Groggy and with my hair haphazardly pulled up in a ponytail, I left my apartment and was met with chilly morning air. I am not a morning person. I trekked up the hill for a mile until I finally arrived at my destination. I checked in, passed a few security guards who smiled and said, "morning." Sitting in a small plastic school chair, I waited for the seventh grade student to stumble through the door with their backpack full of homework. I was there to tutor them.
Although I should have been doing this out of the kindness of my heart, I was tutoring troubled local middle schoolers because it was required of me. My psychology professor required all of his students at the beginning of the quarter to volunteer for Service Learning credits for his Childhood Development course. Yes, I assisted the students with geography, vocabulary, etc., but I also observed what emotional developmental stage they were in. I studied their logic.
Tutoring them encouraged sympathy in my heart and provided me with applied learning. You will learn many things when you come to study in the U.S. You will learn to study differently, think about subjects in a new way, and stretch your mind and culture. U.S. schools have a multifaceted approach to learning. Service-Learning is one of those facets.
"People are very much the same wherever you go, no matter what circumstances they had to overcome or what environment they live in. Service-Learning makes you realize that you have the power to make a difference." - Tiro Daenuwy, from Indonesia, Marquette University
The purpose of Service-Learning is for a student to perform charitable work while also using the skills they've been absorbing in class. Think of it as a change of scenery, a different classroom, with a purpose. Students at Boston's Wentworth Institute of Technology traveled to Hurricane devastated New Orleans and "prepared master plans for renovating a city block." And this week, the Carnegie Foundation recognized Northern Illinois University for engaged learning.
Read stories about U.S. students making an impact through service here.
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