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.
I feel pretty satisfied with my internship journey as it increased my self confidence and my ability to cope with unfamiliar situations. It also further developed my interpersonal communication skills when working with co-colleagues. I did my internship in Chemizol/Culligan Water Vietnam under the supervision and guidance of Chris, who is a very nice person and always cares about me. Besides that, my internship in Vietnam has expanded my curiosity of the world and at the same time gained a greater understanding of my home cultural identity. I wish I could have more time to go to different factories so that I could contact customers and analyze samples. Overall, my 6-week internship is so great!
Bin Zhou (Ryan)
International Technical Business Development Internship ,University of Queensland, Australia
My experience was very unique in the sense that it was first virtual internship. I was not expecting to have one so I was little sad at first but in the end it was really fun and educational experience. Even though it was virtual, I was engaging with local buddies at Vietnam all the time as if we were friends for the longest time and learning and talking about Vietnamese culture every week. We also had some good events amongst ourselves which I will cherish for a long time. The company I worked at was also great. The supervisor was helpful and communicative for the most time. I learned so much working wise also. What was the most surprising thing you saw or did? Singing happy birthday song in Vietnam was definitely one of things I was not expecting to do!
Business Assistant Remote Internship ,Princeton University
During my environmental engineering internship at my host company, I have learned a great deal of practical knowledge and skills that I hadn’t been taught in schools before, in particular my design skills have been improved a lot. My supervisor and coworkers gave me very helpful support and guidance which is what I expected to have in an internship, although I wish I was more freedom to explore and do independent work. Adding to the experience, I got to go on a field trip to Hai Duong in 2 weeks while I was an intern. It was a valuable experience for me because I was able to travel and see the different practices in a smaller city of Hai Duong compared to Hanoi, I of course made new friends and had a little peak into the local life of people outside the busy capital.
Environmental Engineering Internship ,Durham University, England
I learn a lot about how to work in a fast pace environment, and how to organize competing priorities, as I am often given multiple tasks to work on. Working in a small office with young, motivated people is a great experience, because they know how to work really hard, while still having fun together. My internship is with an education service provider that connects Vietnamese students with opportunities to study abroad. It is a small office, and I work in both Marketing and Partner Relations. I write a lot of PR articles about studying in North America, school profiles and upcoming events. I am also working to expand their partnerships, particularly in my home country of Canada, and am connecting with universities and colleges there to discuss how we can work together. During education fairs I talk directly with students who are potential clients. I share my experiences and answer their questions about life abroad.
Marketing Internship ,Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
Nursing Internship ,University of Texas in Austin, USA
I realize that the key to develop yourself is to improve your competence in a whole new environment, and coming to Vietnam for an internship accomplished what I came for. I came here because I wanted to have more confidence to speak up my mind in front of other people and it is hard to accomplish these when you are still in your comfort zone.
Education Internship ,Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan
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
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
I enjoyed the time in Ho Chi Minh city. The experience was much better than I expected. I came with an open mind to face anything, but everything was smooth and easy. The host organisation is satisfying. They tried their best to help me learn. It was satisfying. I would do this again if I get the chance. The abroader staff was really friendly and they prepared everything for me before I landed in Vietnam. So I did not have to worry about anything. I am satisfied with the program and I would recommend this program 100%.
Trainer & Communication Internship ,Deakin University, Australia
Let's Vietnam 2016 Faculty-led Program ,University of Findlay, USA