Short-term Study Abroad Including Service-Learning with Critical Reflection Provides Transformative Experience for Students: Case Study from Kenya


  • Stacy C Moak University of Alabama Birmingham


As the world has become more accessible to everyone through modern technology such as airplanes and the internet, the need to educate students to function in a global society has received increasing attention. Short-term study abroad opportunities (1-3 weeks) have evolved as a viable option for contemporary students to give them exposure to life outside of their daily experiences. These short-term programs have been criticized for providing only “tourism” and not any real depth of experience with local people and culture. This paper provides an overview of a short-term study abroad (10 day) paired with a service-learning project that lasted an entire semester and was embedded within a for-credit university course. The structure of the project is described as well as observed impact on student learning. Conclusions provide an argument that short-term study abroad, when paired with service-learning and critical reflection, can provide the type of transformative student experience desired by universities and enable a broader section of the student body opportunities for international experiences.  


Author Biography

Stacy C Moak, University of Alabama Birmingham

Stacy C. Moak is a Professor of Social Work in the Department of Social Work at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Dr. Moak holds a J.D. from Loyola University in New Orelans and  a PhD in Urban Studies from the University of New Orleans. She researches and publishes in the area of social justice, juvenile justice, family law, and neighborhoods.