Students spend part of their breaks helping others abroad
When Lauren Hendricks, now a University of Louisville graduate student, returned from an International Service Learning Program trip to Belize last spring, there was only one thing on her mind when she returned — filling out the application to go on the next trip to the Philippines this winter.
The trip to Cebu will be her third trip abroad to work on service projects.
"You cannot put on a price tag on the experience," she said. "The education all of us get is something you could never get in the classroom."
Two groups of students, faculty and staff are departing UofL this week to complete service projects abroad during the winter break. The groups are part of a growing number of UofL students who are now choosing to spend part of their academic careers studying or serving overseas. During the summer of 2010, more than 400 UofL students participated in some type of overseas program.
The aforementioned International Service Learning Program leaves Louisville Thursday morning. A second group of students, advised by the Office of Civic Engagement, Leadership and Service, will head to India on Friday.
This marks the second trip to Cebu for the ISLP program.
The trip, which includes more than 20 students, will allow the students to work at four schools in Cebu. The students will be divided into several smaller groups and will focus on differing projects. One group will teach about public speaking, another will lead a discussion about bullying and a third will teach students a science project. Another group will host a dentistry clinic.
Tom Jackson, vice president for student affairs, and Tom Clark, a dentistry professor, left for the Philippines earlier this week. Since arriving, they've met some of their in-country contacts and also with the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines.
The group is keeping a blog about its experience, beginning with Jackson and Clark's arrival.
The group will return to Louisville on Dec. 19.
Another group of 11 students, advised by the Office of Civic Engagement, Leadership and Service will leave for India on Friday. The group will work at medical clinics in several cities, offering physicians' assistance with general health exams. The group will also give away eyeglasses.
The trip, now in its second year, was organized by UofL student Deep Aggarwal. Gerome Stephens, coordinator of student leadership in Office of Civic Engagement, Leadership and Service, will accompany the students.
"We had a terrific experience last year. We felt like we were able to have on impact on the people we met," Stephens said.
The group going is larger than the one that went last year. Ten undergraduate students and one graduate student will make the trip, up from five last year.
The group will return to Louisville late Dec. 23.
"This is really a once in a lifetime opportunity for the students," Stephens said.