Spanish L2 Students’ Perceptions of Service-Learning: A Case Study from Ecuador

Alan Victor Brown, Kerry Purmensky


This article examines students’ perceptions of the relationship between the service-learning component of a four-week study-abroad program in Ecuador and the development of their linguistic and cultural competency. The data come from two sources: (1) students’ responses to a survey composed of Likert-scale and rank-order items and (2) student journals written for an introductory translation course after the completion of several service projects relative to dental care and hygiene. The quantitative survey solicited students´ perceptions of the effectiveness of the service-learning component and other characteristics typical of study-abroad programs. In general, students perceived a positive relationship between their participation in service-learning projects while abroad in Ecuador and the development of their linguistic and cultural proficiency. Analysis of students’ reflective journals concerning the service-learning experience resulted in the identification of several themes within the areas of language-related and culture-related learning, contributing to the discussion around the complexities of acquiring linguistic and cultural knowledge through International Service-Learning (ISL).

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