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Previous research on service-learning in international contexts tends to focus on the benefits and outcomes for students and educational institutions. This essay is intended to provoke further examination of issues related to university-community engagement in global contexts, particularly in terms of the consequences for host communities. In order to explore complex issues surrounding international service-learning, the author offers a composite scenario in a series of snapshots gleaned from projects organized by U.S.-based organizations and universities in partnership with host country organizations and communities. Revealed are a variety of typical outcomes—intended and unintended, positive and negative—for students, faculty, organizations and their staff, and the communities that host visiting service-learning teams. A framework for analysis is offered along with recommendations for ways to mitigate potential unintended negative consequences of international service-learning.


Copyright 2013 Robbin Crabtree and University of Georgia

Publication Title

Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement

Published Citation

Crabtree, R. D. (2013). The Intended and Unintended Consequences of International Service-Learning. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 17(2), 43-66.

Peer Reviewed