International Summer Service Learning Program

Despite dramatic changes throughout the world, we continue to see widening disparities between the rich and the poor and people of color. This is seen most clearly in the current context of the global coronavirus pandemic. 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 with its effects seen most clearly in the lives of the poor.

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.

Changes to ISSLP 2021

In March 2020, as the coronavirus was developing into what would be a global pandemic, the University made the difficult but necessary decision to suspend all summer 2020 outbound international education programs which included the ISSLP 2020.

In planning for ISSLP 2021, program staff will be working closely with University administration and Notre Dame International to make final determinations for spring class sessions and the international summer service-learning placement. 

The ISSLP is moving forward to plan for both in-person and virtual scenarios for ISSLP 2021. See site descriptions for which sites are available for in-person and/or virtual service-learning. For sites currently noted as “to be determined” for virtual service-learning, the ISSLP staff continues to work with international site partners to explore, design, and develop virtual service-learning projects in the event that students are not permitted to travel or opt not to travel internationally. For those students who must complete their service-learning virtually, the ISSLP is developing a “learning-living community” option.

Read here about how ISSLPs went virtual in 2020 and made an impact during the coronavirus. 

Learn More

Attend an Information Session to learn more from past participants. 

Use this Site Directory to help you find sites of interest by their scope of work, then use the Site Descriptions and Site Binders for more detailed information and research.

Read through the ISSLP Site specific binders located in McNeill Library, Geddes Hall. Please pay attendtion to Geddes Hall building hours and follow all University COVID-19 procedures when in the building. Site binders may not be removed from Geddes Hall.

Review the ISSLP Learning Agreement and understand the requirements prior to completing the application.

Refer to the 2021 ISSLP Calendar for selection process timeline and key program dates.

St. Mary's College and Holy Cross College students should contact to request access instructions for the ISSLP application.

ISSLP accepts applications from all undergraduate and graduate students with returning student status following their ISSLP summer.

If accepted, ISSLP classes are held Thursday's throughout the spring 2021 semester from 6:30–8:00 p.m. and begin on February 4, 2021.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor and Catholic Social Tradition Minor.

The ISSLP 2021 application will open Septeber 8 and close on October 11 at 11:59 pm. Please refer to the 2021 ISSLP calendar linked above for notification dates.



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June 2021


July 2021

Engaged Learning Forum | Beyond Sanctuary
Thursday, July 8, 2021 - 11:00am to 12:15pm

September 2021