Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education, Vol 6, No 1 (2018)

Going Where Nobody Should Go: Experiential Learning without Making the World Your Classroom

Robert Huish Ph.D.


It raised many questions when students at Dalhousie University were asked, as part of an experiential learning class assignment, to help someone escape North Korea in 2015.  When students organized human rights protests, fundraised for a rescue team within China to escort refugees to safety, and engaged politicians on North Korean refugee needs, it challenged the norms of experiential learning in a university setting.  Is political engagement appropriate for the classroom? Should Canadian students even get involved with such complex human rights and political issues?  Most importantly, could this experience still be considered experiential learning if the students never met the North Korean refugee?  If they never went there?  And if they organized their efforts all entirely in the classroom for credit?  In this chapter I argue that actions of solidarity can have an important place in experiential learning.  The chapter explains the classroom experience of building solidarity with vulnerable populations a world away, and argues that deep values of solidarity can emerge from the classroom, even to places that are impossible to go to.


solidarity; activism; activist pedagogy; locally-based global engagement; political advocacy

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