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Service Abroad - Finding a Service Site

Page history last edited by Kelly Behrend 9 years, 11 months ago

Serving Abroad: Tools & Tips 

Finding A Service Site


STEP 1: Research the Community

Take a look at available resources online, in your school library, or from your study abroad office regarding the community you’ll be living. However, don’t read these materials like you’re just a tourist--read them with the intent of trying to unpack what issues or needs the community may be facing, or which groups (youth, elderly, minorities, immigrants) may benefit from your service.


STEP 2: Pick an Issue

Consider what issues you’ve worked with at your traditional service site. Would you like to find a site that addresses these same issues or would you like to serve in a different area? It may be best to consider the most pressing needs of the community you’re studying in, because your service will be much more meaningful if it adequately addresses community needs. Be sure to discuss these issues with your Coordinator to decide on the best fit. Check out the RESULTS Global Issues Resource Database at results.org for ideas.


STEP 3: Find a Site

Now that you’ve selected a relevant issue, research community agencies in the area by using the International Partner Directory or other resources from your study abroad office. Using the Service Site Checklist in the Planning Guide, check to see that the sites you’re considering are legitimate and reliable. Through using their website and other contacts (your study abroad office, other Bonners), try to get in touch with people who have served with that organization before.


STEP 4: Contact the Site

Contact the site and let them know of your past service experiences and interest in their organization. Briefly introduce the Bonner Program (or use the Service Partner Guide, Introducing the Bonner Program to an International Service Partner), specifically emphasizing how many hours you plan to serve. Download the Service Partner Guide here: Service Partner Guide.pdf 


STEP 5: Go Abroad!

After settling into your new home, meet with your site as soon as possible and identify a site supervisor. Review the expectations of the Bonner Program using the Service Partner Guide, Introducing the Bonner Program to an International Service Partner. Then, create a Community Learning Agreement (CLA) that is consistent with your personal development and the agency’s needs.


STEP 6: Go Serve!

Now that your service is set up, be sure to keep in regular contact with your  Bonner staff regarding your service experience. Create a sensible timeline for your hours log and stick to it.


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