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Service Learning

For Students

Service-Learning is an exciting way for students to apply course material in a real-world setting and/or to address real-world challenges through academic coursework. Here's some more information about what students can expect from their service-learning experience: What, Where, When, Why

What: There are two primary parts for students, service and reflection. Students serve with community partners in pre-established roles and projects directly aligned with the course learning objectives. In addition to serving, students complete academic assignments that engage them in critical reflection. This occurs in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to): class discussions and debates, written assignments (blogs, discussion board posts with peer responses, synthesis papers, etc.), and individual or group presentations. Here are just a few examples of past service roles and projects: 

  • teaching English to speakers of other languages (Advanced Spanish 2 students serving with Roxse Homes)
  • coordinating an advocacy campaign and an associated press kit (Advocacy Workshop students serving with The Home for Little Wanderers)
  • facilitating a modified exercise program for seniors (Psychosocial Aspects of Healthcare Seminar students serving with the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center)

Where: Boston-area community partners are either in walking distance or accessible by public transportation from NU’s main campus. Additionally, global community partners exist in Costa Rica, Benin, India, and Spain for select courses that are part of the Dialogue of Civilizations program, as well as other countries as more courses are developed.

When: Students can engage in service-learning experiences as early as their first semester at NU and all the way through their graduate studies (varies by department, program and discipline). Service-Learning is a semester-long process and experience. Typically, students serve from 2-10 hours each week, which is balanced with the rest of the workload for the course by the faculty member.

Why: Students benefit from service-learning in a variety of ways, ranging from personal growth to academic advancement and professional experience. Some benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Apply course material to real-world issues; bring the curriculum to life
  • Increase awareness of the local community
  • Build resume and skill sets; gain hands on skills related to academic/professional area(s) of interest
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