General information about service-learning:
ISA Service-Learning provides structured opportunities to serve in local organizations, schools, NGOs, clinics, and government-funded agencies with a mandatory academic component and the option to receive academic credit. Service-Learning programs focus on the needs and resources of the community and our partnerships with local organizations are firmly established. While all service-learning programs allow for personal growth and professional development, it’s important to note that service-learning requires placement flexibility and does not custom match students to a specific field. If you are seeking a customized opportunity within a specific career field, an ISA Internship may be the best option for you.
It may be possible for you to informally volunteer during an ISA study abroad program. Our resident staff may be able to provide you with a list of organizations where ISA students have volunteered in the past. In general, informal volunteer opportunities are typically within the fields of social work and education. This option would be a good fit if you are comfortable coordinating this opportunity for yourself once you are already abroad.
If you are interested in a structured program that combines volunteer work with guided curriculum, then we encourage you to consider an ISA Service-Learning program. We will secure a placement with a local organization prior to departure and with whom ISA has a long-standing relationship; some of our partnerships have been in place for over 15 years! Throughout your program, you'll reflect on your experience through the completion of the ISA Service-Learning Portfolio, which may allow you to earn academic credit. Please review what’s included in an ISA Service-Learning program.
Service-learning program deadlines vary based on program location and start dates. To see full-time service-learning program dates, prices, and application deadlines, click here. For Study + Service-Learning programs, please visit the ISA website. We review applications on a rolling basis. Interested participants are encouraged to begin the application process as early as possible.
Yes, in the initial online application, applicants will apply to one city for their program.
We will do our best to place you with a host organization that suits your interests, skills, language level, and goals. You will specify your service-learning placement preferences as part of the application process and in your cover letter. However, we cannot guarantee a specific placement with any one organization.
ISA's top priority is providing you with a safe experiential program abroad. For your safety and for the safety of the population that you may interact with in your health placement, your tasks and responsibilities will be limited to those that you would legally and ethically be able to complete in the U.S. based on your qualifications at the time of your program. Therefore, we like to describe our health programs as exposure based rather than "hands-on." Your tasks and responsibilities may include observing and shadowing health professionals and patient consultations, but will likely include administrative tasks or projects where the health organization needs your help.
All participants serving in health-related organizations are required to complete the Global Ambassadors for Patient Safety (GAPS) workshop. This 30-45-minute workshop is crucial in explaining the do’s and don’ts of working in a foreign health care system so that students don’t step beyond their qualifications and expertise.
Placements are confirmed approximately four weeks prior to departure. Your Placement Confirmation will include the name of your host organization, a website, your supervisor’s name and contact information, a dress code, a list of potential responsibilities, and your tentative schedule.
That will depend on the availability of our resident staff, accommodation, and community partners. Please note that four weeks is the shortest program we are able to customize in any program location and there is an additional fee of $250 to customize the start date of your program. You can add weeks to your program for an additional per week cost. Please contact us if you have questions about customizing your dates.
ISA Service-Learning participants must be 18 years or older by the time of their program. Where applicable, participants must meet the minimum language requirement to be eligible for certain placements. Prospective applicants for Study + Service-Learning programs must meet the eligibility requirements of the host university.
No. Recent high-school graduates, college students, college graduates, as well as non-traditional participants are welcome to apply.
There is no GPA requirement for our full-time service-learning programs. Prospective applicants for Study + Service-Learning programs must meet the eligibility requirements of the host university.
Most ISA Service-Learning placements require some level of proficiency in the local language. Applicants with little to no foreign language experience are encouraged to consider programs in Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa where English proficiency is required.
Non-U.S. citizens are welcome to apply! Students who do not hold a U.S.-passport may need to fulfil different visa requirements. While ISA Service-Learning will provide support and guidance (such as providing a letter of enrollment to certify the student’s acceptance into the program, etc.), it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to research the visa process and obtain the correct visa.
Please read the What to Expect section on our website for a detailed overview of what to expect before, during, and after your service-learning program.
The number of participants will vary for each term and location. Occasionally, there will be only one service-learning participant in a specific location, but there are usually other ISA students abroad at the same time. Summer programs are more popular for full-time service-learning whereas spring and fall see higher enrollment for Study + Service-Learning programs. Please contact us if you wish to discuss a specific program.
Yes. You may earn academic credit through our School of Record, University of South Florida, or through your home institution by following the proper approval process at your home institution. Please click here for more information about earning academic credit for service-learning.
Yes. Students can enroll in academic courses at a host university abroad and participate in service-learning. Learn more about our Study + Service-Learning programs here.
Depending on the location, duration and type of program in which you enroll, you may need to obtain a visa well in advance prior to going abroad or once you arrive in your host country. If a visa is required for your program, we will advise you through the visa application process.
Service-learning program fees vary by program location and program length. To see service-learning program prices, click here.
Many participants are able to use financial aid if they are receiving credit for their ISA Service-Learning program. Please speak with the financial aid office at your institution for specific requirements and visit the ISA Financial Aid page for more information
No. The Study + Service-Learning Combo programs require only one online application to be submitted and one application deposit.