Despite dramatic changes throughout the world, we continue to see a widening economic disparity between the rich and the poor. The lack of basic resources, access to health, education, and employment remains the challenge for developing and non-industrialized nations. In nations marred by political conflict and violence, efforts of peace, reconciliation, and democratization are slow and its effects are seen most clearly in the lives of the poor and marginalized.

The Center for Social Concerns' International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP) is both a four-credit course and an eight-week summer service-learning program in Catholic social tradition and social analysis which together provide a critical lens through which students are invited to interpret an array of global issues. In the face of pressing global concerns, the need to educate students about their responsibility in our global community becomes ever apparent. The ISSLP provides an opportunity to examine causes of poverty and to create links of solidarity across borders. In collaboration with global partners, the ISSLP seeks to fulfill this educational objective for our students and to meet local needs of communities across the world. 

The ISSLP begins with THEO 33970 Global Issues (1.0 credit) serving as the pre-departure on-campus course in the spring semester. It is followed by THEO 33938 (3.0 credits) which includes an eight-to-ten week service-learning immersion with partner organizations in a developing country context, summer and fall academic requirements. For students selected to participate, the ISSLP provides airfare, room and board, and $1,000 travel award.

Learn More

  • Attend an Information Session to learn more from past participants. See schedule below.

  • Read through the ISSLP Site Specific Binders located in McNeill Library, Geddes Hall.
  • Review the ISSLP Learning Agreement and understand the requirements prior to completing the application.
  • Refer to the 2016 ISSLP Calendar below for selection process timeline and key program dates.

If accepted, ISSLP classes are held Thursday's throughout the spring 2016 semester from 6:30-7:45 p.m. and begin on January 14, 2016.

This course fulfills a requirement for the following:

Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor
Catholic Social Tradition Minor


IMPORTANT: It is recommended applications be submitted prior to Friday, October 30 as the University has scheduled an  IT system maintenance and upgrade which could potentially make the ISSLP application unavailable as early as 5:00pm Friday, October 30 through Sunday, November 1. Check back here for updates.
  • ISSLP application opens Wednesday, September 16, 2015
  • ISSLP application closes Sunday, November 2, 2015, 11:59 p.m.
  • ISSLP interview day is Sunday, November 15, 2015
  • Save your responses to application essay questions in a separate document in case of submission problems.
  • St. Mary's students should contact Suzanne Wilson to request the login ID and password for access to the ISSLP application.
  • ISSLP accepts applications from all undergraduate and graduate students with returning student status following their ISSLP summer.


Come to an information session to learn more about the ISSLP from past participants.  Sessions provide valuable general information including applying to the ISSLP, selection criteria, selection process and time frames, academic requirements, orientation and re-entry requirements, an overview of the site placements available, as well as more detail on the sites represented at that particular session.  There will be plenty of time of Q&A so bring any and all your questions.

All sessions are held in the McNeill Library, Geddes Hall.

If the site you are interested in is not listed below, come to any of the sessions. 

Mon. Sep. 21, 8–9 PM

Wed. Sep. 30, 8-9 PM

Tue. Oct. 06, 6–7 PM

Sun. Oct. 11, 7–8 PM

Thu. Oct. 15, 7–8 PM

Wed. Oct. 28, 8–9 PM

2015-16 CALENDAR

Sep.  16             Application opens

Sep. – Oct.        Weekly information sessions at the CSC

Nov. 2                Application deadline

Nov. 10              Email notification of interview status

Nov. 15              Interviews

Dec. 18              Candidates notified of acceptance status

Dec. 30              Confirmation of participation email and participation contracts due

Jan. 14                First ISSLP class session 6:30 – 7:45 pm

Jan. 19                Last day for course change

Jan. – Apr.          Orientation Sessions and mandatory Weekend Retreat (Feb 6-7, 2016)

May – Aug.         Service-learning placements in progress

Aug. – Sept.       Follow up course or 4 sessions and mandatory Day Retreat (Aug. 22, 2016)

Sep. – Oct.         Presentations

Sep. – Dec.        Promote ISSLP, recruit and select future participants