Communication, Media Studies & Tourism Management

Course Overview


International Service Learning: Society, Inequality & Social Exclusion


CEA Partner Institution: CEA Seville Center
Location: Seville, Spain
Primary Subject Area: Service Learning
Other Subject Area: Sociology
Instruction in: English
Course Code: SVL396SVQ
Course Details: Level 300
Recommended Semester Credits: 3
Contact Hours: 45
Prerequisites: Two years of university study


This unique international service learning course focuses on the pressing social issues confronting our ever more globalized cities: social inequality and exclusion within the context of the accelerated demographic transformation of today's urban space. Contributing to the ongoing search for effective responses to such endemic problems, you will do volunteer work at a community-based organization in the selected CEA city while simultaneously pursuing theoretical coursework and independent sociological research related to your service learning placement.

As the world becomes increasingly globalized, businesses, non-governmental organizations and governments need people with the ability to adapt and excel when faced with the challenges associated with working in foreign countries, such as the variety of working conditions, work practices and cultural norms. Because service learning requires intensive intercultural engagement on a regular basis while exposing you to populations you might otherwise not encounter as a visiting student, this course provides a unique opportunity for you to gain the socio-cultural and research skills employers look for. Furthermore, participating in service learning abroad illustrates your ability to understand and contextualize academic theories and use and adapt research skills to field work.

Given this course's central theme of society, inequality and social exclusion, your service learning placement will be situated within one of the following areas to be agreed upon with the instructor: immigration; homelessness; education; youth work; sustainable urban development; the environment; urban cultural expression; or sport. Placements might include: helping disadvantaged children at a homework club; working at an educational project at an immigrant center; working with an organization for the homeless; working with an urban-garden or redevelopment project; contributing to urban cultural expression and preservation; or assisting in centers working with the elderly or disabled. Your 2½ hour per week placement involves working and interacting personally with local community volunteers, giving you first-hand insight into the local neighborhood, its organizations, its membership and the challenges facing them all.

Within a traditional course setting and in support of your service learning placement across the semester, you will undergo initial in-depth orientation and intercultural training that will help prepare you for what can be an emotionally challenging, life-changing, and personally rewarding experience. You will also be introduced to group work skills and activities beneficial to your placement and engage in theoretical study and focused reflection in subjects related to the central theme of the course, as well as readings related to your specific service learning area and research project. Throughout the course, you will keep an in-depth research and reflective field journal that will be periodically evaluated by the course instructor. To aid in the analysis of your specific placement and corresponding socio-economic setting, you will be introduced to participant-observation, note-taking, and interviewing skills in line with best research practices. You will conduct a final research project on the work of your placement organization and situate its efforts in broader sociological, environmental and political contexts.

This guided placement and research will benefit you whatever your academic discipline and will provide you with the research skills and experience that can benefit senior year research, capstone projects, and career planning.

You will be required to pay transport costs to your international service learning placement site.
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