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Service learning

OVERVIEW

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 apply@abroader.org.

Some Service Learning Projects:

Vun Art

Dream Seed Center

iSEE

Myoko

If you wish to participate in the program, please contact the person in charge of Office of International programs/ External Affairs for more information. 

Contact us HERE for more information related to this program

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. 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. 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)

Internship at Chemizol/Culligan Water Vietnam ,University of Queensland

There are few words that could describe my time here this summer. The time I have spent here has been priceless and life changing, even more than I thought it could be. I learned so much from my nursing internship in Vietnam that will help me very much in my future. However, the life experience I’ve learned, through adapting to another culture, traveling alone to beautiful places and having a sense of home here is something I’ll never forget. The people here have touched my heart, and I’ll have these memories forever. This country, these places and people are beautiful, and I am so happy I came here. It’s inspired me to always follow my dreams, no matter how big they are, and that I can do anything.

ELISE WYNNE DURKIN

Nursing Internship ,Colorado State University, U.S.A

My Internship here was an incredible time. It was educational, stuffed to the brim with wonderful experiences, new friendships and so much more. I am glad to have had ABROADER Vietnam supporting me with adjusting to the lifestyle here, and have already recommended it to colleagues from home. I was impressed by how fast they were to help, and how far they went to help me fix things, if problems occured The only problem I ran into was during my internship, you can imagine the amount of people with adequate english was limited, especially those that were able to give me clear instructions on what to do. As a result, a measurable amount of time was spent observing and helping out with small scale procedures within the departements. This was not the case in all eight of them, so at times I was able to work just like back home, provide valuable assistance to the Nurses in the departement work as an integral part of the team. I believe the internship provided the patients, and the Nurses with a valuable experience. Besides the occasional english lesson for the nurses, being the caregiver to children should expand their cultural horizon. The individuals I worked with, on the other hand provided me with as much attention and chances to learn as possible. In the future, expanding their english knowledge can only improve relations to students. All in all, I am certain that anyone who will be working with them for an internship will see how hardworking they are in making the experience here in vietnam as flawless as possible.

DMITRIJ PUCHINGER

Nursing Internship ,FH Campus Wien

Before the internship in Vietnam, I have always been interested in being a teacher of Japanese and this internship has made me realize how hard it can be teaching someone my own language but also how fun it can be. For anyone who are not used to working in groups, this program pushes you to, a lot of times, with your students, with your fellow interns and with your supervisor. No matter how much I fear working with a group, I realized, through my internship in Vietnam, that teamwork is key to success and you would be surprised how much opening your mind and listening to people’s opinions can get you far.

YUMI KANEYAMA

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.

MONICA ANDERSON

Education Intern ,Oregon State University, U.S.A

My internship in Vietnam with ABROADER was a life changing experience. I was a marketing intern at a travel company in Hanoi and now work for the same company as a full time employee. Being in Vietnam has taught me so much about different people and cultures, as there are many other foreigners working here as well from all over the world. My internship coordinator at ABROADER was so helpful, and was a huge support for me whenever I needed it. I would definitely recommend ABROADER if you are looking to do an internship here. They really cater to your needs and care about what you want and are looking for.

LILLIAN SARAH GRANT

Marketing & Communication Specialist Intern ,University of Massachusetts Amherst, U.S.A

The three weeks that I spent in Vietnam gave me a unique insight and greater appreciation into the world around.

DANTE STANEKE

Engineering Faculty-Led Program ,University of Newcastle, Australia

My nursing internship at the Orthopedic & Rehabilitation Hospital is a treasure experience that I will never forget. Having always wanted to volunteer in Nursing in Asia, I took the opportunity and I am very glad I did. The Nursing Placement I had in Vietnam was exceptionally fulfilling, including the support from my Nurses, Coordinator and Local Buddy. All of whom made me feel very welcomed during the time I was here. The on-site support I received was brilliant, every query I had was answered promptly and professionally and the service was everything I could have asked for.

SARAH HEARD

Nursing Internship ,Graduate, England

Prior to arriving in Vietnam, I had never had a so-called “life-changing” experience. There is no guidebook on how to achieve one, nor was I able to grasp such a concept, moments so strong as to change the path for your life. That is until I went to Vietnam. There is so much more than meets the eye in the beautiful country of Vietnam. A tourist or temporary visitor may only be granted with picturesque views of rice fields and the women in their hats, the mountains of the north, or a steaming bowl of Pho placed on their plastic red table. And while these experiences are all incredible in their own right, there is so much more to discover, whether it be the story of the people under the hats, the sellers on the streets, or the history of the land that you have the opportunity to travel. ABROADER Vietnam granted me the opportunity to uncover such stories, and an internship with memories that has left me longing to go back since the moment I returned home. Vietnam has become my second home. Granted, I had gotten the opportunity to travel and become accustomed to Vietnam for about four months prior to starting the internship. My University had allowed me to study abroad during which time I adjusted to the food and language, learning about almost every aspect of Vietnam culture. But this was only a preview of what was to come. My time with the internship let me interact with the people, practice my Vietnamese, take trips with my coworkers, and uncover passions for things I didn’t know existed. I have too many incredible stories to be able to write them all throughout this review, and so I’ll pick a few of the mostly little interactions that really meant the most. ABROADER Vietnam set me up in a homestay, perhaps one of the highlights of my journey, and I can say with complete honesty that I felt like part of the family. There was a cook by the name of “Vui”, meaning happy in Vietnamese, and how appropriate as she radiated happiness onto me throughout my entire stay. She did not speak any English, but somehow I was able to coordinate trips to the market, request my favorite food for dinners, and convey to her how much I loved her country. She bought me 21 roses on my 21st birthday, only proving her kindness. The mother of the household, unlike Vui, spoke some English. She often taught me Vietnamese when I had free time, as well as took me to the market, and made me feel extremely welcome when I felt the slightest bit homesick. But as for the internship itself, I was placed in two hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, one directly in the center, and one located more on the outskirts. I’m not going to lie and say that there were no challenges. Originally people were confused to why I was there, I got lost several times, and some days I had no one to teach me, but those were a minuscule few days as most, out of a ten week internship. I made friends with the doctors who taught me about topics from infectious diseases in Vietnam, to the catheder lab, and even more in the surgical urology department.. We frequently went out to eat, where we exchanged stories, and I answered curious questions about my time in Vietnam thus far. Other friends I made were medical students, originally too shy to approach me, but through my time in the hospital gathered up the courage to speak to me. I served to help them practice their English and was happy about it as I know how many opportunities it can open up for them. They invited me for bubble tea, food, and even once to a Vietnamese fruit farm, two hours by train. I was gifted the opportunity to dress up in the MOST attractive brown cloth attire, and proceed to pick and eat as much fruit as humanly possible on perhaps one of the most humid days. While I felt almost at home, eating to my hearts desire, I most certainly looked out of place with the brown pants acting more like a short capri on my long legs. It was days like this that I got to thinking of how grateful I was for the opportunity to stay in Vietnam for a little bit longer. I learned lots about my friends, and one of my favorite aspects of their culture is how open they are to strangers; how they just immediately let them in to their personal lives, and are completely honest. It is something that I miss the most. And lastly, as I don’t want to write a novel here, I have to talk about my experiences with the nurses at the second hospital that I worked in. The first week as usual was slightly stressful with not much sense of direction, but I quickly made friends, and their generosity was incredible. My days consisted of learning from doctors for a few hours, walking from room to room, checking patients vitals, or just practicing Vietnamese. But as soon as I took a break in the nurses “lounge”, I was bombarded with different Vietnamese foods coming my way. Each nurse wanted to share with me a piece of their dish, and talk to me as much as they could. Each morning from there on I would be asked in Vietnamese “Ali an sang chua?”, a phrase meaning “have you eaten breakfast yet?” Per usual I had not, and my answer encouraged them to start making me a coffee, and once again piling different foods in my bowls and encouraging me to eat mysterious shaped foods. My response that the food was delicious, or “ngon”, only encouraged them more. This routine continued until the end of my internship. The goodbyes were not easy, and there were many I had to make. Each attempted goodbye always ended with another attempt by them to try and meet up once more, at which I sullenly had to refuse. There are only a few things I will say to end this review that went much too long. These moments that I experienced were granted to me due to my opportunity to take up an internship with ABROADER, who set me up in the select hospitals, with my host family, and opened the doors for me to make connections. And of course when you take on an internship you have to do your part. You must be open, able to laugh when things don’t go your way, and not let any roadblock deter you. Looking back I know that I have changed. While I couldn’t see it in the moment, the internship boosted my confidence and improved my relationship with failure. It also made my more open with myself and those that I met. I wished my internship could go longer, and perhaps I will find a job in Vietnam one day, so for now all I can do is reminisce through reviews about the most life-changing time I had with my internship and with ABROADER.

ALISON BURELBACH

Medical Internship ,Loyola University Chicago

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%.

Dan Fernando

Trainer & Communication Internship ,Deakin University