Doing More with Less: Civic Practices for Longer-Term Impact in Global Service-Learning

Nuria Alonso, García Nicholas, V Longo
2017 Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad   unpublished
This essay explores the potential value of short-term study abroad experiences within the unique framework of a new global service-learning program at Providence College which connects international with local engagement as a way to "do more with less." The authors first introduce a typology for global service-learning, illustrating how this model fits within current approaches to international service-learning. They then describe a case study, Voices Across Borders, the global service-learning
more » ... program which provides opportunities for students to engage with rural Nicaraguan and urban Providence youth through projects that harness the power of storytelling to make connections across borders. Based on the lessons from this effort, the essay offers a set of civic practices that can support the longer-term impact of short-term global service-learning, including i) fostering storytelling across borders; ii) cultivating students as partners; iii) developing reciprocal community partnerships; and iv) creating public work, visual, auditory or performing public artifacts. After describing the challenges for short-term international engagement, the authors conclude that global service-learning initiatives might more appropriately be focused on collaborative learning, rather than service, as a way of thinking more comprehensively about the entire global "ecology of education" which links learning at the international and local levels.