Service-Learning Study Abroad Programs

South Africa, Studying Abroad, Volunteering & Giving Back — By on January 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Cape Town, South Africa

By: Laura Malandra

Backpacking through Europe, living on a cruise ship through Semester at Sea, and language immersion programs are some great ways to explore the globe. Studying abroad is one of the most unique and memorable ways to spend a semester of college.

However, have you ever wanted to apply yourself in something besides a textbook while abroad and get a firsthand look at local culture through community service? If so, a service learning-based study abroad program is right for you. Service learning integrates community service, the experience of an internship, and reflection all into one. Most programs allow students to take classes abroad at local colleges while volunteering at nonprofits and other organizations. Working at nonprofits allows students to experience hands-on learning that you can’t find in any book.

I chose to participate in Marquette University’s service learning program in Cape Town, South Africa because I can apply skills from my communications major to a Cape Town area nonprofit. Plus, I will be able to look deeper into the culture and explore issues within the country that no guidebook covers. This semester, I’ll be sharing my experiences here on But there are service-learning study abroad programs are all over the globe, and they are a great way to immerse yourself in all that a semester abroad has to offer.

Here are some great programs to check out:

1. Marquette University: Service Learning in Cape Town, South Africa

2. Santa Clara University: Casa de la Solidaridad: El Salvador

3. University of Denver: International Service Learning: Destinations include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vienna and more.

4. The International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership: Destinations include Ecuador (Guayaquil, the Galapagos, and Quito), France, Australia, India, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Spain, Thailand, Peru and Scotland.

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  • magda says:

    This is one of the things I’ve been looking at- thanks for the info/links!

  • thanks for giving this information. I’ve been looking for this on the internet.

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