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Service Learning and Volunteering Abroad

Last week was National Volunteer Week across the country.  In recognition of this week, we wanted to highlight a couple Interstudy programs where you can participate in volunteering and/or service learning.  Contact us at 781-391-0991 or if you have any questions!

Interstudy encourages our students to take advantage of the many opportunities to gain hands-on experience and give back to your host country’s community while abroad.  By participating in a volunteer or service learning experience, you are pretty much guaranteed to engage more deeply with people from your host country and gain a deeper understanding of the culture.

Service Learning vs. Community Service/Volunteering
What’s the difference, right?  Well, the biggest difference is credit.  Typically, a community service. or volunteer, placement is not for academic credit.  You choose to “volunteer” your time for the cause, without a set time commitment.  Service learning, on the other hand, an academic, for credit, course, that involves community service along with in class time to discuss, analyze, and reflect on your experience.  Most Service Learning programs discuss the theory behind community service and the impact volunteers have on local communities.

You will find opportunities to volunteer with the local community through many of our partner institutions as well. Your first stop, if you’re interested in volunteering, should be the Student Union.  Many times there are student groups already formed around certain causes, and you can fold right into these established organizations.  Here are a few examples:

National University of Ireland, Galway
Check out this video on volunteering at NUI Galway!

University of Cape Town
Visiting students are able to get involved with a well established student organization, SHAWCO, while studying abroad at UCTSHAWCO‘s vision is “To improve the quality of life of previously disadvantaged individuals in developing communities within the Cape Town metropolitan area”.  They do this through established connections within the community to help alleviate issues of education, health, and poverty.  Read more at

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