Service, Learning, and Research Across the Globe
Research or service in the developing world can generate questions about our own role as “the elite” and “privileged” in contexts where our very presence marks us as “outsiders.” In such situations we frequently grapple with balancing our research objectivity with the oftentimes-stark realities we have witnessed and experienced.
Students at the University of Notre Dame come together to share their experiences and joys of living abroad. This course, Cultural Difference and Social Change, was designed especially for students returning from service and research projects or study abroad programs in the developing world to help them make sense of these experiences. This process is achieved through additional scholarly research (frequently self-directed) to better understand the sites that the students visited during their overseas projects, orienting them in relation to broader global, regional, and national patterns. The eventual outcome is the analysis of each student’s data framed by the larger context. Through discussions, readings, presentations, and writing students develop an analysis based on their overseas experience, and focus on the site where they worked, a problem that they observed in cross-cultural perspective, and an examination of strategies for redressing this sort of problem.
Each student designed a website based on their experiences. Through photos, stories, and scholarly engagement, the websites narrate their various interpretations of interculturality. Explore these pages to get a sense of what it was like to live in these countries as a student, as well as the realities of the people whose lives intersected with their own.