Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education, Vol 5, No 1 (2016)

A Habitat for Humanity and University Partnership: Enhancing on International Experiential Learning in El Salvador

Robert B. Feagan, Mike Boylan


The increase in international experiential learning (IEL hereafter) opportunities being developed by universities in the global north requires more attention both generally and with regards to specific IEL programming objectives. This paper provides observations and assessment of a case study of university-student participation in home-builds in El Salvador over the course of three years – a partnership between Habitat for Humanity and a Canadian university. The information collected is assessed relative to the key critiques and to the recommendations advocated in the IEL literature, with the intention of incorporating these critiques and recommendations in future IEL planning for this partnership, and to inform IEL work more generally. The key observations and recommendations include the need for enhanced student preparation pre and post-trip – meaning ‘critical reflection’ processes and materials on privilege and personal goals themes; on specific global south context; and enhancing on intercultural learning and awareness activities and processes e.g., more closely integrated host-community and participant relationship-building opportunities. These recommendations are seen as important for enhancing on this specific IEL program and its short-duration time-frame, while suggesting useful guideposts for IEL more generally, as its occurrence increases within the university setting.


international experiential learning; ‘thin’ and ‘thick’ global citizenship; participant preparation

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