Purdue provides many activities in service-learning each year, and though they are varied experiences, many of the same lessons can be learned. I had the opportunity to participate in two service-learning study abroad trips while at Purdue- the first to Spain and Morocco, and the second to Haiti. While on these trips, I was involved in projects that seemed very different. In Morocco, my group taught high school students about the history of mathematics during the Islamic Golden Age and how mathematics is utilized in Purdue research. In Haiti, I worked with my teammates to teach water sanitation and storage safety to university students, and also partnered with an Indiana-based nonprofit to connect Haitian students with a water sanitation resource. While these projects took place on opposite sides of the world, both demonstrated many similarities. There were surface-level similarities, from saying “thank you” in French constantly because it was the only word I knew, to experiencing school classrooms in two countries. The teaching aspect was common to both, but could not have been more different. I learned about how education is conducted differently, and the variations in the future goals of students. On both trips, however, I learned much more from the students than I taught. Both of these experiences have been integral to my decision to pursue a career in international public health. I am glad to have had two opportunities to engage in international service learning during my time at Purdue. Both of these experiences taught me to appreciate the uniqueness of cultures, and the ability of students to bridge differences to work together.
"Across the Atlantic: Service-Learning in Spain and Morocco,"
Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement: Vol. 6
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/pjsl/vol6/iss1/11