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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Jacqueline Mosselson

Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Leadership | Higher Education | International and Comparative Education


Today's colleges and universities are prioritizing the preparation of students for global citizenship. To meet this need, institutions are focusing their study abroad and international service-learning programs to provide students with international experiences (Bringle & Hatcher, 2011). Government support for such programs is driven by advancing globalization, promoting economic competitiveness, and ensuring national security (Hantzopoulos & Shirazi, 2014). The problem, however, is that participation in service-learning does not guarantee that students will engage in further social action activities upon their return (Hartman & Kiely, 2014). A contributing factor to this lack of engagement is because participants are not gaining transferable skills that would inform their work in support of social justice at the conclusion of the experience (Cermak, Christiansen, Finnegan, Gleeson, White, & Leach, 2011; Hartman & Kiely, 2014; Kiely, 2004).

This case study fills a critical gap in the research regarding how a critical international service-learning program prepares students for continued social justice work in communities upon their return. The research consisted of in-depth interviews, a review of documents, and an examination of artifacts from a specific service-learning program. Data was collected from seven participants who participated in the CIEE Thailand Development and Globalization program. The participants provided important insight as to how the program prepared them for their engagement in Thailand and how that prepared them for future activism and organizing.

Unlike other international service-learning programs, the CIEE Thailand program provided students with a number of transferable skills, which included processing skills (facilitation and listening), self-development skills (confidence and self-direction), communication skills (research, writing, and grant writing), and community building. Additionally, students developed an understanding of how to work in solidarity with community members. The results of this study can offer insights for other critical international service-learning programs to draw from to support the engagement of students upon their return from an experience abroad.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.