Change The Way You View The World

About our International Programs

The Center for Service-Learning facilitates two faculty-led international programs in Kenya and Rwanda that promote engaged partnerships between students, faculty, and local and global communities. Our goal is to develop sustained and long term partnerships between Western and multiple community partner organizations to meet the stated goals of international communities, while providing a rich interdisciplinary learning experience for students.

The Center for Service-Learning's courses offer students community-based learning that takes place in the classroom of other cultures, and challenges assumptions about what it means to live in the age of globalization. Much of the learning is centered on the knowledge of local experts and through field experiences and service activities.

Our program is based on the guiding principle of reciprocal and respectful partnerships and is designed to address the community goals of our international community partners. We are invited into their communities and they are invited to be a full participant in the service learning project design. This is not an academic tourism model or a "feel good" experience for our students, but a commitment to social responsibility and change, authentic intercultural relationships, and deep personal learning.


The Rwanda service-learning program explores the history and cultures of Rwanda through collaborative, community-based learning. Students and faculty work alongside partners in the village of Gashora, Rwanda to learn about their culture, the challenges and opportunities they face, and their grassroots approaches to community development. Tim Costello, the Center’s director works closely with established Rwanda partners to serve as guides and mentors for student participants. We learn about the local community issues through the people that live there. Prior to travel, students participate in team building and preparatory study on Rwandan history and culture, cross cultural relationship building, and ethical travel and global citizenship. While in Rwanda students engage in service-learning projects, on-site academic seminars, reading, writing, and reflective practice. Upon return students design their own action project for positive social change informed by their experiences in Rwanda.


Course Name: Community Building in Rwanda, INTL 437J
Credits: 12 credits
Quarter of offering: Summer 2016
Pre-departure session dates: June 21 - 24
In-country: June 27 - August 10
Application Deadline: Priority deadline is January 31. Preference will be given to applicants who submit before this deadline. Applicants after January 31 will be considered if space is available.

Download: Summer 2016 Program Application

Learn more about Community Building in Rwanda from students who have participated in the past:

Rwanda Article: Umuganda Day

Video: Rwandan partner attends classes at WWU

Rwanda video

2014 Rwanda blog

Stories and Photos from Students

Page Updated 11.04.2015