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Oct 26

Reading Reflection Nine: International and Cross-cultural service learning

Here are some potential questions to answer related to this week’s reading (as usual…. by 1:30PM Thursday). Remember that the best answers draw from both the reading and your own personal experiences:

  • What specific issues related to immigration, migration, and our close proximity to Mexico might service learners in Southern California face?
  • How can you get engaged in international service learning at UCI and why might you?
  • How do the different elements present in Figure 1 relate to your major and interests?  What would it look like to do international service learning in the career/field you are studying?
  • How can you use the theoretical foundations Crabtree describes in your projects this quarter or other service you are doing?

37 comments

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  1. Natasha Zubair

    As the Crabtree reading mentions, International Service Learning is comprised of academic and community-based service learning in an International setting. Some benefits of ISL mentioned are that it enhances global and cultural awareness, and builds on the civic mentality and skills of those who participate in International Service Learning programs. I feel like I would be interested in an opportunity such as this one especially if it incorporates all aspects like travel, education, research, and community service. To be able to receive this opportunity would be a surreal learning experience because yes, service learning can be done in any local city but the fact that it’s International is an even bigger attraction. One way students like myself can get involved in volunteering abroad through UCI, is by visiting summer.uci.edu and clicking on the link that mentions earning units by volunteering abroad. Taking a class in another country would be such a unique opportunity on its own but giving back to the community, receiving an education, and touring a different place seems to me like the whole package which is why I am really considering studying/volunteering abroad next summer.

    1. Ai-Thuan Nguyen

      It does seem really interesting to me also! The only problem is where the money is going to come from.

  2. Alejandro Barraza

    How do the different elements present in Figure 1 relate to your major and interests? What would it look like to do international service learning in the career/field you are studying?

    The Cross-Cultural Adjustment and Communication element from Figure 1 best relates to my major, interests, and plans for the future. In “Theoretical Foundations for International Service-Learning,” Crabtree goes in specific detail about culture shock and cultural adjustment when talking the Cross-Cultural Adjustment and Communication element. The culture shock consists of the intense psycho-emotional, ideological, and physiological disruptions when international immersion occurs. In other words, culture shock is the problematic issues that occur when a citizen from one country travels to another country for an extended period. Within this culture shock there is a cultural adjustment, which is the citizen trying “normalize” in the community, and then “engage” in the community.

    Culture shock and culture adjustment is in my major, Criminology, Law, and Society, in two obvious locations. The first location is prisons because of the wide discrepancy between people of ethnic backgrounds in comparison to Caucasians in prisons. To this end, my major looks at this question and studies it various angles. For instance, we look at police interaction with different ethnicities or there use of discretion to arrest different ethnicities. We study the court system and understand why getting a public defender, the lawyers that most minorities get, in contrast to getting a private attorney, the lawyers the most wealthy get, determine the outcome of a trial. The second location is communities, we try to understand how culture shock causes ethnicities to join gangs and commit crimes. Also, these ethnicities failure to adjust to US culture corresponds to why police will arrest them more often, and their views about police and the criminal process in general. One of these views being the belief that they must try to stay out of court or plea bargain because if they feel if they see a judge they will most likely go to jail.

    This is definitely an interest of mine because growing up my family only feared the criminal process, and did not understand it. When I work in a law office, I plan to be very understanding to any foreign ethnicities because they see the criminal process and anything associated with it is seen as scary. To this end, I will try to help individuals today and in the future I take into account this culture shock and cultural adjustment to better understand people. For instance, there are many times at my service site when there are Mexican immigrant parents feeling that they are being taken advantage of mostly because they do not understand the program. When this occurs, I step in and try to calm the parents down, and answer any questions so they could feel like they are not alone.

    1. Kellie St. Pierre

      We’ve been studying a bit about culture shock in one of my management classes lately and it plays a huge role personally and organizationally. Trying to emerge oneself into a whole different country is extremely complicated, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Adjusting to a culture may take an extended amount of time, which may put off the actual “engaging” in the community. This gradual “normalizing” to a particular country does not only have an effect on the individual, but also strongly impacting the organization as well.

      Culture shock and adjustment also exists in my major and interest as well. As a dance major, my hope is to either get into a dance company in which we will tour nationally and internationally, or be able to share and exchange dance with international choreographers and dancers. There are major dance companies/works/scenes in Germany, Russia, Asia, and Europe, as well as the United States. Dance is a field in which the language barrier does not seem to be as big of a problem because the main language we communicate is through our bodies. Many companies travel the world and perform in different locations one right after another. Also, it is very common for a choreographer from one country be sent over to work with dancers located in a different country. No matter which dance scene, it is likely that the crowd drawn will be local and foreign people.

      This summer I got the opportunity to work with many international dancers and choreographers. I studied for six weeks with a Russian choreographer and this experience really opened my eyes to how important understanding cultures internationally is! Even in a situation where language barriers are not the biggest obstacle, an understanding of each other is vital. The more we integrate international service learning, the better prepared we will be as we enter the civic engagement world with our areas of study.

  3. George Goodman

    I think International service learning in the field of business is a great idea. A group of business students could go into communities around the world that have poor economies and can teach individuals and families how to run a small business in their community. In addition, basic financial planning can be done so that families know how to live efficiently even with the scarce assets and resources they may have. This could also be beneficial to the business students because they can build networks around the world and learn about how business might be different in that country. In the long run, this kind of international business collaboration could elevate the level of economies around the world. In addition, the business students might learn another language and cultural customs which is crucial in today’s flat business world. My aunt goes to China on business every six months, and she tells me how important it is to know the customs when you go to a business dinner or have a meeting. Considering many companies are now making their products in other countries, this international service learning experience might be the difference between you getting hired instead of the guy interviewing next.

    In the conclusion of Crabtree’s paper she talks about the trip to Santa Rosa, a small community in Nicaragua. Imagine if there was a group of business students on the trip who created a financial budget for the community center that was not yet built. And then wrote a business proposal to global corporations, to get the project funded. This could leave a long term plan for the community to grow, not just fix their short term needs. In addition, these students might even use their entrepreneurial skills to teach the community how to use their mountainous terrain to start a business. Maybe the area gets tons of snow that melts for much of the year. A water bottling business starts and they sell the water to tourist locations in Central America. The names for this program could be World Business Help or Flying Business Consulting.

  4. Leslie Mendoza

    To be engaged in an international service learning site, most UCI students can obtain the information on how to do so by going to the CIE (center for international education site). There, you can choose whether you want an educational travel abroad(EAP) or the IOP program. In theory,I would love to travel to another country for the experience of cultural exchange. Realistically, I’m not sure how that differs from Crab tree’s view that most students go into a different country for the purpose of traveling without the learning experience. Individuals have different reasons, and I think regardless of intent, each travel benefits them by giving them a new thought. Of course, granted that Crab tree has a reasonable argument that most individuals go to countries without being informed and without having been “shocked,” the learning and service experience could had been more beneficial to both the country and themselves.

    This somewhat reminds me of what the OTI group presentation. It seemed that some went for the “experience” of traveling, rather than actually understanding from a historical perspective the conflicts that Israeli and Palestian individuals faced. Perhaps we should incorporate a history class as a pre-requisite before traveling? Who knows.

    1. Elim Loi

      I think UCI’s CIE is a great source of so many ways for any student to learn about going abroad for work, volunteer or study. There are so many connections to a wide range of countries offering various opportunities. Even if students just travel to different countries and places, i feel like it is inevitable that they will learn a lot and have different experiences. However, i do think that learning and service while abroad puts so many things about culture and lifestyle in a new light compared to what any of us see in America.

      I think it is fine, in certain circumstances, to go on trips where you don’t really know what you’re stepping into, such as concerning the history and issues amidst that place. For example, one of the girls from OTI that did not know anything going in to the trip was able to learn so much and realize a lot of things without biased previous assumptions or ideas, so that was a good thing for her. However, I do agree that, in other situations, it is very beneficial to understand or be informed about the country and culture you are going to. there may be crucial things to be familiar with or be able to recognize in a new country to avoid offending people from there and causing problems for you and them. It could also ease the culture shock you might experience if you are informed of certain things before.

  5. Dillon Gamboa

    Getting involved in any service learning activity is an easy task, and the same goes for international service learning. I think one way to get involved in International Service Learning is to find an organization that makes trips to different countries to build houses, or do other community service related activities. However, another way to get involved internationally and be more aware of your environment is to do Education Abroad Program.

    I would want to get involved internationally because it is an experience. I would get the opportunity to not only learn about a different country and its culture, but also take a bigger role in it while I am there. Doing ISL is important because other countries are not as well off as the USA, and it is important to give back to the communities in need. Being able to do so, makes a difference in someone else’s life. Also, I think it is important to experience other cultures and to be informed about the world that you live in.

    1. David Moghissi

      I agree with you, Dillon. With all the natural disasters that have been occuring around the world, there are many opportunites for students to go abroad on ISL trips. Africa, East Asia, and South America look like they can offer a lot to students who visit. U.S. students could even stay closer to home and travel to Haiti, for example. After the devastating earthquake that recently occured there, ISL’s could play a vital role in the recovery process.

  6. Brenda Ramirez

    Like Crabtree, I am also in limbo when it comes to International Service Learning. Crabtree stated that the purpose of promoting ISL was to promote world peace and international understanding, but with globalization and international businesses expanding all over the place it is difficult for students to become truly “immersed” in the host country. When I hear students speak about their study abroad experience, I hear more about what they did in their off-time and how much fun they had outside of class. While it does teach students about other cultures, the students don’t seem as politically or socially engaged or concerned about the host country. If students had more opportunities to go to areas where there was a lot less western influence or countries that were less industrialized, I would assume that students there would be a lot more concerned about political, social, or other issues.

    In my personal experience, I went to countries that catered more to tourist or that were industrialized and so did not have to worry much about anything except school and work. I spent much of my time partying. One country I constantly partied in was Luxembourg. It is one of the richest countries in the world. From time to time I read the newspaper and learned about social injustices in the country. I cared, but did not care enough to volunteer or donate money to help certain organizations.

    On the opposite side of the spectrum, I went to Togo and Ghana for a year. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! I had to worry about Malaria, clean water, getting mugged because the majority of streets weren’t lit, food, and keeping a low profile because I looked completely different.
    In these countries I learned how large tribes used to exist, but the Germans and others came to create a slave port. Later France and Britain took control of the area and split the area into two seperate countries even though indigenous groups would be split by a border. I constantly researched why these areas had social problems and lacked basic necessities, such as water. Partying here was possible, but it was really hard to forget thesocial problems and I even felt guilty partying while people outside were living in extreme poverty.

    If service learning could be oriented towards learning and real “immersion”, I think students would focus on the original goals of ISL. At UCI students have a variety of opportunities to participate internationally. Many on campus clubs go out and help certain communities. My advice would be that students find a club that interests them and sign up for an international community service trip within the club, if they have one.

  7. Nicole Fulbright

    As a UCI student, the best and most accessible way of going about International Service Learning is by studying abroad. There are many, many different programs from which we can choose from and luckily, there is also financial aid to make this more feasible. As twenty-something students, we are at the best age in our lives to engage ourselves in other cultures. At this age, we are still young and somewhat naive, which I think plays in our favor. We are not old enough to be stuck in our own culture and beliefs, there is still plenty of room for us to grow and change how we see the world. However, I do believe that many students will not take advantage of the opportunity at hand properly. Many students will not go out and attempt to learn about the people, culture and politics of the new place they are seeing. Most college students will take advantage of other things such as lower drinking ages and more lenient laws. This, unfortunately, is not the point of studying abroad. Nearly everyone who does choose to study abroad thoroughly enjoys their experience, but we must examine whether they have come away with the right experiences. I have not had the opportunity to study abroad yet, but I fully intend to do so eventually, especially since my major is International Studies! After reading this article and critically considering the intentions of ISL and studying abroad, I hope to use my time abroad wisely and come away with a truly life changing experience- for all the right reasons.

  8. Wendy Salazar

    Crabtree’s article speaks of some benefits that come from international service learning and how those might differ from study abroad per se. From what I understood, Crabtree argues that the study abroad experience is much more focused on the student and therefore more beneficial to him/her. Even though they are enhancing their international understanding, they are also acquiring language skills, job preparation, etc. On the other hand, service learning is more like a mutual relationship were both parties give to each other. Students might be giving their assistance in a certain project, but also learning about cross-cultural psychology and variations in communication styles. I definitely agree with the previous point, however, I do not feel it is necessary to go to go far to learn from others.

    Crabtree mentions the effect and importance of “culture shock” on service learning, however, one does not have to go to a different country to experience such a thing. Being that California and Mexico share a border, it is no surprise that the Hispanic population is so large in Southern California. However, such populations and others tend to centralize in specific areas, for example, Santa Ana. Yes, some traditions may be lost as generations progress, but many are kept. A person who has never really lived in a highly Hispanic populated community, can simply volunteer or spend some time in Santa Ana and learn a thing or two. One can easily learn about traditional dishes and even acquire new language skills by simply driving a couple miles away from UCI.

    The idea of experiencing “culture shock” in your own country, or even state is very familiar to me. The beginning of my first year at UCI was very difficult for me. Having grown up in Los Angeles, I was very familiar the idea of diversity, but that usually meant Blacks and Hispanics. When I came to Irvine, I honestly felt like I was the only Latina at UCI, until I spotted someone else and of course immediately befriended her. I was so used to my comfort zone, that being around a completely different population and environment at that, was a very strange feeling. Honestly, I had never seen nor been around so many Asians in my life or in a city without homeless people, trash, and street parking. It was all so weird then. Now, some of my closest friends are of Asian background; I have learned how to make curry and egg rolls, and they learned how to make enchiladas.

    College provides students with the opportunity to expand and learn from different cultures. It is not always necessary to travel far, to gain cultural awareness. A person can learn much if he/she simply allows himself/herself to step outside their comfort zone and into the unknown.

  9. Anthony La

    A way that you can get involved in international service learning at UCI would be to study abroad. I’ve always heard of students rave about the numerous benefits that come along with discovering other cultures that differ from your own. this brings up the possible notion of ‘culture shock’ as Crabtree describes it as a cultural adjustment period where a citizen is immersed into another community and must learn to “normalize” and ultimately become “engaged” into it.
    I’ve personally never traveled before and am certainly envious of all the people who do are in turn given a whole different perspective on life. This brings about one of the many benefits of traveling which is this newfound view on the world. Spending time in another country bestows you a whole different vantage point on how life can be lived. For instance, if you go somewhere on the east coast such as New York or DC, you’re exposed to a whole different way to live: where subways and metros are your means of transportation. As opposed to here where your car is your life, without it you feel helpless. Traveling to a different country is a whole different animal, being exposed to a whole different culture and having to adapt. I can only imagine it can be very challenging yet gratifying. This reminds of the movie “the last samurai” with Tom Cruise who is captured by the japanese and eventually learns their traditions and values and ultimately fights against his own country.
    International service in these international countries makes it that much more satisfying. Being able to learn the culture while providing service sounds very appealing. There are always people in need where ever you go. Knowing you helped someone wherever you are is just as gratifying.

  10. Nirav Bhardwaj

    There are many ways to get involved with international service learning at UCI. Many people who have posted have listed Study Abroad as a great way to get involved internationally, and while that is great, I personally believe there are many other interesting ways to get involved specifically by Serving internationally. By this I am emphasizing the difference between study abroad programs and service abroad programs. I have seen many programs which allow you to go abroad as a service learner to help students and families in need overseas. Also, there are many programs in which students go to Mexico to help build homes for those who are unfortunate.
    To take a step even further, I believe it would be great for a group of students to take initiative in creating an international service learning project of their own. An example would be going to a rural area of India and starting a not-for-profit medical facility. This may sound like something that is out of reach, but honestly, anything is possible if people are dedicated and willing enough to accomplish it.
    There are many reasons why students would be interested in doing a project like this. The obvious one is – having the heart to help out those who are in need and not as fortunate as we are. If we are the ones who have the resources, then why shouldn’t we take initiative in creating these projects and helping out. Another reason (which isn’t as heart-filled as the previous) is for the benefit of one’s CV. There is no better way to separate yourself from the rest of the pack than by initiating a service-learning business project on the other side of the world.

    1. David Moghissi

      Great post, Nirav. There are actually a number of student groups at UCI who specialize in the type of medical mission you outlined in your post. One such group is UC Irvine’s Flying Samaritans. They travel to Mexico and work at a clinic that provides free medical care to those in need. This type of ISL is one that can serve as a model for other students looking to branch out into the international arena.

  11. Jessica Yen

    In my perspective, International Service-Learning is essential because it combines both academic study with community service, so that you are able to constantly apply what you learn in the classrooms to situations in outside daily life. The end result is an extremely rich experience where your knowledge in academics, cultural awareness, and civilization is broadened. Moreover, you are making positive changes in a particular community as well.
    One of the greatest advantages of international service-learning is that anyone from any major can easily relate to their field work. Whether you are studying psychology, business economics, or biology, it’s always possible to find an appropriate service-learning experience that matches your passion and interests. Also, besides improving a community and gaining real-life experience, this opportunity can widen your career chances and make you look like a more desirable job applicant. Lastly, any international service-learning experience can be both an emotionally and academically demanding experience. Not only will you be volunteering for the good of the community, you will be directly interacting with the inhabitants of the differing country and building relationships with the people you work with.
    To get engaged with an international service learning site at UCI, one of the best ways to find more information about it is the Center for International Education. Here, one can find ample chances to go abroad to be absorbed into a different lifestyle in a totally new country while taking classes for course units through the Education Abroad Program (EAP). Also, one can become a part of the UCI’s Global Leadership Certificate Program, where you can prepare to be a global leader in your major field. Here, you will gain multicultural knowledge to interact successfully with people in different countries and to gain the chance to work outside of the university. Also, you can explore human, technological and environmental changes and challenges of society and how other countries are being affected by the same issues. Another way to get involved with UCI’s international service learning is to join a club organization that may do some social or volunteer work in another country. For instance, a lot of my friends who are a part of IMED or other medical organizations travel to countries in Africa and other parts of the world to provide medical assistance and home-repairing projects.

    1. Jennifer-Christine Madamba

      I agree with you Jess. Traveling abroad to do service learning projects does not only give you experience but a greater knowledge and awareness of what goes on in the world.

  12. Patricia Chiu

    An element in figure 1 relates to my Biological Sciences major in that the Civic Education and Service Learning will consist of helping out the community in ways that will benefit their health. I will probably be conducting research about the constituents of that city prior to visiting the area and helping out with the health services there. In order for me to have a better understanding of why help is needed in the area, it would be better if I possessed some background knowledge as to why help is needed there and a list and description of diseases that prominent in the area. In addition, I need to be taught the skills by a health professional to offer the “right kind of” help.

    Last year, I was in a club called the Global Dental Brigades, that sent a selected group of club members to go to Honduras to help American and Honduran dentists provide dental care to the patients of Honduras. As board member, I researched (for my own knowledge) as to how the health situation in Honduras was like and why the need for dental care was so dire. Reading about the political unrest and coups that occur in Honduras made me realize how other factors play into the factor of their current situation of poverty and poor health. In addition, the rest of the board members and I had a group of American dentists host a demonstration for us in the correct ways to help them (dentists) out during the brigade and how to help the constituents of Honduras.

  13. Brenson M Yu

    How do the different elements present in Figure 1 relate to your major and interests? What would it look like to do international service learning in the career/field you are studying?

    International Service Learning is a form of civic engagement for those who plan to travel globally and experience other cultures. As an incentive Crabtree’s article promotes ISL as an opportunity to “promote international understanding and world peace.” Building mutual understanding and working on issues that have context, helps the ISL person to an advantage. Those people can be community leaders who can voice and address issues.

    Looking at figure 1, my public health major has a lot of theory learning, and little to no research emphasized. I once took a health theory class and the main emphasis of the course was how to get people to think and conduct themselves in a certain way, to prevent illness and disease. The theory learning part in the course consisted of building webs of context that answered, for example, accessibility to health care in terms of pricing, distance, and location first. Then secondly, we would theorize and offer solutions to or what would make it easier in this case for people to access healthcare. In the health theory class consistent improvement on current theories was main gist of it all. In figure 1, I can relate to communication, collaboration among peers, and learning theory. Research, on the other hand is offered as independent study in the major. I dont know why, but its been that way.

    In relation to my major, ISL would be hand in hand with global health issues. I can think of access to healthy drinking water as a part of global health disparity in the world that touches in context with international service. In global health, mutual understanding is syndicated with information that is given out and distributed in hopes of improving an issue. In retrospect, ISL would tie in easily with global health and health theory, because at a global health operation, a relationship construct is built from theories that are improved by people who take part in the international service. In other words, the people who understand disparities among cultures are the panacea or tomorrows fix for global health problems.

  14. Karina Venegas

    Every year the Public Health Brigades club does a trip to an underdeveloped country in order to implement public health solutions. Since they are a fairly new club on campus I believe this year it will be either their second or third time they do this. They do a lot of fundraisers to lessen the cost of the trip to students and to encourage them to go. I think this is a good opportunity to do some international service learning, especially for me since I am a public health major. What would encourage me to do it apart from wanting to help is getting experience in my field but also learning about another culture.

    Crabtree mentions that one of the claims made about international service learning is its ability to transform participants. This included increased knowledge, confidence and language skills; and a better understanding other cultures, poverty and justice. I think that by doing international service learning I would really like to experience what Crabtree mentions. Being able to help is a great thing but also being able to improve as a person because of the ISL would be a great plus to the ISL you are doing. I have always believed that learning about other cultures and seeing injustice or poverty in the world always gives people a larger perspective in life and not such an ethnocentric or even narcissist perspective of life.

  15. Justyne Catacutan

    I have heard from my fellow peers and other people that studying abroad is one of the greatest experiences that they have done.UCI does specifically have programs such as IOP and EAP, which is usually specifically geared towards having school credit transfer well with the classes you take abroad. Crabtree does note that most student study abroad for just leisure or programs that benefit the student rather benefit the community they are in. I do believe that their should be more International Service Learning, or at least more attention towards it. I know that their are programs where you can actually teach english in another country. I think this is something that I plan to do because it gives more than just the popular scenic tour of the country. It provides me with a deeper insight of the country’s culture through its own local youth. I am interested in doing this because making a difference in the world is important to me. I think it is important for people to have awareness of the differences that each culture has.

    1. Diana Garcia

      I agree most students tend to go abroad to explore cultures they are curious about or to sight see rather than go help the local communities. I went to Cambridge during the summer and took classes that were just electives because one of my dreams were to see London. Even though, I went abroad for myself not to help I can say i learned a lot about the culture. Now that I am minoring in civic engagement i would like to go abroad to help. I just found out that UCI has an online course about service learning and with that you can get credit and choose where you would like to go volunteer. the only problem is that the school does not want to get involved and it is up to the student to find the program, what country to serve, and a place to live. I do think the best way for UCI to serve the community is to go outside of Irvine we have many problems that need to be addressed here at home in Orange County. Santa Ana is just one of the cities that would really benefit by having college students volunteer.

  16. Symone Magsombol

    I think the best way to become engaged in international service learning at UCI is do a travel abroad study program through the Center of International Education (CIE) and take advantage of all the opportunities available to you. You can travel abroad for studying, volunteering, work, almost really anything through the programs offered. In every one, you are still engaging within a community, learning more about their culture, and overall becoming more globally aware – all of these aspects that were advocated in Crabtree’s article pertaining to International Service-Learning. You are able to take your academic knowledge into a more dynamic approach when you encompass travel abroad to a new place you have never been before.
    The different elements in Figure 1 relate to my major and interest through Cross-Cultural Adjustment & Communication and Civic Education and Service-Learning. My current major is biological sciences, however I am in the process of changing to Public Health because I like that philosophy of what the major advocates with wanting to “prevent a disease / sickness” first and foremost. I can relate my life and my experiences a lot more with this major so that is why I have decided on this major. Also, I know as for a career I would like to do something in healthcare, while also having the opportunity to travel as well. Being a board member for PUSO (Pilipino Pre-Health Undergraduate Student Organization), one of our goals is to help sponsor programs for minority youth to encourage their entrance into health professions while also increase the number of culturally sensitive health care professionals.
    Relating more back to my major of interest in Public Health, I can see a lot of public health issues that can relate to the theoretical foundations that Crabtree mentions. A lot of policies with public health can be changed in countries to help promote better healthcare, provide equal distribution of medical resources, and overall provide healthier living for the public. I have yet had the opportunity to travel abroad yet, however a country I would love to go to would be somewhere in Central America. There, I would like to go to help out with health services to the public, and be able to volunteer in a service-learning site where I feel like I can make a significant difference to other to benefit their health.

  17. Ai-Thuan Nguyen

    Global awareness can open your eyes to all the different people and things around the world. I do not remember the guest speaker that came in but he advocated any chance of studying abroad. He stated that the United States has a very limited view of other countries in the world. According to Crabtree’s article, he also advocated service learning in an international setting. As stated above, there is a study abroad program on this campus that offers abroad studies in many different countries. Each country has a different theme and particular focus. I saw an article that had Japan offering classes pertaining to arts and film media that seemed quite interesting. Many people told me that it was easy classes and gave them a chance to travel. England also offers Physics classes that are supposedly easier compared to here. The only program is the huge amounts of money you need to actually be involved in the abroad program. There are financial aid available but loans might be a part of the deal also. It is a good idea because my view of the world will definitely change. There are points in everyones lives where there is just an experience that changes them completely. Studying-abroad can do that for anyone.

  18. Amy Sage

    I believe that there are probably a multitude of ways to get involved internationally on campus. One thing that interested me in the reading was the part on education abroad. Having just returned from the UK, it was interesting to read about the author’s perspectives.

    He says something along the lines that education abroad is a great learning experience, but that it has kind of changed over the years. Durations are getting shorter (i.e. semesters/summers), and that students are picking places that tend to offer classes in English. Also he said that there are plenty of fast food and commercial places popping up all over the world.

    I think he may be getting at the fact that though students are choosing to study abroad more these days, they are choosing programs that do not differ very much from their daily lives already. They congregate at fast food restaurants versus eating more traditional food. Newer technologies, fast food restaurants, and environments similar to our own don’t allow as much understanding of what culture is about and how it functions. Choosing places that remain within our comfort zones decreases the true amount of cross cultural learning that we are actually capable of.

    I am guilty of some of these aspects, but I now realize that I must try harder to immerse myself in different cultures to get a better understanding of not only their culture, but about their problems and how to find solutions for them.

  19. David Moghissi

    I was surprised to see that all the elements featured in figure 1 relate to my political science major and interest in international affairs. Crabtree’s emphasis on international education/study abroad programs tie into my major because they often include immersion in another society’s political system which is an extremely valuable experience from almost any social science perspective. Cross-culture adjustment/communication also ties into my major because it could allow me to use the foreign language prerequisites attached to my studies in a foreign setting. Crabtree’s learning theory also relates to my educational experience at-large because ISL could push me to realign any preconceived notions I may have about my program to what I actually encounter. ISL programs also connect to my discipline’s theory because they involve total immersion and active involvement in a given area with the intention of leaving some sort of impact. In the field of political science, this general process is critical. Also, the participatory research found in many ISL trips are closely related to my major; political scientists are almost always required to investigate topics to derive theories or construct arguments. Lastly, development/collaboration and civic/service learning relate to my interests because I like the personal growth and evolution that come with giving something back to a community in a team-based manner. All in all, completing an ISL trip would fit well with what I’m studying and would make me more well-rounded in my perspective and knowledge base. A lot of people study international affairs and problems without ever experiencing them first-hand. Completing an ISL would, in Crabtree’s words, involve “global awareness, building intercultural understanding, and enhancing civic mindedness and skills.”

  20. Natalie Chau

    As mentioned by many students, I think the best way to do International Service Learning is to study abroad. I, myself, want to study abroad eventually. I want to travel to someplace different and experience their different lifestyles. In the future, I plan to travel to a developing country that is in serious need of health professionals and health-related services.
    I am a bio major and if I happen to get into medical school and maybe become a doctor or something (I’m still not exactly sure what I want to do with my life..because I might not even make it into medical school), I really want to work with Doctors Without Borders. I really think their organization is a great one and it also involves traveling to different countries. The participatory research, international and study abroad, and the learning theory elements present in Figure 1 relate to my major and interests. I think it would be a great opportunity to international service learning in my field because so many people in developing countries are much more in need of health care than here. Other countries don’t even have enough medicine or health professionals. For example, Africa is in serious need of Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) which is extremely significant in delaying the progression of HIV to AIDs. Once you start using the drug however, you have to continue using the drug or else your body will start rejecting the drug. Another major issue is the scarcity of health professionals who can help administer the drugs. Because Africa is lacking a sufficient amount of drugs and health professionals, AIDS is a lot more serious in Africa and other developing countries than it is in countries that are better well off. This is the reason why I think International Service Learning will be very good in my field.

  21. Kevin J. Son

    In the reading by Crabtree, it defines international service learning as a community base service. Also, business is a great thing to be placed in the international service learning experience. International service learning has many great benefits that can seriously help out any country in the present and future. This type of service makes individuals aware of global issues occurring around the world and the different types of cultures that are affected. International service learning builds skills that are life long skills that can be applied to many situations. The business side of this service learning can help communities and families by teaching them what they can change in their community to have a better financial outlook. And the business individuals can teach the different community and cultures how to save and build more assets to allow their community to grow stronger. This type of service would be a great experience and benefit for anyone and business students can network with different communities around the world. The business students can also broaden their knowledge about business by experiencing this type of service learning. I’m a business major and I plan to do this type of service when I graduate. I love doing anything that is international because it honestly broadens one’s perspective on things around the world and you can experience many things that you never experienced in your life. International service learning is a type of service that should be available more often because I feel that anyone who loves service learning should experience the international side of it and not just be secluded in their own community. I would be definitely interested in this type of service because of all the benefits I would gain.
    I actually experienced something like an international service learning when I went to Japan on a scholarship during high school. I’m Korean and going to a different country I never been to was one of the best experience I ever had in my life. Going to Japan I honestly experienced culture shock, but I still loved every moment there. In brief I stayed with a host family and went to school there. I also traveled to many different historical landmarks. When I stayed in Japan for a month I gave my knowledge about America to my host family and the faculty and students at school. Another service learning part of this stay in Japan was helping the host family in the farm fields and making sure I try to communicate in their language. One of the most enjoyable parts of this experience for me was attending school. When I attended school I had to go to each classroom and talk about my background in English and Japanese. The school in Japan was so different and nothing at all alike the schools in America. I can’t wait till more opportunities open for international service learning because I’m definitely going to try to apply myself to them.

  22. Jennifer Lazaro

    I am in love with the whole idea of International service learning. The idea that Crabtree argues in this article is the importance, the benefits and the struggles of doing international services. Robin talks about how hard it is for students who come back from doing these projects to assimilate back to the culture. I had a similar experience when I went abroad for 6 months. I didn’t really go for classes, it was more for research and getting involved within the community. I believe that if UC were to make some changes within the EAP program is to also offer follow-ups on the students that just came from abroad. UCI also offers a program similar to what Crabtree talks about. Although it is not service learning, students are given the opportunity to travel abroad and do community work through Travel-Study. In some of the comments from the class, it talks about where are we going to get the money from? Well I am really considering being part of the Peace Corps after I graduate, which gives me an opportunity to travel and to volunteer. Not only that but they pay for everything, and even gives you a monthly allowance to waste. When you are done with the program, they also give you a government grand because of your participation. The catch is that it is a 27month commitment. There are good programs out there that have years of experience doing this. I hope that when someone wants to plan on being part of anything like this, they will research the program and choose the one that best fits you so that way there won’t be any negativity with the experience.

  23. Omeid Heidari

    One of the biggest curiosities in the Public Health field is the Latino Paradox. It is when first generation Mexican immigrants almost always have healthy children at birth, but their grand children tend towards having a higher disposition towards obesity and other preventable diseases. The reason for this is the cultural differences between Mexican born mothers vs American born Mexican mothers. The latter is caught between two culturally different methods for raising children, especially during utero. It is an important job for service and heal implementers, especially in the southern california area in bridging this gap between the cultural differences. Health implementers also need to focus on children of immigrants raised in the US and teach them healthy habits before the US culture overwhelms their health negatively.

    For International service, one of my goals is to either join the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps. I would really prefer the Peace Corps because it would be international service and I would have the opportunity to focus in Public Health. The only problem would be losing those years in education and the sacrifice it would take to make such a commitment. In the end, however, i’ve developed such a passion for Public Health here at UCI over the past two years (and hopefully 2 years to come), that the sacrifice would not even exist and would be an honor to serve other countries in service. later in the year, I’m planning on contacting the Peace Corps and some people who have gone through the program and hear their perspective as well as explore other options of long term service

  24. Hyun Joo Lee

    The article states that “ISL combines academic instruction and community-based service in an international context.” In California, due to our proximity to Mexico, we have an influx of immigrants from Mexico crossing the border to America legally and illegally, in search of a better life, greater economic/educational opportunities, and/or join other family members in the U.S. And the United States enforces stricter laws, policies, and physical borders to make it more difficult for immigrants to cross the border. These immigration policies affect many lives and transform families. I think it is important for service learners in Southern California to learn about the history and perspectives of these immigrants prior to engaging in community service with a certain group through some sort of academic instruction, research, or readings. The article states that ISL projects are really about building relationships and mutual understanding. Through academic instruction of some form, I think one can overcome cultural differences and possible prejudices one may have when they are involved in community service activities working with students from a different cultural, ethnicity group, and really build relationships. I think it would be difficult to build relationships and mutual understanding if there were no academic instruction to learn about different cultures.

    There are many ways to engaged with ISL at UCI. There are lots of community service activities throughout Orange County that students can get involved in. There are also clubs on campus where they go to Mexico to volunteer. For example, I know that Flying Sams, a group dedicated to health care, go to Mexico sometimes to provide medical support/service to people in Mexico. I’m not sure if they still do it now, but I know that in my first year at UCI, UNICEF made a few trips to Mexico in the year to volunteer at an orphanage in Tijuana. Another option to engage with a different community is to study abroad through the EAP or volunteer abroad to serve in an international setting.

  25. Andre Navarro

    I studied abroad for the summer in England for 8 weeks and while I was going through the process of registration, I was informed about volunteer programs that the CIE (center for international Education) offered. In case you didn’t want to take a class, but still wanted to travel abroad with a purpose the CIE offers opportunities for volunteering abroad. The web site can be found here http://www.cie.uci.edu/prospective/iopother/volunteer.shtml . I thought this was a really interesting opportunity, because you get so much more out of your travel experience when you actually stop being a tourist and become a part of the community. You also might want to take advantage of such an opportunity because they might relate to your future career, and could give you good insight into an unfamiliar world. Furthermore it is extremely helpful for a developing country to receive the needed help. According the reading, “inequities within developing countries in areas such as employment levels, literacy, housing conditions, health status, and education all seemed to be on the rise.” This is not good because those areas listed are important to the success of those developing countries. Also the author states that his research, “has shown that the more substantive the participation of the community, the stronger the learning outcomes for students.” From this I think we can assume that, if a community in need receives international help this only strengthens their cause, and shows the importance of change.

  26. Jennifer-Christine Madamba

    How can you get engaged in international service learning at UCI and why might you?

    I think the best way to get engaged in international service learning is to actually go abroad and do community service in another country. That would allow me to gain more insight of what problems other individuals are experiencing around the world. As my fellow students have mentioned in this thread, UCI’s CIE program seems to be a wonderful program to participate in.

    I’ve been always wanting to do community service in another country. Other than the U.S., I have been to Canada (which is similar to the US) and the Philippines (which I visited when I was really young). I want to know how other people live in other countries (particularly in third world countries). It will give me an insight of their lives. It will allow me to appreciate things that I have taken for granted. I also want to help others in other countries because I think it’s important for all of us to help each other.

  27. Stephen Mendez

    I am a biomajor who plans to hopefully someday attend MedSchool, and the most interesting subject field to me therefore is medicine and public practice and health. It interests me how we can have so many disparities in our community and those around us. Mexico is about 2 hours away from us and along the border lies some of the most run-down poorest cities you could imagine. These cities suffer from work force migration in which their labor force is immigrating to the US illegally, usually because they have no choice. At the same time, there is an influx of trash and tons of disposed items which the United States ships down to dispose of across the border. Here public health and ecological conservation intertwine. Multiple fields of study intersect and all fall under the umbrella International world affairs. It is our responsibility as college students to become informed about these global issues, and become much more proactive in our civic engagement. I have visited El Salvador numerous times and I was happy to hear Crabtree herself visited the country. El Salvador is a country which is plagued with all of the inequities within
    developing countries being “modernized” and suffering from low employment levels, high illiteracy rates, poor housing conditions, and rampant health epidemics. ISL programs, it seems, are crucial in helping such countries attain better living standards because engagement by volunteer groups not only helps the community right then and there, but because it also influences the ideologies and preconceived notions students had about global affairs. This influences public policy as students who participate in these groups inform others and bring back insightful information which is crucial in further understanding what can be done to resolve such world wide problems.
    International Service Learning would be indispensable in my pursuit of an acceptance into Medical School, it would definitely allow me to stand out from my competition as a person who has engaged himself in diverse cross-cultural dialogues. It would show experience and interest in world affairs. One of the easiest ways to do this would be through UCI’s learning abroad program. As many people have previously stated, UCI’s S.A.P. allows students to attend international host countries and perform a variety of activities and earn credits while doing so. Other programs in UCI also exist to help you get involved abroad. Philanthropy oriented Clubs are also a great way to get involved in ISL as some take trips to other countries to volunteer. These sort of clubs embody Crabtree’s vision of engaging in ISL while having a safety net of members to form bonds and relations with who can provide strong and lasting ties and further enrich your ISL experience.

  28. Dulshani BalasuriyaArachchi

    My areas of interests are Sciences and Psychology therefore I’m majoring in psychology. From the list of different elements in figure 1, Cross cultural adjustment and communications relate to my psychology major. In most of my psychology classes we spend time talking about importance of understanding and sometimes experiencing others backgrounds and cultural experiences in order to understand their physical, emotional behaviors. The article too states that “International immersion experiences involve intense psycho-emotional, ideological, and physiological disruptions. Initially conceptualized as a kind of illness to be overcome (Lysgaard, 1955; Oberg,960), Adler (1975) countered that the “shock” of cross-cultural transitions is essential for personal growth and transformation.” If I were to do international service learning as a part of my field of study, I think that would give me better understanding and more information on peoples different personalities, perceptions, values and cause of their actions.

  29. Cindy Arias

    One of the most important elements that I took away from the reading was the need to develop cross cultural perspect ives in line with International service learning. It is crucial for students to learn the different aspects of other cultures and to develop humane values and tolerance. Regardless of our academic interests, it is important to keep the mind the differing views of other cultures and learn to work with them . Here at UCI, we have several brigade programs that lead expeditions into poor countries and provides them with services from medical, public health, dental and even legal. I would have loved to learn more about this sooner and if given the chance I would havee definitely joined. Unfortunately, the money and the schedule conflict is too much to ignore and pursue the mission.
    With a double major in psychology and criminology, I feel that the need for greater international involvement is needed. In both types of courses I feel that there is very minimal discussion on cross cultural differences or the prevalence of theories in other countries. The research behind mental disorders for example is consistent in America, however when asked in other international contexts the research then becomes cloudy. In criminology, for example, it is rare for professors to mention the legal systems or crime trends in other countries and when they are it is only to ilustrate alongside USA.
    I really hope that sometime in the future it can be a requirement to spend one lecture on some type of cross cultural viewpoint.
    It will definitely help student grow in their knowledge and empathy toward other countries.

  30. Christine Thrasher

    As a double major in German Studies and Global Cultures, the topic if International Service Learning (ISL) interests me greatly. I believe that when a student is passionate and dedicated to the goals of cross-cultural communication and understanding, he or she can have a meaningful and beneficial experience studying abroad. The most interesting thing I found in this article was Crabtree’s observations about the factors which get in the way of a truly positive outcome for both the student and members of the host country: preconceived stereotypes, unwillingness to learn the host country’s language, idealizing “unique” or “dangerous” locales. This demonstrates to me the importance of global studies education prior to an ISL experience. That way, the student can have the greatest understanding of the area he or she is visiting, and make the greatest positive impact.

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