Be a force for good in the world and explore ways to make a real social impact.
Immerse yourself in the educational philosophy of service learning.
Before you spend 4-6 weeks in another country developing a greater understanding of meaningful service, it would probably be useful to learn a bit more about how this all works.
EF Gap Year is serious about our educational philosophy around service learning. Service learning differs from volunteering or voluntourism in that it’s an educational approach: one that combines learning objectives with community service in order to provide a pragmatic, progressive learning experience while meeting societal needs.
It’s a form of experiential education. Students engage in activities that address human and community needs and have structured opportunities for reflection. Service learning offers a more sensitive and self-aware approach to overseas volunteering.
The idea here is that our students see themselves as culturally humble visitors who intend to learn from local people to understand how they can contribute and collaborate, both during and beyond the module.
The specifics depend on the country you choose! The three overarching categories are community development, education and empowerment, and environmental sustainability.
While you’re touring around the country, you’ll stay in shared rooms at hotels and hostels that are typical for that region. Your meals while traveling usually include breakfast and one dinner in each city. On your service projects, you’ll typically stay in simple but comfortable residence halls, and all of your meals will be included.
Alex L., California EF Gap Semester Class of Spring 2019
Being in a third world country for the first time in my life really opened my eyes. In Tanzania, there was the possibility of being useful to people for whom it’s easy to do good. Experiencing that makes you really grateful for what you have. The biggest thing I took out of my gap year was being useful to these people and benefitting others more than myself. That really adds meaning to your life and that pushed me to find a career choice, finding something meaningful to do. It really makes you happy.
Bailey T., EF Gap Semester Class of Spring 2019 University of North Texas
Before my Gap Year, I had an idea that I wanted to do service work in the future, but after taking this gap year and doing service work with EF in Thailand, especially with Warm Heart Foundation and Elephant Valley, I can now confidently say that’s what I want to do with my life. I want to continue to help others and serve others.
Your service learning projects and experience will be shaped largely by the country you choose for this module. Consider where you could be most impactful.
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