The Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership
Past research demonstrated both strong and questionable benefits to students participating in domestic service-learning. However, we know little about high school and college students' perspectives of service-learning while working with nonprofit, non-governmental (NGO) agencies that serve international populations. This qualitative, exploratory study aims to determine how students perceive their lives are impacted as a result of their service-learning experiences at Operation Smile. Data were collected from two focus groups comprised of high school and university youth. Results indicated service-learning in an international setting positively influences areas of personal growth, career choice, and future philanthropic participation. It also affects level of family, peer, and community member involvement in the NGO; and aids local target populations in developing countries. In addition to safety concerns, students mentioned difficulty in adapting after the experience as well as feelings of isolation from peers.
0000-0001-9157-3493 (Pribesh), 0000-0001-9079-8762 (Dickerson)
Original Publication Citation
Unger, S. B., Pribesh, S., Bol, L., & Dickerson, D. (2014). Students' perspectives of NGO service-learning experiences: A case study of Operation Smile. The Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, 4(2), 139-161.
Unger, Suzanne B.; Pribesh, Shana; Bol, Linda; and Dickerson, Daniel, "Students' Perspectives of NGO Service-Learning Experiences: A Case Study of Operation Smile" (2014). Educational Foundations & Leadership Faculty Publications. 41.