Volunteer Service

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What Alumni are Doing

Our alumni find rewarding careers in government, higher education, State Department agencies, and non-profit agencies and NGOs addressing the world’s most pressing and challenging problems. IPSL alumni are working as:

  • Executive Director, NGO Fighting Human Trafficking (Washington, D.C.)

  • Event Coordinator, International Non-Profit (The Hague, Netherlands)

  • International Studies Faculty/Program Director, University (Quito, Ecuador)

  • Physician (New Orleans, LA)

  • Program Manager, International GAP-Year Organization (San Francisco)

  • Director of Communications, Disability Advocacy Organization, (Cambodia)

  • Grants Manager, International Education Non-Profit (New York, NY)

  • Program and Training Officer, Peace Corps (Washington, D.C.)

  • Service-Learning Program Director and Faculty, University (St. Louis, MO)

  • Founder and Director, HIV/AIDS Prevention NGO (India)

  • Program Manager, Non-profit Empowering Women (Minneapolis, MN)

Service-Learning™ versus Internship/Practicum

IPSL service-learning placements are determined, in part, by student interests and skills (and, in some cases, language abilities), but primarily by community needs. Central to the philosophy of service-learning is the notion of service. Service-learning is not the same as an internship or practicum, although it may look very similar. The service in service-learning may or may not be career-related unlike in an internship, that is designed mostly so that the student will benefit by learning about his/ her future profession. In contrast, in service-learning, the outcome of the student's work--that is, the service--is as important as the student’s learning. There are--or should be--identifiable benefits to those served. This reciprocity is a key component in international service-learning.

IPSL Service Placements (Students on the IPSL Segovia program do service in SPAIN and MOROCCO):

IPSL's service-learning placements are in local, grassroot organizations, where locals have identified a need, and where the change effort is owned by them. What they need is additional assistance of all kinds from the outside. So, IPSL participants should remember that they are stepping into a moving stream of initiatives and efforts that began long ago, and that will continue after the participant departs. Your work is important, but your individual contributions may not be visible for many years as change takes time. In the meantime, you are fulfilling a need, and the need is huge.

A single agency may need hands-on assistance from IPSL participants (direct service) or assistance in the background building capacity (indirect service) so that the agency can one day experience more stability in the delivery of its services. Either way, both direct and indirect service are needed to accomplish the goals as each is valuable. In actuality, because nearly all non-profits experience resource scarcity, IPSL participants do a little bit of everything, as it should be. Nothing says, "I'm a partner in your community," more than a willingness on the part of a service-learning participant, not only to do higher tasks, but also occasionally to pick up a broom and sweep the floor so that the setting is clean and presentable. Such actions serve to break down stereotypes about Americans, and build relationships based on equality. That is why many of the service agencies with which we work have been our partners for years.

The IPSL website lists areas of service, and a few examples for each program site. This list is not exhaustive, nor static. The types of work listed do not each represent a distinct agency; they represent the types of work that IPSL participants can expect to encounter at the different service agencies with which we work. The number and selection of service agencies may change at any time:  sometimes there are logistical (transportation, scheduling, etc.) issues that arise that complicate certain service agency placements and make them unworkable and sometimes students need to be proficient in the local language in order to serve in a particular agency. Also, we do not place many students in any one agency--doing so would undermine the immersion environment for which IPSL programs are known.

Volunteer Service that Addresses Human Needs

Service-learning in Spain provides the student the opportunity to experience social service in a country whose complicated political, economic, and social realities rarely allow the foreigner to become an active part of society. You will serve 10-20 hours per week in an established community development agency, NGO, or non-profit.

PARTIAL LIST of Service-Learning™ opportunities that may include:

  • teaching English to children in schools and day care centers

  • assisting unemployed people in learning new, marketable skills

  • helping to integrate immigrant populations

  • helping to teach English to North African immigrants

  • working with animals at the Spanish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

  • assisting in launching international education initiatives

  • working with young orphans

  • working with the elderly

  • working with people with medical impairments such as Parkinson's Disease, etc.

  • helping with International Development aid projects

Some of the Agencies students serve include:

  • La asociación del Cáncer de España (cancer society)

  • La asocación de los Padres de la Cruz Blanca (disabled people)

  • La asociación del Parkinson (Parkinson's Disease)

  • AIDA (Ayuda Intercambio Desarrollo)--(International Development Organization)

  • Cruz Roja (Red Cross)

  • Association of Moroccans

  • La asociación Anemia de Franconi

  • Escuela Logos (nursery school and a English school for children and adults)

  • La Asociacíón Protectora de Animales de Segovia (Animal Aid Society of Segovia)

  • Caminantes (adoption agency)

  • Caritas (immigrants and impoverished communities)

  • Alfa & Beta (Academy for Children and Adolescents)

  • Asociación Ministerio Evangelico en Prisiones (MEP)--(incarcerated people)

  • Asociación para la Lucha Contra las Enfermedades del Rinon (ALCER)

  • Asociación San Francisco de Asis

  • Fundacion Secretariado Gitano (social/educational assistancefor Gypsy clans)

  • Hermanitos de los Pobres (assisted living home for elderly)

  • Hermanos Franciscanos de la Cruz Blanca (home for developmentally delayed people of all ages)

  • UNICEF Delegacion Provincal de Segovia (international development aid for children)