doi: 10.5191/jiaee.2013.20201

 

Selected Students’ Perspectives on International Service-Learning:
A Case Study in Chajul, Guatemala

 

Caroline Black

Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communications

Texas A&M University

600 John Kimbrough Blvd.

2116 TAMU

College Station, TX 77843

Tel: (979)845-6296

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Lori Moore

Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communications

Texas A&M University

600 John Kimbrough Blvd.

2116 TAMU

College Station, TX 77843

 Tel: (979)845-1295

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Gary Wingenbach

Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communications

Texas A&M University

600 John Kimbrough Blvd.

2116 TAMU

College Station, TX 77843

 Tel: (979)862-1507

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Tracy Rutherford

Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communications

Texas A&M University

600 John Kimbrough Blvd.

2116 TAMU

College Station, TX 77843

 (979)458-2744

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate a unique international service-learning experience between two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and a college of agriculture. This case study focused on a 25-day international service-learning study abroad program to Guatemala for Texas A&M University students. Ash and Clayton’s (2009a) service-learning model was used for Texas A&M University students to complete service-learning projects in the highlands of Guatemala. The study abroad group, working with two NGOs, completed multiple service-learning projects in three rural communities. Nine undergraduate students documented their experiences through field logs and reflection papers. Five major themes were revealed in students’ written artifacts: adaptation, culture, collaboration, communication, and value of knowledge. This international service-learning opportunity empowered students to embrace different cultures and languages while applying academic knowledge gained through study abroad coursework in Guatemala. The results are useful for informing the policies and practices of future international service-learning opportunities through Texas A&M University. Future research should expand our understanding of interaction between land-grant universities and NGOs to maximize practical impacts of international service-learning projects in college of agriculture study abroad programs.

 

 

Keywords: Service-Learning, Study Abroad, Higher Education, Culture, Communication, Diversity, Adaptation

 

 

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