Maximizing International Students’ Service-Learning and Community Engagement Experience: A Case Study of Student Voices on the Benefits and Barriers

Deidre (Farwick) Kwenani, Xi Yu


The purpose of this study was to identify actual and perceived barriers and benefits of engaging in service-learning and volunteering activities as identified from the unique perspective of international students. Through the identification of barriers and benefits, we can provide more informed training to international students and provide a foundation for best practices to the community-based organizations that host them as volunteers and service-learners. We gathered data through focus groups and short online surveys of both the study population and community partner-based organizations. The findings of this study providing the authentic experiences and perspectives of international students, can assist service-learning institutions and organizations worldwide to better prepare international students for a service-learning experience and reduce the number of barriers faced. Practices and services are recommended to help international students complete their volunteer/service-learning endeavors, and to provide a more welcoming atmosphere for this student population to engage in their communities through service-learning.

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