StFX Immersion Service Learning is offering students a virtual immersion learning experience this year—including virtually connecting with a community in Peru as part of a credit course to be offered next semester.
During the winter term, StFX will offer Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) 305, a three credit course that can be use as part of Development Studies requirements or as an elective in any program.
“Students will develop their research, writing, and presentation skills through the completion of an academic research paper connected with a virtual immersion experience in Peru that will be incorporated as part of this course,” says Service Learning Program Manager Megan Turner.
“Students will write and present on a topic of their choice related to their Peruvian virtual immersion experience.”
Ms. Turner says Immersion Service Learning offers StFX students an intense and immersive experiential learning experience. Immersion placements typically involve groups of 10 students traveling to various destinations to learn firsthand about culture and development issues within a particular community context.
Current restrictions on travel, and the need for social distancing have led to an adaptive approach to immersion experiences that would virtually enable students to develop relationships with international partners, understand the dynamics of an international community and provide meaningful support to a not for profit organization or an NGO.
Over the semester, students will participate in virtual interactions with partners in Peru.
The goal of this experience is to support a community facing discrimination, poverty, isolation, poor nutrition and food security issues, she says.
Through the reciprocal use of podcasts and photography, students will critically engage with and gain an understanding of the realities in each community.
Students will strengthen their engagement and leadership skills while enhancing their learning about development issues and evolving their own perspectives, Ms. Turner says. Students will explore innovative adaptation strategies employed by a Peruvian non-profit civil association in partnership with the isolated communities they serve, to mitigate inequity and create sustainable solutions.
Service learning is an innovative way to integrate experiential learning, academic study, and community service. It is an opportunity for students from all disciplines to further explore and apply classroom concepts in a community setting.