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Are you familiar with the term "Service-Learning"?

Does "service" mean volunteering?

Is it an extracurricular program, or is it a social activity to prepare for a career?

Why is it part of the university curriculum at ICU, in the first place?

Service-Learning is an educational platform that provides practical and reciprocal learning opportunities for students. Participants will volunteer in a community service of their choice for a given period. Through the volunteer work, students will have opportunities to apply their on-campus learning to the community, deepen their knowledge and understanding through the community service, and leverage gained insights to advance their academic learning journey further.

Service-Learning in 3 Steps

ICU offers a year-long curriculum for Service-Learning to ensure that students' service experiences will evolve into meaningful learning. "GE: Service-Learning (General Education)" and "Preparation for Service-Learning Field Study" are courses offered in the spring term. These two courses provide preparation for a 30-day service, and "Reflection on Service Experiences" in the autumn term provides an opportunity to look back on the experience.

The central part of Service-Learning program is the actual service activities mostly during the summer recess. Students enroll in one of two categories: "Community Service-Learning" for domestic and "International Service-Learning" for overseas depending on the service site.

Community Service-Learning

The Community Service-Learning course started in 1999. Students engage themselves in service activities at domestic NPO, public organizations, and local communities in Japan. Students have regularly worked at institutions that have a long relationship with ICU. Students are also encouraged to explore new service sites that meet their interests such as education, welfare, environmental problems, global issues and local communities by negotiating with host organizations on their own. Both custom-made and regularly-conducted Community Service-Learning offers excellent opportunities to gain deeper insight into Japanese society.

LEARN MORE

List of host organizations (AY 2018-2019 results)

International Service-Learning

Service activities through "International Service-Learning" embrace our commitment to the international community, one of the founding principles of ICU. Students take part in Service-Learning programs offered by an overseas partner institution or agency in our network and engage in activities at local NGOs or public agencies. ICU students have participated in educational, welfare-related, developmental and many other activities through the course. Service Learning Center has built a network called Service-Learning Asian Network (SLAN) with universities and public institutions in Asia over the years. Students are to apply for one of the programs offered by SLAN partners. Some of the programs offer a chance to work with both local and exchange students from other countries.

LEARN MORE

List of organizations that accepted ICU students (AY 2019 results)

※ The country, organization, contents of the activity, period of placement, and a number of participating students may vary from year to year

Lady Doak College, India

ICU students, along with students from Hong Kong and South Korea, participate in International Service-Learning Programs offered by Lady Doak College to support children at facilities for children with disabilities, schools, and orphanages. Special events may be held at times, for example , student discussion on issues such as the Indian caste system, gender, etc., home visits or tours to historic sites.

VOICES

Through the program, I learned a lot about Indian cultures and social issues. In addition, I had a chance to spend time together with student volunteers at their home, so I could see many good things about South India and life in India.

We engaged in service activities at two elementary schools; one in the city center and the other in the suburban area, for four days for each school. We introduced Japanese culture, health management, and environmental issues by playing games. Working in two schools, I was able to consider how the family environment would make a difference in the quality of education and personality.

Moreover, local students once gave us a lecture about Indian culture, talking about the good points of their country with a confident expression. I was overwhelmed by the strength of patriotism that people in India had. On the other hand, I had opportunities to talk with various people including families of student volunteers and many people in the local communities, and some said "it is difficult for women to live in India. I wish I could live in the country with freedom like where you live." Therefore, I thought there were things that could be understood only among individuals, rather than lectures.

The service-learning experience was a valuable experience that I could never had in Japan. While I was negative some time during activities, I feel this one-month experience broadened my horizons in terms of myself, others and the world and made me grow a lot, not only acquired knowledge and English skills.

Petra Christian University, Indonesia

ICU students participate in the Community Outreach Program (COP) offered by Petra Christian University. Teams of students from Indonesia, Netherlands, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are sent to 8 different villages to engage in local service activities (facility development and repair) for about four weeks. The ability to actively communicate in English is essential for participating in this program.

VOICES

For the first 4 days in Indonesia we had a field trip with only ICU students, which was a good opportunity to adapt to the local food and lifestyle. In addition, I was able to analyze more critically the Indonesian village life because during the field trip I could discover the characteristics and problems of Indonesia that would not have been gained from village life alone.

The biggest feature of the program (COP) in Indonesia is that you can engage in service-learning activities with students from all over the world (China, Korea, Indonesia, Netherlands, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan). Living in a foreign village, I was surprised by culture and behavior that I couldn't imagine in Japan, but I felt it very fresh to share such an environment with friends from different countries and I was glad to participate in this program. In an environment where the communication tool is only English, sometimes I was worried that I was able to properly convey my thoughts. However, all the participants are not native speakers of English and they were trying to convey their thoughts and it inspired me and helped improve myself.

The SL program is a short-term program that lasts for about a month during summer recess but it was very fruitful time and a precious opportunity for me to think over the meaning of service, impression of developing countries and how I should be in the society .

Silliman University, Philippines

Students who participate in this program will have opportunities to learn about various social problems because they visit multiple organizations with the different focus every week (eg, orphanages for one week, DV victim assistance centers for one week, shelters for another, education support at elementary schools for the last week, etc.). Silliman University kindly assign local students to accompany ICU students. It is very reassuring, and helps build strong ties between the students.

VOICES

I stayed at a shelter and interacted with girls who had tough experiences. Through this experience, I knew some problems of Dumaguete and the Philippines and also had strong connections with them. Sometimes I wondered, "What can we do for the girls in a short time? "But the local teacher told me," when the girls become independent and leave the facility, the memories that people from Japan came to meet them and spent time together may support them. "This made me realize that my learning experience may simultaneously be a meaningful encounter for others. I think service-learning provides a place of such encounters to the future.

I was also grateful for building a warm relationship with buddies and teachers in the Philippines. During the last homestay, I suffered from a terrible stomachache. Although it was a tough experience, I felt the hospitality of the people in the Philippines through the support of my host mother, buddies, and local teachers.

Through service-learning, we can have many connections with people we don't meet in our daily lives. I realize that I am just a small person in the world. I felt that I could take a step forward.

Read more voices

For inquiries on Service-Learning

ICU Service-Learning Center

Established in October 2002, ICU Service-Learning Center (SLC) has formed a network together with other higher education institutions in Asia since 2003 to promote student exchange through Service-Learning activities. It was selected as a program for "Strategic Promotion of International Cooperation "project subsidized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in 2005, and has particularly been emphasizing international service-learning. In addition to program briefing sessions, orientations and course support, SLC offers a broad range of student support including negotiation with partner institutions, follow-up of overseas travel preparation, on-site inspection and implementation of safety measures to ensure that students can safely and securely engage in service activities.

Kiyoshi Togasaki Memorial Dialogue House 2F,
3-10-2, Osawa, Mitaka-shi,
Tokyo, Japan

Tel: + 81-422-33-3687 Mail: slc@icu.vanpads.com

Service-Learning Center Website

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