Seminar explores host community needs

The traditional focus of international service learning is often on the students themselves. But how do their host communities benefit, if at all, from these programs?

“Focusing on the students is absolutely warranted,” Education professor Marianne Larsen said. “But it’s equally important to focus on the communities themselves.”

Unfortunately, Larsen continued, that’s something that doesn’t often happen.

This week, she attempts to address these issues at a day-long symposium dedicated to exploring the ways in which university service learning programs can better involve host communities and take into account their needs.

Hosted by Western Education, the seminar, entitled International Service Learning: Engaging Host Communities, will feature interactive case studies, ISL program researchers and a keynote panel of speakers from Central America and South Africa who have previously hosted North American ISL students. The event takes place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday at the Faculty of Education.

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