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Rutgers
Study Abroad
Why Service Learning?


Service Learning Abroad has been described as learning about the world, in the world, and for the world.  But what does this mean exactly?

 
Student Testimonial:

"My service learning experience dug deep into systematic issues and helped open a discussion about our preconceived notions of how the world works."

- Vanessa
women's and gender studies major
 
In addition to the many acknowledged benefits of global study, service learning programs emphasize several key types of learning strategies and outcomes.

1. Global knowledge: students gain awareness and understanding of prevailing world conditions and developments and their causes.  This learning about the world is more than simply fact-based, but forces the learner to also consider their own positionality and agency in complex global systems.


2. Experiential and community-based learning: Student learning is derived not only from books and lectures, but from direct engagement in real-world community development settings.  Such learning in the world is also multidirectional, meaning that students learn not only from course instructors, but from community members, peers, and ultimately from themselves through regular guided reflection. 


3. Path toward global civic engagement: Service learning should ultimately provoke a profound desire within students to transform new knowledge and experience into concrete actions for building a better world.   This desire, coupled with a more global perspective and sense of social responsibility, is a key ingredient in the formula for global citizenship education.  It represents learning for the world, without which our experiences abroad may be rendered self-serving or superficial.