- Local community as program co-designer. As local ourselves, ABROADER works with local organizations to make sure the programs fit their needs, available resources/assets and cultures.
- Immerse in the local community to understand local context and solve local problems, which later on would contribute to your deeper and more global understanding of international issues.
- Opportunities to gain hands-on experiences and new skills, including but not limited to intercultural communication, leadership and teamwork.
- Customized structured coaching and reflection sessions led by local Vietnamese experts in the field of community development and social work to support your personal and professional growth.
Service-Learning: What can I do?
Local community’s needs - for example: employment for people with disabilities, education for disadvantaged kids, healthcare for immigrant workers. Ideally you should work for a local community whose needs resonate with your interests.
Your interests, skills and backgrounds.
In short, service-learning programs are highly customized. The result is a program where participants contribute real benefits to the local community using their capacities and interests.
Curious to see what it’s like to participate in service-learning programs? Here are some of our past projects:
These projects are all part of the Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI), an award-winning service-learning study abroad program under the Global Learning Office (GLO), Buffett Institute for Global Affairs, Northwestern University (USA) which offers credit-bearing study abroad, exchange, research, and academic internship opportunities in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, Uganda and Vietnam that prepare Northwestern undergraduate students for success in today’s interconnected world.
My internship has been a very fruitful journey, and I have learnt many things from my colleagues at NashTech Hanoi. Many of my skills have improved considerably, especially my communication skills. The working environment in Hanoi is very different from my experience in Singapore, and it has been a breath of fresh air for me. The staff and local buddies at ABROADER have also been immensely helpful! They always go the extra mile for us, and my time in Hanoi would have been very different if not for them, thank you very much!
Ho Hao Keet (Max)
IT Internship ,Republic Polytechnic, Singapore
For the past 5 months, ABROADER has helped ensure that everything is smooth-sailing for the duration of my internship. From landing in Vietnam till my return trip to Singapore. My transport pick-up from the airport and accommodation were already well-planned and I settled down comfortably. However, a problem I encountered was language barrier. Only a small portion of Vietnamese is able to converse in English or Chinese. Fortunately, basic Vietnamese lessons were provided to us by ABROADERs before we ventured alone. Beside the above mentioned, a booklet filled with contacts, places to go and common Viet phrases were also provided. The agents were really passionate and tried their best to meet my needs and hear my concerns. I would like to specially mention Mia and Kasia for going the extra miles.
Scrum Master Internship ,Republic Polytechnic, Singapore
When people ask me how I changed this summer, I tell them I aged eight years. Because the best way I know how to encompass all that I learned and how I matured is to change my ‘real’ age from 20 to someone much older. I feel wise in the least pretentious way and armed with enough life knowledge to take on the world. I know I could not have gained this much independence in Corvallis and I doubt I could have achieved it anywhere else in the world. Still, Vietnam taught me that simplicity does not repel complexity, that I can do anything, and, most importantly, that there is a big world out there to explore. “My first internship placement, at Bac Lung Secondary School, was excellent. I love living and teaching there, and I wish I could have stayed the entire time. I felt like I was making an important contribution in the community in allowing the students to learn English from a foreigner when they might not get that chance otherwise. Obviously, having to move and change everything halfway through my internship was not ideal. Since I came to Vietnam expecting to live in the countryside and teach English the entire time, the move to the city, where I could no longer teach, was frustrating. That being said, my experience in Hanoi ended up much better than I could have expected, and I am grateful for the opportunity to go outside my comfort zone living in the city. One of the best parts of my experience was the local buddy system. […] it was invaluable for me to have him (the local buddy) as a support and confidant. My experience would not have been the same without him.
Education Internship ,Oregon State University, USA
An Internship that Brought a lot of Happiness During a Tough Time My internship through ABROADER was truly a worthwhile experience. Not only did I genuinely enjoy the work I did for my host organization, but having ABROADER's support and community really enhanced my remote internship. Having weekly culture sessions and buddy chats, and getting to talk regularly to the ABROADER staff and local buddies, made me feel like I was actually in Vietnam. I think this aspect of their program is really unique, because it makes doing an internship in a brand new place much less intimidating; everyone is so friendly and welcoming, I never felt alone when navigating this new adventure. I genuinely feel that I was able to connect with people and make new friends despite being thousands of miles away. What was your funniest moment? With the culture sessions and buddy chats, there were a lot of fun, happy moments. I think I laughed the hardest when making a video with a fellow intern and two local buddies for ABROADER's farewell group session. We tried creating a parody to Grease's Summer Nights, but being that none of us are musically talented, and we had to deal with the lag from Zoom when singing all together, our finished product was quite chaotic. Regardless, it was a lot of fun to work on all together, and seeing our video at the session gave me a really great laugh.
Program Assistant Remote Internship ,Princeton University
Overall, I think I had a really fun time and enjoyed the many different kind of activities. At first, I was quite nervous about going somewhere overseas alone to do internship but it was definitely worth it. I not only got work experience but learnt about the culture in Vietnam which I would never had a chance to do if I hadn’t come.
Marketing Internship ,Keio University, Japan
Aeroplan Engineering Internship ,Republic Polytechnic, Singapore
Electrical Engineering and Computing Study Tour ,University of Newcastle, Australia
Education Internship ,Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan
Words cannot describe how much I gain from this internship. The time here has been productive, meaningful and of course an unforgettable one! When I first came to Ho Chi Minh City for the internship, I was overwhelmed by the culture difference. To the roads packed with motorcycles to the food, everything was different for me. Honestly, I thought it would be very hard for me to adapt to the culture in Vietnam, however, ABROADER provided us with a lot of support! They have local buddies that bought us around Ho Chi Minh City, teach us their culture and are very open and happy going! They even brought us to grocery shopping which we needed desperately! What’s more, they gave me an internship in one of Vietnam’s top IT outsourcing companies! The team was professional, always looking for ways to improve and welcoming! They always try their best that I am doing great! Thank You ABROADER!
Heng Choon Yuan (Gerald)
IT Internship ,Republic Polytechnic, Singapore
Surgical Internship ,University of Oregon, USA