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.

Coronavirus Response

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. ISSLPs went virtual in 2020 and made an impact during the coronavirus. 

2021 Global Learning and Living Community (GLLC)

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

Following the cancellation of summer travel in 2021, the ISSLP offered a “global learning and living community” option for students who needed to complete their global service-learning virtually. This program allowed ISSLP participants an opportunity to live in an intentional community in South Bend/Notre Dame, conduct virtual global service-learning projects, and engage in learning about global issues localized in South Bend and the region.

Check out this video to hear from students who participated in the GLLC.