More and more of our students apply to ASA with hopes of having a chance to give back to their community in the form of service. To meet the demand, ASA has worked with our partner universities in several locations to develop courses and programs that include community service opportunities. So far, all of our students who have participated have given great feedback. They’ve not only given back to their community, but they’ve used their service hours to practice their new language with local residents, and have gotten to learn more about the local culture and economy in the process.
They feel good about themselves for sharing their skills, and putting time and energy into a project or organization that is important to them, all while helping others. Below you can read about the community service and service learning opportunities available in some of our fastest growing ASA programs. We look forward to you joining us in our mission to give back to the communities that have been so welcoming to our students, and to us. You won’t regret it, we promise!
Vina del Mar, Chile
At the Universidad Vina del Mar (UVM), students who demonstrate an Intermediate level of Spanish or higher are able to enroll in a course entitled “Cultures in Contact”. This credit-bearingcourse introduces students to international and Chilean intercultural communication studies focusing on the origin of the cultures to achieve greater understanding of differences and similarities of each culture. Students choose among the non-profit foundations with a relationship with UVM to perform volunteer work during 2 hours each week. Robert, a Fall 2012 student, took this course and was able to participate in English teaching workshops as part of his volunteer participation.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Starting in Fall 2013, our partners at ICDS Costa Rica will offer a new service-learning course entitled “Community Engagement and Sustainable Human Development”. This credit-bearing course will provide students the opportunity to participate in community work, complemented with reflection spaces in the classroom along with discussions about topics of local human development processes in urban Costa Rica. Through ICDS’s strong relationships and collaborations with many different organizations in the San Jose community, the course will offer rich and varied service opportunities to students who enroll in this course.
In Cuzco students have the option of volunteering a few hours a week at a Health Clinic for children with special needs. Students set their own hours and develop their own projects as well as aiding the other volunteers at the clinic with performing daily tasks. Seen below is Kelsey, a Summer 2011 student, spending time with one of her favorite patients at the clinic. She said she fell in love with Peru thanks to her summer studying abroad with ASA and her time volunteering at the clinic.
One of our favorite organizations is Global Grins. Before departure all students are encouraged to participate in the program, and those who choose to will be sent a box of toothbrushes to distribute when they arrive abroad. Previous students who have participated have reported that it has been a wonderful way to give back to their new communities, meet new people, and help bring a brighter smile to the faces of children around the world. Students have brought toothbrushes to hospitals in Buenos Aires, orphanages in Dublin, and homeless shelters in Lima.