By Christen Clougherty
When I begin a global service-learning project in my classroom there is usually one student who questions why we are working with an international community when there is so much need here at home. They usually call up the phrase, “think global, act local.” And yes, I believe firmly in acting locally. But we cannot solely focus on the local. We don’t live in a bubble, sealed off from the world. Our actions at home have grand impacts on the wider world. And it is our responsibility to be aware of this. I remind students that the phrase calls us to think global too. I ask them what they know about the country we are focusing on: about its history, its culture, its relationship with other nations. They shake their head and answer, “not much.” I share that we will learn a lot about another place far from here and we will find out the ways that we are similar, that we are different, and the ways in which we are connected. I warn them that they are likely to learn a lot about themselves in this process. Something that is especially helpful to know when you later work in your own community. With a questioning glance, they usually take their seat and we begin….
Image Credit: Imke Lass