Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Charlie Curry-Smithson


In the fall of 2009, Princeton University launched the Princeton Bridge Year Program—a service-based, international, pre-freshman “bridge” or “gap” year for 20 accepted students sent to four different countries. Princeton chose the international social enterprise ProWorld Service Corps as its partner organization to run the Bridge Year Program in Urubamba, Peru. Princeton University and ProWorld Peru both state a very clear intention in running this program: to transform participants. Their explicit goal is to turn out students who have a global perspective and are compassionate, humble, aware, innovative and inspired.

But how should program-providers, out in the field, actually accomplish such a mission? This paper proposes that the key to success is reflection. It argues that an intentional, cohesive, regularly-scheduled period of group reflection, rooted in experiential education theory, is what sparks the desired shifts in student consciousness.

The bulk of the paper is a user-friendly curriculum that structures the student reflection component of international, service-based programs. Following a description of its theoretical underpinnings, the curriculum is divided into three modules—Culture, Service and Sustainable Development. Each module introduces a series of resources—articles, videos, quotations, documentaries—followed by provocative discussion questions. The curriculum is based on social justice pedagogy and promotes social justice perspectives. It is meant to incite positive discomfort in students, introducing often untouched issues, and pushing students to “un-learn” and “re-learn.” Ultimately, the curriculum aims to cultivate tough-minded, yet hopeful participants determined to join the fight for global justice.


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Educational Sociology