Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education, Vol 2, No 1 (2012)

Introduction: Global Citizenship Education for Learning/Volunteering Abroad

Marc Epprecht, Rebecca Tiessen


For several years Canadian universities and colleges have been expanding opportunities for students to learn and/or volunteer abroad for academic credit. Many of these study abroad programs are directed to the European Union, Singapore and other “business opportunity” destinations. For this collection, however, we are concerned with travel and study in less developed countries – those countries deemed by the United Nations to be low income whereby the vast majority of residents of the country live, on average, on $1-$2 per day. The focus on less developed countries exposes the specific ethical dilemmas one encounters abroad as a result of economic disparities, cultural differences, historical circumstances and social situations linked, for example, to the legacy of colonialism. This introduction provides context and background information on learn/volunteer abroad programs, the diverse opportunities available to college and university students, the potential impact of these programs, and the relationship (perceived or real) of learn/volunteer abroad programs, and global citizenship education.

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