Learning Agreement


Learning Agreement and Application 2019

THEO 33970: Global Issues
THEO 33938: Summer Service Learning: Confronting Social Issues: International


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, remain a 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 affects seen most clearly in the lives of the poor.

As we continue to face these and other global concerns, the need to educate students about their responsibility in our global community becomes ever apparent. It becomes increasingly important to educate students willing to examine causes of poverty and to create links of solidarity across borders.

In the summer of 1998, the Center for Social Concerns initiated the International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP) with these and other hopes. This program is built on the marvelous tradition of domestic and international summer service projects developed by the Community of International Lay Apostolate (CILA) and the Center for Social Concerns.

The ISSLP seeks to provide international service-learning experiences in social concerns inspired by Gospel values and Catholic social teachings. The Center shares in the University’s mission to create an environment of teaching and learning that cultivate “a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice and oppression that burden the lives of so many. The aim is to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice" (The Mission Statement of the University of Notre Dame).

General Program Objectives

To challenge students who have had domestic service-learning experiences to encounter international realities and to provide them the opportunity to work with and learn from the poor and marginalized in international settings. 

To educate students willing to examine causes of poverty and injustice and to create links of solidarity across borders in response to the Notre Dame/ Center for Social Concerns mission "to serve and act for a more just and humane world.”

To provide students the opportunity to work with persons and grassroots groups working to address the needs of the poor and marginalized and to learn from those who raise questions and share insights about the social, political, economic, religious and cultural forces operative in the international setting.

To contribute to the continuing value and experiential justice education and leadership development of students, alumni/ae, and educators related to the Notre Dame global community.

Course Learning Goals

Students will gain an understanding of the multi-dimensionality of poverty in the developing world, analyze root causes, and identify strategies for social development (poverty alleviation).

Students will gain an understanding of international social issues in light of Catholic Social Teaching (specifically through the themes of Solidarity and Preferential Option for the Poor).

Students will strengthen cross-cultural competencies and gain an understanding of global citizenship.


The Center for Social Concerns seeks to partner with faith-based, non-governmental, and community-based organizations that are addressing the needs of the poor and marginalized in developing countries or areas of political conflict throughout the world.  The ISSLP and the Center for Social Concerns collaborate with various offices, departments, centers and institutes of the University.

Academic Requirements

In addition to the eight-week service-learning immersion at an ISSLP partner site, academic requirements of the ISSLP include:

THEO 33970 Global Issues:  This 1.0 credit course (graded S/U) is the ISSLP Orientation Program which is mandatory for all ISSLP participants and includes weekly classes, public lectures, special training sessions, and a weekend long cross-cultural training and retreat.  Registration and active participation is required.  Starting January 17, 2019 classes meet weekly 6:30-7:45 pm on Thursdays.  Other public lectures and trainings scheduled during other days of week will be noted in the course syllabus.  The mandatory cross-cultural training and retreat is scheduled for the weekend of February 8-9, 2019. 

THEO 33938 Summer Service Learning: Confronting Social Issues International:  This 3.0 credit course is mandatory for all ISSLP participants. Registration and active participation including mandatory attendance to all class sessions is required, no absences are permitted. The course comprises the eight-week summer service-learning immersion; summer course readings and keeping a written journal; writing a final integrative paper or special project; ISSLP Re-entry Program which includes fall class sessions (meeting weekly 6:30-7:45 pm on Thursdays during the month of September through early October), readings and writing academic requirements, a public presentation integrating and sharing your experience, and the mandatory re-entry day of reflection scheduled for Monday, August 26, 2019.

Optional: Students are encouraged to consider enrolling for a directed readings or course related to host country either prior to or after their ISSLP.

Logistical and program administration assistance: Help to develop and evaluate the ISSLP through the completion of evaluations and research surveys, publicize and recruit future participants, participate in the interview and selection process for the next ISSLP cohort, and help with the orientation of future participants.  

For students studying abroad in fall and/or spring semesters: Students who will be abroad in the spring semester will not enroll in the 1.0 credit course THEO 33970 but are still required to submit weekly assignments via email from abroad and to complete the summer and fall academic requirements.  Students abroad in the fall are required to complete all summer academic components and as well to submit weekly written assignments via email to satisfy fall academic requirements in lieu of participation in the fall on-campus re-entry components.

The THEO 33970 spring syllabus, ISSLP summer course reader and student guide further detail the academic requirements of the courses. When all requirements are satisfied, students will earn 1.0 credit in THEO 33970 Global Issues (graded S/U), 3.0 credits in THEO 33938 Summer Service Learning Confronting Social Issues International (graded S/U) and a social concerns award of $1,000.00 maximum (prorated if less than eight weeks and retracted if academic course requirements are not fulfilled). 

Academic Integration

Prior to departure, students are encouraged to investigate integration of the ISSLP with a senior thesis, an independent study, directed reading, or related course in their department(s) or through research with a faculty member in an appropriate area of study.

Application & Registration

Application deadline is Sunday, October 28, 2018.  Prior participation in Center programs or prior international travel is not required.  Strong candidates for the ISSLP are those who have had sustained service commitment or cross-cultural learning experience, demonstrated leadership or individual service initiative, or involvement with Center for Social Concerns' courses and programs. The selection process involves finding a “match” of the site’s mission and work needs with a student’s academic interest, coursework, prior service and leadership experience, language and work skills, and site work interest. The students to whom we offer positions in the ISSLP are the best pairing of these factors.

Selection for interviews will be based on the written application. Students will be notified by email of their status for interviews by Tuesday, November 6, 2018. If accepted to interview for the program, interviews will take place from 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM on Sunday, November 11, 2018. Students will be notified of acceptance into the program through a formal letter of invitation via email on December 14, 2018.  Once accepted into the program, students will be expected to commit their participation in writing via email no later than December 27, 2018. Students accepted into the ISSLP must register for courses, THEO 33970 Global Issues (spring semester 2019) and THEO 33938 Summer Service Learning Confronting Social Issues International (fall semester 2019), through InsideND. 

For students studying abroad in fall and/or spring semesters, please see the requirements and terms outlined in “Academic Requirements” above. Students who will be abroad in the spring semester will not register for the 1.0 credit course THEO 33970. Students abroad in the fall will formally add THEO 33938 in the semester they return to campus.

Students accepted into the ISSLP are accepted on a contingency basis until verification of academic standing, health status, resident life, and criminal background checks are satisfied. Ongoing participation in the program and actual deployment is contingent upon satisfying the proper background checks required of the University.  

The ISSLP has sole discretion, at any time, to cancel a site placement, not deploy students, or withdraw a student from the program for any reason should the safety and well-being of the student, site partners, and/or the ISSLP program be compromised.


The ISSLP provides the student with a social concerns award of $1,000.00 maximum (prorated if site requires less than eight-week service-learning immersion). This social concerns award is to be used to assist with expenses related to additional meals and drinking water not provided with the site’s housing arrangement, local/in-country transportation, vaccinations, passport, travel visa, entrance and exit fees and other related travel expenses incurred during the eight week service-learning immersion. The social concerns award will be impacted/retracted if academic course requirements are not fulfilled, if the student drops the courses, and/or vacates the service-learning placement prematurely. 

The ISSLP pays for the student’s round-trip airfare to and from the country based on least expensive fare from student’s home state or point of origination, basic food and lodging associated with the site placement, international health and medical evacuation insurance and any applicable site fees.   

Please note certain sites may have a “Special Funding Obligation” and is noted on the site description.

Travel arrangements will be coordinated by Anthony Travel or an approved travel agency and the Center for Social Concerns. 

Costs associated with travel extraneous to the ISSLP are the students’ financial responsibility. Extraneous and tourism travel is prohibited during the eight-week service-learning placement and any such travel plans must occur outside of the eight-week service-learning placement. Some exceptions may apply to “excursions” that are coordinated by, approved by, and accompanied by ISSLP site partners and organizations, and which are approved by the ISSLP.

A $150.00 program deposit/materials fee is required and charged to student account in the spring semester.

2018-19 CALENDAR

Sep.  13            Application opens

Sep. – Oct.      Weekly information sessions at the CSC

Oct. 28             Application deadline

Nov. 6               Email notification of interview status

Nov. 11             Interviews

Dec. 14             Candidates notified of acceptance status

Dec. 27             Confirmation of participation email and participation contracts due

Jan. 17              First ISSLP class session 6:30 – 7:45 pm

Jan. 22              Last day for course change

Jan. – Apr.        Orientation Sessions and mandatory Weekend Retreat (Feb 8-9, 2019)

May – Aug.        Service-learning placements in progress

Aug. – Oct.        ISSLP re-entry class sessions and mandatory Day Retreat (Aug. 26, 2019), and public presentations

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


Contact Information

Center for Social Concerns      
Main Phone Line  (574) 631-5293
Fax (574) 631-4171
Rachel Tomas Morgan  
Director, International Engagement 
Director, International Summer Service Learning Program       
(574) 631-9404
Jimena Holguin                     
Assistant Director, International Summer Service Learning Program (Latin America)
(574) 631-7803
Grace Munene 
Assistant Director,  International Summer Service Learning Program (Africa)                  
(574) 631-0421
Suzanne Wilson 
Lead Coordinator, International Summer Service Learning Program 
(574) 631-9403
Ben vonBredow                       
Graduate TA
ISSLP Student Assistants
Sonia Gonzalez                  
Cam Nolan                         
View All Events

Upcoming Events

January 2019

2019 Social Concerns Fair
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

February 2019

Higgins Lunchtime Labor RAPS
Friday, February 1, 2019 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Labor Café
Friday, February 22, 2019 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm

March 2019

Higgins Lunchtime Labor RAPS
Friday, March 1, 2019 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Pre-Conference Workshop: Restorative Justice on Catholic Campuses
Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 12:30pm to 4:00pm
2019 Catholic Social Tradition Conference
Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
2019 Catholic Social Tradition Conference
Friday, March 22, 2019 - 7:30am to 9:30pm
2019 Catholic Social Tradition Conference
Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 8:00am to 4:30pm
Labor Café
Friday, March 29, 2019 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm

April 2019

Been & Seen Series
Friday, April 5, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Higgins Lunchtime Labor RAPS
Friday, April 12, 2019 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Labor Café
Friday, April 26, 2019 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm

June 2019

Community Engagement Faculty Institute
Tuesday, June 4, 2019 (All day) to Thursday, June 6, 2019 (All day)