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Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1751-1917
  • E-ISSN: 1751-1925


International service-learning (ISL) programmes, grounded under the transformative learning theory, have long shown promising results in enhancing the development of college students. However, in recent years, scholars have begun to take notice of the number of conceptual and methodological deficiencies that the ISL body of research suffers from. Our study addresses this void by adopting a quasi-experimental design to understand the developmental benefits accrued by college students who joined one of three ISL programmes. More specifically, this study seeks to understand the role of service settings and social context in the transformative process. A pretest-posttest approach was used to examine students’ growth in three ISL programmes (one from Cambodia and two from Myanmar). A total of 31 college students completed the questionnaire before and after the ISL programmes. Analysing the data through repeated-measure ANCOVAs, all three ISL programmes were found to help students increase their personal insight (general and social self-efficacy), understanding of social issues (interpersonal and problem-solving skills and political awareness) and cognitive development (communication skills). Establishing a non-hierarchical relationship with the partner agency in the service setting, providing emotional counseling to the college students and organizing multiple community outreach opportunities were found to be particularly beneficial for facilitating these transformations. Building on the results, suggestions for ISL practice and research are provided.


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