Student Benefits Following an International High-Impact Practice Service-Learning Experience


  • Joanne Christaldi-Sullivan West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  • Jessica Rae Bodzio Marywood University


The use of high-impact practices (HIPs) in education has been shown to increase rates of student retention, engagement, and learning. The purpose of this survey research was to examine students' perspectives of international service-learning experiences and their readiness for interprofessional learning. Students from two Universities (N=56) traveled to either Guatemala or Honduras for a one-week, service-learning experience and completed three questionnaires: Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Scale (RIPLS), International Service Learning (ISL) Evaluation Survey, and Health Professions Schools in Service to the Nation (HPSISN) Service Learning Survey. Total RIPLS score was positively correlated to total ISL score (r=0.47, p<0.001). HPSISN sub scores ‘perspective about service-learning’ and the ‘influence of service-learning on future work’ were positively correlated (r=0.31, p=0.02), as were ‘future work’ and ‘attitude toward community involvement’ (r=0.40, p=0.002). Three themes emerged from the qualitative survey questions: students 1) were changed by the experience, 2) gained a stronger cultural awareness, and 3) overwhelmingly described the experience positively and want to continue service work. Students who participate in international, service-learning experiences are open and accepting of interprofessional learning, value hands-on learning, report enhanced cultural awareness, and experience personal growth.