Service Learning

What is Service Learning?

Service learning is the pedagogy that links academic study with the practical experience of volunteer community service.

It offers a different approach to teaching and learning and to the civic engagement of institutions of higher education. In service-learning programs, students and teachers use the experience of service as one source of information and ideas, along with the classroom, laboratory, library, and Internet. They are asked to critically analyze what they learn from the service with the ultimate goals of student learning and meaningful service to the community. (Adapted from the International Partnership for Service Learning website)

Why Service Learning?

When students engage in volunteer service coupled with related studies, they find that learning comes alive and becomes relevant. Students develop new and valuable skills, solidify a commitment to leadership and service, and grow in their understanding of diverse cultures and social issues. Community partners also greatly benefit by gaining human and financial capital and future supporters for their work. To read more about the ways that service learning can benefit students, faculty and community partners, click here.


The Value of International Service Learning

How-to engage in Service Learning at Harper?

Harper College has partnered with Unearth the World – a service learning social enterprise. Unearth the World’s mission is to promote cross-cultural learning, foster reciprocal partnerships and elevate social consciousness through responsible volunteer exchange programs.


Harper students are able to participate in service learning through one of Unearth the World’s programs.

What can you expect from an Unearth the World program?

  • Participation in a global service learning training curriculum
  • Pairing with an international nonprofit in Peru, Nicaragua, Ghana or Zambia.
  • Ability to work alongside an international organization on a community driven service project
    • All projects include 3 meals/day, accommodations and transportation
  • Travel planning and fundraising support
  • Post-trip coaching and guidance so that you can incorporate your service learning into your daily life

Unearth the World

To learn more about opportunities for service learning, visit Unearth the World’s website, or reach out via email at

Harper College Harper College website