INTERNATIONAL SERVICE LEARNING
What is service-learning?
Service-learning is defined as a form of experiential education undertaken in partnership with community members and organizations. It integrates “academic material, relevant service activities, and critical reflection in a reciprocal [co-created] partnership that engages students, faculty/staff, and community members to achieve academic, civic, and personal [growth] learning objectives as well as to advance public purposes” (Bringle & Clayton, 2012, p. 105). Students, faculty, and community members all serve as co-educators, co-learners, co-servers, and co-generators of knowledge and practice. An international service-learning program with GVI focuses resources and efforts on working with communities to help them make a difference in their own situations and working with students to help them make a difference in their own lives and those of others through guided critical reflection to generate learning before, during, and after participation in our programs.
Volunteering vs interning vs service-learning
Service-learning is not the same as international volunteerism / community service or as an internship. Community service is generally, undertaken for communities, positioning the volunteer as richer in resources or expertise than those who are, in turn, understood as needing their help. International internships generally occur in communities (off-campus) and focus on student development of professional skills and occur in communities. Service-learning, on the other hand, emphasizes working with, not just in a community.
How service-learning contributes to our mission
As we approach our 20th anniversary, we are re-examining how we can best meet our mission: To build a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference. The drive to fulfill this mission has led us to continue focusing our resources and efforts on working with communities to help them make a difference in their own situations, alongside local partners such as Save the Children (Mexico), Panthera (Costa Rica), The Red Cross, PADI, WWF (Mexico), Project AWARE, and the National Parks of South Africa, Seychelles, Thailand, Mexico and Costa Rica, among others. However, we are also focused on working with students to help them make a difference in their own lives, and those of others, through guided critical reflection and evaluation to generate learning before, during, and after participation in our programs. GVI has always been a mission-led organization, aiming to create exponential change as our alumni, community partners, faculty, and staff use the knowledge and skills they gain as they work and learn together to create further positive change long after the end of a course.
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Choose an Academic Discipline
Students will contribute to solutions for some of the most pressing issues facing conservation, and environmental sustainability. Projects are especially suited to biology, conservation or environmental science majors, and programs can be tailored based on desired learning outcomes and skill development.
Students will engage in a range of initiatives with partner organizations around the world. Our projects seek to bridge economic and social divides that exist in communities due to a lack of access to high quality education, and are suited for education majors or individuals who are interested in a career in teaching, education administration, or nonprofit management.
Students will discuss critical global health issues and contribute towards viable solutions. Our projects are especially suited to public health majors, and programs can be tailored based on desired learning outcomes and skill development. Students will work alongside local citizens on a public health project that will serve long-term community needs.
Students will contribute to solutions for some of the most pressing issues facing ocean conservation and environmental sustainability, alongside an international team and local community members on a long-term, sustainable project. Our projects are especially suited to marine biology or oceanography majors, and programs can be tailored to desired learning outcomes.
Students will engage in a range of initiatives with partner organizations that incorporate microfinance and income-generation. Our projects seek to bridge economic and social divides that exist in these communities due to a lack of access to training or resources, and are suited for business majors or individuals who are interested in a career in business administration or nonprofit management.
GVI specializes in providing service-learning programs to student athletes. Having partnered with several NCAA Division I Athletic Departments, GVI has helped student athletes utilize and deepen their knowledge of teamwork, nutrition, and coaching among other skills. GVI service-learning sports projects are suited for groups of athletes or for individuals interested in a career focused on nutrition and exercise, leadership, and/or coaching.
Students will partner with communities to promote sustainable agriculture and farming for the health and well-being of local citizens. Students interested in environmental studies professions will join GVI staff and partners to discuss critical issues in environmental care and maintenance, and will contribute to projects that work towards sustainable solutions. View PDF now.
Students will engage in gender equality training and education initiatives. Our projects seek to bridge social and gender divides that exist in communities due to a previous lack of access to education and training, and are suited for students interested in a career in leadership, gender equality, community-building, or nonprofit administration/management.