International Service Learning Program

The Host: Hello everybody and welcome back to the Student Affairs Podcast Series. My name is Daniel Pinto. I will be you host for this episode. In this episode of the podcast, we're going to talk about what the International Service Learning Program is, what opportunities they offer our students, and what you need to do to be a part of their programs. Our special guest today is Director of International Service Learning Program, Caleb Brooks. Caleb thank you so much for coming we are glad to have you here today. How are you doing?

Caleb Brooks: Yeah, I'm great. You're so welcome. It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me.

The Host: Great! So, let's move on to the first question, what is the International Service-Learning Program and what does it do?

Caleb Brooks: Yeah, so I like to tell folks that I SLP is kind of like study abroad one on one. It's like an entry into that world. We take UL students on immersive educational service trips to several countries throughout the academic year. So, all of our programs are attached to three or four credit courses here on campus. And those courses culminate in a seven- or 10-day service focus trip elsewhere.

The Host: Okay, and then what specific countries is that I know you mentioned three or four but which one?

Caleb Brooks: Yeah, I'm glad you asked. So, we have a trip every fall semester to the Philippines, which is great. We get to a place called Cebu City, which is the second largest city in the Philippines. Over spring break, we have a trip to Belize, which is not you know, not too far from here, just a quick jump down across the Caribbean. Then we also have a program to Croatia at the end of the spring semester and in a program to Ghana at the end of the spring semester. So those both happen kind of after finals but before summer courses begin and every other year, we have a trip to Trinidad and Tobago, which is facilitated through the college shooting personnel in higher education program. And we used to, at one time kind of have a program during the summer school break period, sort of end of July, early August to Peru. And that program has now been totally taken over by our Speed School of Engineering, which is great. That was the plan from the beginning. So that program is still an option. It's kind of like an offshoot of ILP. So those are the places that we go to.

The Host: I actually knew about the one from I'm originally from Peru.

Caleb Brooks: yeah, we launched, we launched that thing. And I think 2018 It's great. It's been great. Yeah, go to the Sacred Valley and a little little place called Kaka, it's, it's an incredible, it's a great experience for students. And, and yeah, the work they did there is really, really interesting, too. So it's great.

The Host: That's great. Another question I know, you know, all, especially with things with COVID. And everything have has COVID affected these trips? Because I know even with Yeah, travelling domestically, it's even even hard nowadays.

Caleb Brooks: Totally. You know, so for pretty much two years, we were grounded, so to speak. So we were actually in Belize, over spring break and 2021 things here kind of fell apart. Whenever we left, there were no cases in Jefferson County, we came back to like empty grocery shelves and the whole nine yards before, you know, COVID panic. But travelling was fine. It was fine. And Belize, it was great. It was kind of a great way to spend like our last week of freedom, you know, in this beautiful tropical place. So yeah, we had the program close, for obvious reasons for those two years, when we're back in it now. We just got back from Belize. We were in Belize from March 12 through 19th, kind of Saturday and Saturday of spring break. And then we'll be leaving for Croatia on May 1. So like two weeks from yesterday, it will be in Croatia for 10 days, I'll come back for a few days, and then we'll leave for Ghana, from May 16 through 26th. All that to say answer your question more directly. We're back in business, you know, put it out there that we're back up basically, to quote the wire. And, you know, we're just trying to do what we can within the confines of what we have we certainly encourage mitigating efforts by students and faculty to travel. You know, we're still wearing masks on flights, we certainly really encourage vaccination and boosters for all participants, things like that. But in general, the sense to me is that the world is opening back up. And he mentioned, you're from Peru and no, Peru has been hard hit by COVID. And of course, Peru is a country that's also dependent on tourism, and the kind of, you know, dollars and how much that helps to prop up their economy. So, I think around the world, that's a pretty consistent theme. I know, for example, like the Philippines, we could not have travelled there for the past few years if it wasn't open to foreigners. Or if we if you did get in on some sort of special visa, you had to quarantine for 14 full days in a government Hotel. So, it didn't make it possible. So that's a long way of saying like we've kind of weathered the storm. We're very hopeful for the future. And the plan is to kind of proceed and have a fully operational program from this point forward.

The Host: Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of countries didn't really realise how much—well, I would say a lot of people in certain countries didn't realise how much tourism was a big part of economy. Like rolling in our last question. How would someone participate in ISLP, how do you get involved in these programs?

Caleb Brooks: Yeah, great. Great question, too. There's kind of two doors, I'll say. So, I mentioned before all our programs are attached to courses on campus. So, one way is to kind of, if your department has a programs faculty, that faculty will be talking about it, they might send emails about it, they might put fliers up in the department about their leading a program, leading a course, and then being part of the trip themselves. So that's one way. Another way is just to go ahead and get online and apply through the ISLP Engage portal, the engage website we use for a lot of involvement things here on campus. And so, we have our own little ISLP portal that has the full application and all the forms you need to apply for the program. You can apply without knowing which course you want to be a part of, and I can help direct you towards a course that might fit your needs, whether it's from your major or from a different major. Anybody can go in any program there's not really much exclusion in that sense. But yeah, I think the main thing is just trying to get your application in and then also figuring out which ISLP course you want to enroll in and because that's kind of how it all fits together with the two-part process the course itself and then also the application.

The Host: Well, thank you so much, Caleb, for coming and telling us a little bit of your department and what your role is at UofL. It was a great talk and hopefully now our listeners have learned something new and are interested in this program. All the best, Caleb.

Caleb Brooks: Thank you, Daniel. Appreciate it.

And for our listeners for more information about student services, go to

Did you know that there are opportunities to volunteer year-round with the Engage Lead Serve Board (ELSB)?

Please don’t forget that April 22 is the 36th Annual Crawfish Boil. It is free admission for UofL students. and for community members. that will take a place at George J. Howe Red at 5 pm. Be sure to RSVP early to attend.

As always, we would like to give a shout out to Student Activity board for always having such great events.

On that beautiful note, we would like to end our podcast. Thank you for being with us! Good luck on the final exams and take care!


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