Addressing Food Insecurity via a Participatory Approach to International Service-Learning: An Opportunity for Soft Skill Development
To be successful in society, today’s students need opportunities to learn through experiences and about other’s cultures and beliefs. During a study abroad program to Scotland, students from the [University] had the opportunity to work with current college students at a local university and teach primary age students about agriculture and environemental science topics. The participants in this study, were from three colleges across the university and had seven different majors. Participants were asked to complete a reflective journal each day of a seven-day long service learning study aborad trip. The participants found that the service learning study abroad program helped them learn about the Scotland culture, break down cultural stereotypes, observe growth in their peers, create lasting friendships, take new risks to push themselves outside of their comfort zone, and had a positively altered perception of the Scottish culture. The results of this study provide evidence the students wo engage in meaniful dialoge and reflection show potential to have their values and beliefs altered. This experience can have a positive impact on participants involvement and participation in social change movements once they return home. Further research needs to investigate the impact that group meals have on this development of peer relationships and the impact that has on their perceptions of culture.