The Center for Community Learning facilitates a faculty-led international program in Rwanda that promotes engaged partnerships between students, faculty, and local and global communities.
Our goal is to develop sustained and long-term partnerships between Western and multiple community partner organizations. We are invited into their communities and they are invited to be a full participant in the service learning project design. This is not an academic tourism model or a "feel good" experience for our students, but a commitment to social responsibility and change, authentic intercultural relationships, and deep personal learning.
The Center for Community Learning's course offers students community-based learning that takes place in the classroom of other cultures and challenges assumptions about what it means to live in the age of globalization. Much of the learning is centered on the knowledge of local experts and through field experiences and service activities.
This program examines the ethical and practical questions raised by traveling, working, studying, and volunteering internationally. Students will develop a critical lens with which to evaluate their own place in an increasingly interdependent world.
Long-term Collaborative Partnership Building
Our programs are built on deep relationships. We are committed to leaving a positive, lasting impression with our partners in order to build the trust necessary to return and collaborate year after year.
Students with any academic interests or majors are welcome on our trips, from first-year students to graduating seniors. Students will encounter many topics through this experience such as leadership, public health, economic development, entrepreneurship, gender/sexuality, cross-cultural studies, and more. All of these ideas can be approached from a variety of disciplines and viewpoints.
This program is taught by WWU instructors. Students participate in pre-trip preparation and meetings with their team, spend 6-7 weeks on the ground in-country, and complete post-trip reflection and social action projects together.
Prior to travel, students participate in team building and preparatory study on the history and culture, cross cultural relationship building, and ethical travel and global citizenship.
While studying abroad, students engage in service-learning projects, on-site academic seminars, reading, writing, and reflective practice.
Upon return, students design their own action project for positive social change informed by their experiences.