Skip top navigation

Shoulder to Shoulder International Service Learning Programs

Group of students sitting on top of a vehicle

Explore. Serve. Learn.

Lasell's Shoulder to Shoulder Programs are perfect for students looking to explore the world, serve local communities, and engage in other cultures through service.

Apply to Shoulder to Shoulder Programs

"Shoulder to Shoulder" is a collection of cultural immersion and service-learning programs in which Lasell students learn about various social justice issues within a global context. Students live in the style of their host community while learning and working shoulder to shoulder with local partners. Each of the credit-bearing travel courses consists of approximately 10 to 12 students and two faculty leaders who engage in academic coursework in addition to spending time on the ground in their chosen destination for 7-14 days. Each project shares the ultimate goal of connecting the local with the global and vice versa. 

Shoulder to Shoulder: Antigua

This fall semester course is paired with an international service-learning trip in the Caribbean island nation of Antigua & Barbuda during the winter break. The course provides an opportunity for students to explore the intersection of culture, disability, and teaching in international settings. The service-learning trip includes a school-based experience of 40 hours spent observing, supporting, and teaching students with and without disabilities in the public schools in Antigua & Barbuda. Course activities will focus on reflective intellectual work about intercultural competence in the classroom through written reflections, readings, class discussion, and curriculum development. 

Shoulder to Shoulder: Ecuador

After participating in a spring semester course, Lasell University students, staff, and faculty travel for 10 days to Ecuador in May to participate in environmental service-learning. Students learn about Ecuador's biodiversity & sustainable agriculture while working to protect Ecuador's gorgeous environment and serving youth in the local community. Participants should expect group accommodations in hostels, homestays, and cabins (with and without electricity), and full days of intensive manual labor and reflective intellectual work. Preparation for the program happens during the Spring semester as a part of SVL203: Environmental Service in Ecuador.  This course is required for all participants and covers the climate, ecology, history, and culture of Ecuador, in addition to addressing pre-trip travel administrative details and some language study. 

Shoulder to Shoulder: Mexico

The Mexico Shoulder to Shoulder is a 16-year partnership with a farming community and students in the coastal state of Veracruz, Mexico. It incorporates a three-credit spring semester course and eleven days on the ground for study and service in Mexico during the month of May. Participants partner with a non-profit founded by Lasell students, Niños de Veracruz (NDV), that creates elementary school scholarships and microloans in the beautiful colonial town of Coatepec, the host site. Classroom experience immerses students in the study of the history, diverse peoples, and cultures of Mexico, and combines research, presentations, and papers with service to Niños de Veracruz - Lasell campus and alumni chapter. The field experience in Mexico introduces students to the community directors and recipients of Niños De Veracruz. It includes homestays with warm, middle-class Mexican families who have hosted Lasell students for many years, manual labor, and reflective intellectual work. The goal of community service is not to change Mexico, but to learn from Mexicans about Mexico and about the impact of the United States on our neighbors. Participants are selected each fall through the Shoulder to Shoulder application process and are required to enroll in the spring course HUM207:  Mexico, the US and NDV:  Human Rights and Action on Global Poverty. 

Shoulder to Shoulder: Vietnam

This fall semester course is linked to two weeks of service-learning in Vietnam during the winter break. The course introduces students to Vietnamese society today. It covers basic elements of Vietnamese politics, economic development, culture, history, language, literature, and arts. The experience in Vietnam includes working for non-profit organizations that deal with social problems. 

Program Semester Service Trip Application Deadline  Program Cost
Antigua Fall One week in early January March 13 $1200
Ecuador Spring One week in late May October 15 $1200
Mexico Spring One week in late May October 15 $1200
Vietnam Fall Two weeks in early January March 13 $1200

For more information about the Shoulder to Shoulder International Service Learning programs, please email