Service Learning Trips
Our service learning trips are where the idea of service really gets ratcheted up a notch. With some trips, you work here in the United States. We’ve rebuilt homes in Mississippi after Gulf Coast hurricanes and taught children on a Navajo Reservation in Arizona.
On international trips, you are definitely not in Kansas (or Pennsylvania) anymore. Students have worked on conservation efforts in Africa, helped children in Vietnam, and renovated churches in Cuba.
Some of the trips are sponsored by the Language Department and have a language proficiency requirement. So if you want to work as a teacher’s assistant at our sister school in Nicaragua, you will need to hone your Spanish.
All of the trips are led by faculty and happen during school breaks. Wherever you go, there’s a lot of hard work as well as some time to sightsee and absorb the local culture. You’ll live with local families on many trips, but you’ll return with a broadened perspective and indelible memories from all of them.
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Service Learning Trip Opportunities 2018-19
Philadelphia (Fall Break 2018 and Midwinter Break 2019)
In this local service option in October and again in February, students will volunteer at various nonprofit agencies that feed the hungry and homeless. As lodging in Philadelphia will not be provided, students will meet at George School every morning. Boarding students will stay in residential halls, and day students are invited to stay there, too, and/or to invite boarding students to spend the weekend at their home.
Cuba (March 8 – March 24, 2019)
In addition to completing a short service project in Havana, George School students will help in the major reconstruction of a church in Holguin. Plans also include working in an urban hydroponic garden and visiting a community orphanage and a school for the blind and deaf. We also expect to visit the city of Santiago, the Quaker community in Gibara, the historic town of Bayamo, and the beach at Guardalavaca. This service learning project will conclude with a visit to a Cuban Quaker community in Miami.
*Third year language proficiency required.
Uganda (March 8 – March 25, 2019)
Students will work with community leaders on social justice issues and conservation efforts in the region. The group will collaborate on educational projects with their Ugandan peers from Awegys Secondary School, located in the outskirts of Kampala. They will also trek deep into Kibale Forest National Park with Uganda Wildlife Authority trackers to assist in the habituation of wild chimpanzees. Students also may have the opportunity to visit with the endangered mountains gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The Mtaala Foundation will help guide our group through the research and service efforts.
Washington, DC (March 10 – March 22, 2019)
Students will volunteer with the Youth Services Opportunity Project (YSOP), a nonprofit organization. Using orientation and reflection to frame their service experiences, YSOP inspires participants to broaden their perspectives and become engaged citizens. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to visit museums and explore our nation’s capital.
West Virginia (March 10 – March 22, 2019)
Students will volunteer with Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity in Lewisburg, West Virginia, to help with the construction of new homes. Students will live at the Rhema Christian Center for the duration of their stay, and the group will have an opportunity to explore Greenbrier County during their downtime.
Bonaire (June 8 – June 22, 2019)
The focus of this trip is on local island youth and environmental stewardship. Environmental components will include beach, mangrove, and underwater cleanups, as well as scientific data collection on invasive species, coral health, and marine life. All students will be required to have scuba certification and demonstrate competency and comfort with scuba diving before trip departure. Those who are not already certified will be trained on campus by a PADI-certified Open Water Scuba Instructor at a greatly reduced cost. Because this service trip has a goal of carbon neutrality, students must demonstrate their commitment by altering personal habits and behaviors to completely offset the negative environmental impact of traveling to this Dutch Caribbean island.
Cost: $4,000 – $4,395*
*Range due to estimated airfare cost.
Costa Rica (June 10 – June 21, 2019)
Students will travel and work in the rural northern and central parts of Costa Rica, visiting with local families. Service activities will emphasize ecological conservation and may include projects with schools, grassroots organizations, and communities. Students will learn about Costa Rica’s commitment to environmental stewardship through visits to national parks, wildlife preserves, and conservation organizations. The group will experience coastal, tropical dry, mountain, tropical rain, and tropical cloud forest habitats.
Approximate Cost: $3,895 – $4,195*
*Range due to estimated airfare cost.
Japan (July 30 – August 11, 2019)
As guest scholars with the Nuclear Studies Institute of American University, students will travel to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Tokyo to study the atomic bombings and related history. Students will attend commemorations of the seventy-fourth anniversaries of the bombings and will meet surviving hibakusha (“explosion-affected people”). This extraordinary opportunity will allow participants to connect their coursework in Japanese history to people who lived it, and to bear witness to their stories.
Montreal (June 9 – June 23, 2019)
Students will work with two nonprofit organizations, Santropol Roulant and Moisson Montreal, preparing and delivering meals to individuals and families experiencing food insecurity. Participants will have numerous opportunities to practice their French while volunteering in Canada.
*Third-year language proficiency required.
Vietnam (June 8 – June 23, 2019)
Students will volunteer at the Bac Ninh Orphanage and Nurturing Center for Deaf Children near Hanoi. Service may include working with young children, painting and repairing facilities, and gardening. Students will meet with individuals who suffer from the effects of Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War. This project will include a week-long homestay with Vietnamese families. Cultural experiences may include visiting remote Hmong ethnic villages, taking boat trips on Ha Long Bay, and exploring the historical Vinh Moc tunnels.