As the demand for meaningful, service-oriented study abroad experiences rises, so does the potential for ethical missteps. Education abroad offices need to be mindful of this as they incorporate new volunteer opportunities into their education abroad portfolios.
Service learning programs can range from one-week trips to a full semester or longer. Many are integrated into an existing study abroad program while others function as stand-alone experiences. No matter how these offerings are structured, education abroad administrators need to ensure that they recommend and develop programs that are sustainable, respectful to the host community, and provide a needed service.
This NAFSA e-Learning Seminar will provide tips and insights into selecting partners and working with host communities to ensure both your students and the local community will benefit. We will discuss proven methods for training your students and accompanying faculty to respect the local culture and be sensitive to its needs.
After attending this NAFSA e-Learning Seminar, participants will be able to:
- Identify ethical issues that often arise during service learning abroad programs;
- Prepare students and faculty to handle ethical issues that may arise on site;
- Create a collaborative environment with host communities and providers; and
- Outline best practices for creating sustainable service learning programs that are respectful of the host community.
The content of this NAFSA e-Learning Seminar will appeal to professionals working in campus education abroad offices, education abroad program provider organizations, and faculty with an interest in service learning.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Jason Kinnear is deputy director of the Study Abroad Office at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He is a passionate higher education executive with experience in education abroad; service-learning and community engagement; and program development and administration. Working in international education since 1998, Kinnear has held positions in international student and scholar services; education abroad; and service-learning at the University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Missouri. These positions have focused on exchange, study abroad, faculty-led, service, and internship programs, and have touched on all aspects of education abroad program development and administration.
Kinnear is active in NAFSA, having served in regional and national leadership positions. He is currently a member of the Education Abroad Knowledge Community Work, Intern, Volunteer, and Research Abroad (WIVRA) Subcommittee and the NAFSA Trainer Corps. Kinnear received a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Northern Colorado and is completing a PhD in educational leadership from Colorado State University.
Heilwig Jones is the founder and director of Kaya Responsible Travel. Jones leads an international team working across 28 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, matching participants to community development and conservation initiatives that need additional help.
The company’s mission balances social, environmental, and economic development with the cultivation of educated and compassionate global citizens. Working with international educators and regularly presenting on the topic of ethics in service-learning, Jones takes a practical approach to raising ethical standards in the context of the challenges and the realities faced by institutions as they work to embrace the growth of experiential education.
Diana Balarezo is director of EcuaExplora, an organization that focuses on enabling meaningful experiences for international students and volunteers in Ecuador and supports sustainable social, environmental, and economic development of the country. She has worked in the tourism industry and education abroad since she was 20 years old, serving as the national coordinator for Ecuador for an engineer intern abroad non-profit organization with more than 80 member countries, as well as the U.S. market leader for the biggest tourism company in Ecuador. She holds an MA in social and environmental studies and a bachelor of science degree in tourism development and hospitality with a minor in fine arts. A native of Ecuador, Balarezo lived in the United States as a student her junior year of college, and after college, as a restaurant manager at a ski resort in Idaho. She also participated in a six-month internship in Valencia, Spain, and has traveled to 21 countries so far.