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Service learning

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?

At ABROADER, we match your interests and skills together with the local community’s needs to design the most suitable program. The result is a service learning program where you contribute real benefits to the local community, leveraging their capabilities and interests.Our two key factors to determine your ideal service-learning programs include:

  • 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:

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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.

Interested to be part of a service learning program? Get in touch for more info
Visit our Reviews page for more Stories of Past Students

The industry visits provided real-world experience and foresight into our future careers. The field trips gave us a new insight into a rich, deep culture, and ABROADER organised parties were heaps of fun... They usually ended up turning into a very late night as well. During the trip I always felt safe thanks to the local buddies and our program coordinator. Before I left for this trip, I could not help but feel nervous. It was my first time travelling overseas and I was about to leave my home country for ~one month. I did not know what to expect from Vietnam/Singapore, the people I was travelling with, or the countless people I would meet overseas. Since the very first moment that I arrived the local buddies welcomed me with open arms. The entirety of the group that I came over with also bonded so much quicker than I thought possible. From the start we were exploring Ho Chi Minh City, while introducing ourselves to the locals and the nightlife. All the activities on the trip were great and we were all kept busy. This was a really big positive in my opinion as, had a tentative schedule have not been organised, it may have become easy to 'waste' a day or more relaxing. That being said, there were some free days designated throughout the trip should you wish to catch up on some sleep ;). Provided you use a little bit of travelling smarts I cannot see any problems that should arise on your trip. Each and every one of the local buddies, (our coordinator included), were so kind and caring. You should really give it your best effort to open up and engage with each of them. They are all such great and unique people and provide the best way to truly immerse yourself in the adventure. Furthermore, they are so selfless and are always able to provide advice or help you out with literally anything. You have a golden opportunity to make some truly long-lasting friendships. Both Vietnam and Singapore themselves were amazing countries to visit. There is an aura about both that gives you the feeling that something is always happening. Particularly in Vietnam, most local places are open at almost all hours of the day and deep into the night. However, this never left me feeling as though the cities we visited were too busy. Being in a largish group of good friends and exploring was completely fun and relaxing too. The visits to more discrete locations were also beautiful and completely peaceful. Finally, the local civilians were so kind, welcoming and genuinely happy that we were experiencing their culture and lifestyle. Now that the trip is over all I can think about is how I wish it had gone for longer. How I wish I had extended my trip even further, and how I am already planning to meet with the friends I have made on this journey for further travel. So, if you are worried or nervous about any parts of this trip, all I can say is that it truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity. There are so many friends and stories to be made. Get out there, take every opportunity you can, don't overthink it and just do it!

Calen Blake

Electrical Engineering and Computing Study Tour ,University of Newcastle, Australia

All in all, to say I learn a lot is an understatement. I’ve gained precious insights and experience into the development process by getting the opportunity to work with an industry-leading company. I’ve improved my technical skills in JavaScript and updated my skills to the latest technologies. For future interns working for here, I advise that you come with open arms and the willingness to learn. You should be open to making new friends and learning new things, and I assure you that you will have a great time here just like I had. If I could redo my experience, I would’ve taken the opportunity to make friends outside of my circle. To socialize with more people here in Vietnam. I would also love to immerse myself more in the Vietnamese culture and explore Vietnam more, experiencing new food and places.

Muhammad Zaidi Bin Noraidi

IT Internship ,Republic Polytechnic, Singapore

The local buddies were amazing!! Such a wonderful experience!! I would recommend to everyone, even if you don’t know anyone else. Was such a great time meeting new people and exploring a culture that was so welcoming. Due to the local buddies we got to experience the local side of Vietnam and all the places the average tourist won’t get to see. I also know my class mates at lot better. I have made connections with industry professionals that will stay with me after I graduate. Loved it!!!!!!!!!!

Baillie Wheatly

Electrical Engineering and Computing Study Tour ,University of Newcastle, Australia

I was happy with everything else including in-country logistics and visa support, orientation and city tour and I would definitely recommend this internship in Vietnam to my friends or students who are interested. Though most of my work was limited to observation depending on what department I was placed in, I was able to contribute to the nursing staff by other means (i.e. sorting through medicine to be used for the next day). However, in the ICU, I got to perform all nursing tasks except for mixing drugs as only head nurses could do that task. In addition, I found it really helpful that I had many supervisors at work and they all cared that I learned from this experience. Regarding my experience with ABROADER Vietnam service, what I appreciated the most was probably the local buddy they paired me with here.

Niki Pham

Nursing Internship ,University of Texas in Austin, USA

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.

Monica Anderson

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.

Elena Tokukatsu

Marketing Internship ,Keio University, Japan

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.

Geogre Wilson

Environmental Engineering Internship ,Durham University, England

It was an overall enjoyable experience having my internship done through ABROADER Vietnam. The host company that they connected me with has been welcoming, friendly, I have been able to experience a lot of different elements of the company’s culture, helping different people and learning new things about not only the company but also working in general. I felt that I contributed to the host company and my particular help with the MWRP (checking English) was of great importance to them as the deadline approached. They have given me feedback and said that some of my research into potential donors and other youth initiatives in climate change adaptation has been of use to them too. Regarding ABROADER Vietnam intern service was my placement and the amazing support from local staff and volunteer in Hanoi. Would I recommend the internship to anyone interested, definitely!

Maarten Van Balen

Environmental Engineering Internship ,University of Edinburgh, Scotland

The 5 months spent in Vietnam was not only enjoyable but also felt enriching. I have become many times more independent than before and thoroughly enjoyed working at Vinmec General International Hospital- A conducive and enjoyable workplace for those interested in a career in Healthcare.

Skye Lee

Healthcare & Pharmacy Internship ,Republic Polytechnic, Singapore

Being in Vietnam is the best experience in my life so far!!! I cannot believe 6 weeks have actually gone by. I love my internship at Siten. People in the company are really helpful and understanding. They are like a family. Like when I was sick and asked for a morning off, they told me to stay at home for the afternoon so that I can truly feel better. My Thuan – my supervisor has taught me so much. He actually encouraged me to go explore Vietnam – so different from other leaders I know. He let me do what I want to do. The largest problem was the language barrier but we managed to communicate with each other quite well. They said I inspire them to learn English. So yeah, everything is pretty perfect. The best experience in my life so far! At Siten I worked on a project for learning English in which I helped develop the website and prototyped games. The staff also me HTML which I really enjoyed learning. Besides going to work, I spent all of my weekend travel to new places like Sapa, Hoian, Danang, Ha Long Bay. I met with so many nice people who are so friendly and they really want you to immerse into the culture. If there is one thing I feel that I have grown, it must be my ability to talk with people, to be more open towards anything. Before coming here I knew pretty much nothing about Vietnam. Still I managed to live here and was actually never lonely my whole time being in Vietnam. I am glad that I came here. I cannot believe I am gonna leave this place so soon. Thank you all so much!

Zareen Fazleabas

IT Internship ,Pennsylvania State University, USA