3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Miss This Summer’s Seminar in Service Learning

March 23, 2017

  Your students are asking the hard questions, you need a community to support you to explore those questions In the last eight months, staff and faculty from all over the country gathered for two intensive seminars with Dr. Tim Stanton critically exploring the field of service-learning.  These cohorts–with a wide range of perspectives and voices–supported each other through a variety of serious and troubling questions:  Should my team set up new programs based on university strategic goals without clear invitation from the partner community? Is mutual partnership possible when we as Westerners are working with hundreds of years of imperialism on our side? Is service-learning inherently political?  Dr. Stanton brings decades of experience exploring the ethics of service-learning both at…

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Meet Towsif, Global Health volunteer in Nepal

September 15, 2016
April Stone

   Towsif Aziz, a senior at University of North Carolina, Greensboro in pre-dental studies, returned in August 2016 from three weeks on a Global Health Quest to Nepal. “I met the most amazing people when in Nepal for three weeks on a Global Health Quest. The staff at Healthy Smiles—a dental clinic in Kathmandu, where I was in service—was fantastic!” Towsif Aziz, a volunteer with United Planet, shares how he was surprised that he felt at home as soon as he arrived in Nepal, both at the clinic where he worked and in his home stay. The fellows, doctors and patients he worked with daily, welcomed him as colleague. “I was never viewed as an outsider or a tourist, I was…

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Live simple…Love generously…Learn constantly

September 12, 2016

Susana Acosta, a teacher of the deaf at the California School for the Deaf in Freemont, California, returned from a short term Quest to Nepal in July 2016. Susie shares with friends of United Planet about her remarkable experience. As a teacher of the deaf in California for 16 years, I recently returned from a United Planet short term Quest to Nepal. I am grateful to team at United Planet who did excellent research to find me an ideal project–– placing me with the Disabled Service Association (DSA) in Nepal to teach deaf Nepalese children­­. The Deaf Nepalese students are resilient, compassionate, intelligent and unique. I felt challenged with the little resources available for them as far as visual materials (history…

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Excellence in Ecuador: Ivan Olivas Looks Back on His Quest

August 22, 2016
Billy LePage

Upon returning home to the U.S., United Planet volunteer Ivan Olivas felt overwhelmed by the wide roads and open spaces. After spending 8 days in Quito, Ecuador, Ivan became accustomed to the charming, narrow pathways and clustered buildings that line its picturesque city streets. Initial feelings of claustrophobia quickly melted into a sense of warmth, comfort and togetherness.  Gearing up for the approaching school year, Ivan looks fondly back on the memories and feelings unique to his time in the cozy city of Quito, Ecuador. Ivan’s journey began with an opportunity provided by Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). The institution offers a scholarship for first generation college students to volunteer abroad to foster cross-cultural immersion and understanding. Following an extensive application…

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Not Goodbye, Just “Vi Ses!”

August 9, 2016
Billy LePage

Taylor just recently returned from a year-long individual Quest to Copenhagen, Denmark. She stayed with a host family and spent her time teaching at a school in the Filipskolen community. Taylor chronicled her time abroad on her blog, A Writer’s Wanderlust. Enjoy her ode to a city that she loves and the cross-cultural relationships she formed there.    “Life might be difficult for a while, but I would tough it out because living in a foreign country is one of those things everyone should try at least once. My understanding was that it completed a person, sanding down the rough edges and transforming you into a citizen of the world” – David Sedaris Denmark I’m leaving a piece of me with you today; a large part…

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5 Tips for LGBT Travelers Abroad

July 21, 2016
Billy LePage

Spending time abroad is an incredible experience; it is transformative, immersive, and challenging all at once. The challenges it presents are often a source of growth, and vary from person to person. Navigating those difficult feelings, like initial culture shock or homesickness, is an important step towards becoming a global citizen. Since the sociopolitical climate for LGBT people is different internationally, travelers need to take into account how their sexuality and/or gender identity may affect their experience. Here at United Planet the safety of our volunteers is of the utmost importance, so read up on some tips for the best possible experience. Do your research Being aware of cultural differences when it comes to gender and sexuality is very important….

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