Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Linda Gobbo


Over the proceeding decades, service learning programs combining academic study with community service have been growing in popularity at U.S. institutions of higher education. This growth has been equated to service learning’s ability to assist students with achieving personal and academic goals, as well as broader goals of civic engagement for communities. With these programs occurring in an increasingly interconnected world, that is also seeing growth in study abroad participation, it is only natural that students would seek out similar service learning opportunities in their international destinations.

Today more than 80% of students enrolled at The Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy, participate in one or more of its service learning course offerings each semester. Participation in such offerings can lead to deeper understanding of course content, facilitate long lasting personal transformations, increase global awareness and intercultural understanding, and encourage the development of civic awareness and active citizenship. With higher education directing increased attention to assessment of these service learning outcomes this study proposed the following question: In a global world, how can international service learning initiatives be better developed to capture the values and expectations of its stakeholders?

To answer this question, The Umbra Institute’s ESUS 310: Urban Spaces: Rebuilding Community in Perugia course was utilized as a case study. In this multidisciplinary study, research examined literature and studies on service learning, international service learning, civic education, global citizenship, and community relationships.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Educational Methods | Higher Education | International and Comparative Education | Other Education


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