Decoding Community Engagement For International Students


The Center for Community-Engaged Learning (CCEL) provides meaningful off-campus community engagement experiences to our students through curricular and co-curricular experiences, facilitates authentic and reciprocal partnerships with local community organizations, creates positive impact in the community, and advances the University's mission of excellence in teaching, research, and outreach through community engagement. The overall vision of the project is to provide additional support for international students to be successful in their curricular and co-curricular community engagement. This includes creating online training modules that students access prior to their community experience that cover technical challenges such as understanding visa restrictions, information on background checks for students without social security numbers, identifying references, riding the bus, and adaptive challenges such as understanding volunteer culture in the U.S. – including what values are embedded in the expectations for volunteers such as appreciating volunteers who readily take initiative without having to be told what to do, which is often counter to cultural expectations of students from many of our most representative countries. The other component of this project includes providing more professional development opportunities for our community partners on how to work successfully with international students.