Service learning is a unique combination of study abroad and community-based volunteer work where participants get to immerse yourself into the local community while developing professional and personal skills.
At its core, service learning focuses on the local community and their 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 faced and approaches to resolve these issues.
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 and cultures
Immerse in local community to understand context and solve problems
Gain hands-on experiences and new skills
Grow personally and professionally through structured coaching and reflection sessions
Service Learning: What can I do?
2 key factors to determine your ideal service learning programs are:
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 skills and backgrounds
At ABROADER, we match students’ interests and skills together with local community’s needs to design the most suitable program. The result is a service learning program where participants contribute real benefits to the local community, leveraging their capacities and interests.
Interested to be part of a service learning program? Get in touch here.
Service Learning: What it means for Educators?
Service learning offers a unique opportunity to provide your students with a structured environment whereby they can apply classroom knowledge in the real world in a meaningful way. The preparation and reflection proponents facilitate students’ learning and guide their work at the local community. Common goals achieved through service learning programs include: a deeper grasp of the course/ curricular content, a nuanced understanding of the local communities and social issues and an enhanced sense of self-identity and civic responsibility.
ABROADER works closely with educators during the entire process, including:
Preparation: Brainstorming the program from course materials, designing program agenda to achieve learning objectives, identifying local community’s needs and key stakeholders
During program: Facilitating student’s work and planning process, conducting on-going evaluation of students’ work, facilitating on-going reflections
After program: Facilitating assessment of local community, students and teaching objectives, Conducting final evaluation of students’ work
Interested to design a program for your students? Contact us here at email@example.com.
Here is a collection of some of our past service learning projects:
In partnership with Northwestern University’s Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI), ABROADER brought together 3 students to work at a social enterprise named Vun Art. “Vun” means “scrap” in Vietnamese, and true to its name, Vun Art turns silk scraps into beautiful silk paintings and provides employment for people with disabilities. Nested inside Van Phuc Silk Village - Vietnam’s 1,200-year-old silk making legacy, Vun Art is working closely with the villagers to bring sustainability and economic empowerment to the locals through recycling and sustainable tourisms.
In its early stage, Vun Art lacks the human resources to develop business and marketing plans. ABROADER brought together 3 Northwestern students and 2 Vietnamese local buddies. Together with backgrounds in Economics, English and Journalism, the team devised a complete business plan for year 2019 and revamped Vun’s website to make it more user-friendly to international customers.
Dream Seed Center
Dream Seed Center (also known as “Nghi Luc Song”) is a social center with the mission of supporting and assisting people with disabilities integrate better into society through a variety of trainings and activities. The center wanted to open a public library to serve its students and the public in the neighborhood. In summer 2019, more than 20,000 books were donated, however, there was a lack of human power and expertise on how to set up a library.
During the program, a group of 3 Northwestern students and 2 ABROADER’s local buddies set up an online, bi-lingual library management system. Over the course of 2 months, they sorted and inputted more than 10,300 books into the system. To ensure its sustainability, the team also created a detailed bi-lingual guide to manage the system and trained 2 volunteers that would later manage the physical library at the center.
The Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) is an NGO that promotes the rights of minority groups in Vietnam. Under the theme of Gender Justice and in response to recent incidents in Vietnam, iSEE ran a project focused on the topic of Gender-based violence victims.
In summer 2019, a group of 3 Northwestern students and 1 ABROADER’s local buddy joined the project at iSEE at its early stage. The team soon learned that the topic was little researched or even written about due to social taboos and lack of data. With a background in sociology and passion for human rights, they came up with the idea of creating a guidebook that documents case study and includes steps that Gender-based violence victims and confidants can take when going through such trauma. The guidebook is the first of its kind to be written on this topic and published in Vietnam.
Myoko is a group of kindergartens for children with autism in Vietnam. One of the few special education centers in Hanoi, Myoko has been helping hundreds of children with special needs learn and gain confidence every year.
As part of the service learning program, 3 American students were placed at Myoko. They supported the teachers during classes as they built their own knowledge of working with Vietnamese children with autism. After that, they identified areas that can be improved and came up with 3 different initiatives using their backgrounds. One student majoring in Engineering suggested a better sound-proof material for the classes and later helped the center install them. Another issue identified is that a few of the kids were having trouble relaxing during lunch break and knowing when they need to go to the bathroom. Using her medical knowledge, the public health students researched on practices to teach autistic kids in the West and suggested a few solutions that Myoko’s teachers can apply. The other students used her writing and social media skills to help promote the center’s fund-rasing flea market.
Culinary Internship ,City College of San Francisco, USA
Hospitality & Tourism Internship ,University of Oregon, USA
Education Internship ,Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan
Bin Zhou (Ryan)
International Technical Business Development Internship ,University of Queensland, Australia
Electrical Engineering and Computing Study Tour ,University of Newcastle, Australia
Overall the people have exceeded my expectations, and they are really what’s going to help make my experience in Vietnam a great one. I’ve always loved leaving my country (the US) and having new experience, so I wanted to do an internship abroad. Having already spent a semester in Europe, I wanted something really different. My mom was born in Saigon and lived there before coming to the United States with her family. So I felt like a good way to get in touch with my culture and my roots would be to spend three months living and working in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In my internship in Vietnam, I have helped with various marketing efforts by giving ideas or designing things. I have learned that, of course, there is a different way of doing business here compared to the United States. Things are run differently, there’s a different office culture, there are just always many cultural differences to keep in mind when doing business in a different country, and Vietnam has not been an exception. The people ABROADER have set me up with have been beyond wonderful. Coming to Vietnam on my own seemed very daunting and intimidating, but ABROADER has helped make the transition smooth and seamless. They helped take care of everything I would need during my time here and have gone above and beyond to assure that things continue to go smoothly. I am very appreciative of their support, and it makes the whole thing a little less scary. My local buddies have been so helpful for everything, and I really feel like they are becoming genuine friends. I am generally pretty shy, so it was nice to have friends before even arriving to help introduce me to more people and get me out there. Overall the people have exceeded my expectations, and they are really what’s going to help make my experience in Vietnam a great one.
Natasha Nguyen Mohney
Marketing Internship ,Indiana University, Bloomington, USA
Hospitality Internship ,Nagoya University of Foreign Studies, Japan
Scrum Master Internship ,Republic Polytechnic, Singapore
Aeroplan Engineering Internship ,Republic Polytechnic, Singapore
I am thankful to God that my daughter had an opportunity to be in Vietnam for 3 months through ABROADER. She stayed with a host family for a month and half and was able to learn a lot about the culture and the food. She loved her host family and misses them. Then she had traveled to Hanoi and worked with ABROADER. The staff was very friendly, caring, and hospitable. After 3 months in Vietnam, I had noticed the changes in my daughter about her outlook of life. She is no longer as much of a picky eater and her compassion and understanding of the Vietnamese people, the culture, and the food has greatly increased. I believe that this experience has helped her grow fast in her journey of life. Thanks ABROADER!!
Marketing Internship ,Natasha Mohney’s mother