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Strategies to Mitigate the Negative and Accentuate the Positive Impacts of International Service-Learning on Host Communities

Shari Galiardi, Jenny Koehn


International service-learning can have a transformative effect on student participants, but little research has been done on the impact of these experiences on host communities. The authors make the case that an emphasis on intentional personal, cultural, and group preparation is imperative to have the best possible impact on both the student and host community. Overarching strategies include: 1) preparing students for their experience prior to departure from both an individual and group development perspective; 2) designing reflection activities and discussions that include members of the host community; 3) facilitating open conversations about equitable relationships, international perspectives of Americans, and potential negative effects the group could have on the host community; 4) providing opportunities for post-travel dialogue and personal action plans for re-engaging with the local community upon return. The authors draw from both theoretical frameworks and many years of experience traveling abroad with students to underpin the strategies outlined in this article.



service-learning; group development; international

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Partnerships is sponsored by North Carolina Campus Compact, and hosted by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. ISSN: 1944-1061
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