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International Service Learning Experience

Course Code: CFCS 3040
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Department: Child, Family & Community Studies
Credits: 6.0
Semester: Flexible delivery 10-15 week
Learning Format: Seminar, Field Experience
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course is designed for students who are engaging in an international service learning experience in a developing country. Facilitated seminars address: (1) 5 key themes (motivation, cultural competence, balance and reciprocity, sustainability, and witnessing and observing); (2) the social, cultural, political and economic contexts of the developing country; (3) the development of a student learning plan in collaboration with a local community agency; and (4) the risks and realities of sustained work in a developing country. Students are then placed in a developing country and will work on a community development project alongside a local community partner. Within this context, students will work collaboratively with members of their host organization, develop their understanding of local challenges, and enhance their understanding of small-scale ethical projects. Students will complete pre-placement assignments, in-placement assignments, and participate in a post-placement debrief.

Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • Themes - explore themes representing the theoretical, ethical and practical questions that arise in international service learning processes, including sustainability, cultural competence, balance and reciprocity, motivation, and witnessing and observing 
  • Case studies - consider, reflect, and dialogue on real life scenarios from diverse non-Western or developing countries
  • Individualized Learning Plans – collaboratively develop a learning plan for an international service learning experience in a developing country that reflects student learning outcomes and service needs of local community agency
  • Implement, Reflect Upon, and Develop Recommendations – individualized learning plans  advance and enhance student learning and provide value-added to local community agency  
  • Preparation, Planning, and Debrief – engage in physical, emotional and intellectual preparation to recognize, anticipate, and deal with the risks and realities of an international service learning experience

Methods of Instruction

  • Field experience
  • Supervision
  • Seminar discussion
  • Facilitation 

Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of:

  • Written research assignment
  • Book report
  • In-class presentation 
  • Development and completion of a learning plan
  • Self evaluation
  • Field assessment

This is a mastery / non-mastery course 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural, political, economic and social contexts of the international service learning country
  2. Articulate and apply the values and practices of cultural competence, sustainability, balance and reciprocity, and witnessing and observing 
  3. Develop an international service learning plan that is consistent with ethical, culturally competent, and sustainable practices 
  4. Deconstruct personal values, beliefs, and motivations as they apply to the international service learning experience
  5. Participate in and reflect upon an international service learning experience in a developing country
  6. Provide recommendations, program materials, and / or other resources to the international community service learning site. 

course prerequisites

Permission of the faculty. 

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.