Feature Article

International Service Opens Eyes

Students Travel to New Locales

At a primary school in Antigua.

It's infectious. Students have one service learning experience that is overwhelmingly positive and then crave another - perhaps an international service experience. This time, it changes their lives... and they want even more.

And, because of Lasell's commitment to service and civic engagement, they find those opportunities all the time.

Enter Vietnam and Antigua - the College's two newest international service trips.

Both trips, which launched in January, expose students to international service with the support of committed and creative faculty who care about deepening the academic experience outside of the classroom.

It Vietnam, students worked with street children through the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation while in Antigua, education majors taught elementary students, many of whom were visually impaired, at the TN Kirnon School in St. John's.

"Working with the rescued children was such an honor and a privilege. It amazed me how they went through so much horror and still managed to put a smile on their face every day. They inspired me so much," says senior Keren Dekel, whose prior service trips include Mexico and New Jersey post-Hurricane Sandy.

Assistant Professor of Economics and Management Anh Le Tran, who led the trip along with Associate Professor of Art and Graphic Design Margo Lemieux and Associate Professor of Fashion Jill Carey, said the exposure to the effects of poverty and lack of opportunity for the children made a lasting impression.

"The trip certainly enhanced our students' worldview and appreciation of differences," Tran tells Leaves. "They also found more strength and resilience as they witnessed how people in unfavorable life circumstances fought hard to make improvements."

In Antigua, Lasell undergrads were able to try different teaching approaches - based on the special needs of some of the students - and observe in real time the impact on the classroom.

"I think it was life-changing and their perspective on teaching was changed," says Assistant Professor of Education Elizabeth Hartman, who arranged the Antigua trip along with Gillian Stanley, assistant director of Graduate Student Services.

Senior Education major Emma Nuneviller, who experienced international travel for the first time on the Antigua trip, changed the focus of her degree upon her return to Curriculum and Instruction so she can "travel to other countries and observe their ways of teaching."

"This trip gave me the chance to step out of my comfort zone and gave me the confidence that I needed to continue teaching students and inspiring them to be the best they can be," says Nuneviller. "All students should get that chance to explore other countries and cultures. My eyes were opened to a different culture."

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