Examining Benefits In International Service Learning From Comparative Perspectives: A Case Study Of The Suny-Brockport Vietnam Program

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In recent years, international service learning (ISL) has become very popular at many institutions of higher education. Integrating academic instruction with experiential learning to provide meaningful international experience for university students while addressing the needs of communities around the world has shown to be one of the most effective and powerful pedagogical practices. Because ISL has proven consistently positive benefits for students, many institutions of higher education have begun to embrace it as an innovative teaching concept in their curricula. Using a case of the U.S.-based international service learning program of SUNY Brockport, this doctoral research offers a close study of how benefits are manifested and perceived from various perspectives. The study examines different aspects of benefits including the notion of the perception of benefits from both sides of the program, the service providers' side as well as the local communities in the host country, the recipients of the service. Understanding how different actors in an ISL program perceive their own benefits and those of others may bring about knowledge of how benefits are conceptualized, manifested or constructed, and what factors inform their views. In addition, the findings may offer insight into how benefits are factored into the equation of international service learning - for whom the benefits intended are, who the beneficiaries are, etc. While previous studies indicate that international service learning has a potential to benefit all parties involved, the findings from this case study suggest that the perceived benefits can vary greatly depending on whose perspectives are being considered. Further, the perceptions of benefits may be shaped by factors including socio-economic and cultural differences, historical legacies and personal backgrounds, in addition to the program location and country-to-country dynamics. These factors can significantly shape how different actors perceive their own benefits and those of others. The findings of this doctoral research offer recommendations for both research and practice of this newly uncharted yet increasingly popular field of international service learning in higher education.

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International service learning; Benefits in service learning; Vietnam


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Assie-Lumumba,N'Dri Therese

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Colle,Royal Donald
Williams,Linda Brooks

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Ph. D., Education

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Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document




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dissertation or thesis

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