The idea of “learning by doing” is something we can all get behind, especially if what we’re doing is something for the greater good. Service learning puts this idea into action by taking students out of the classroom and into the community. From working with local NGOs to teaching English in Cambodia, the service learning programmes at these four international schools help gear kids up for the real world. They teach them to be considerate global citizens and create memories that will last a lifetime.
UWC South East Asia (UWCSEA)
The transformative nature of serving others and the responsibility we have to one another and our planet are at the heart of the UWCSEA service learning programme. All students from K1 to Grade 12 participate in age-appropriate activities with plenty of time for self and group reflection, which means opportunities to learn through helping others abound.
“The idea that I can positively impact someone’s life is something that I will just never stop being excited about. When I was planning my gap year, I knew I wanted to spend time at the LaValla School in Takhmao, and I was so happy when I was able to spend six weeks there teaching English to children and assisting the teachers and kitchen staff. I loved being on the ground working in Cambodia, really living day-to-day with the staff and children at the school.”
– Samay Bansal
Samay graduated in 2016 and spent part of his gap year in Cambodia at an NGO he had been supporting through his final six years at UWCSEA.
East Campus, 1 Tampines Street 73 | 6305 5344
Dover Campus, 1207 Dover Road | 6775 5344
Singapore American School (SAS)
At SAS, service learning connects the core curriculum to community service, putting student learning into real-life situations. From Kindergarten to Grade 12, students are empowered to make a difference and become responsible citizens. Service learning at SAS focuses on building partnerships and contributing to the community with students identifying community needs then using academic topics to examine their local or global context.
“I had the opportunity to participate and be a leader in multiple service activities at SAS – as a member of the Executive Service Council, through my Interim Semester to South Africa, on the Wish for Kids trip to Cebu, and with my own service club, Friends of Genesis. Each one of these experiences presented a unique challenge to me: socially, emotionally, logistically, educationally and as a leader. The amazing support I received from my teachers and peers made overcoming these challenges a joy, as did the knowledge that I was able to make a difference in the communities around me. Watching service clubs share their accomplishments in front of the student body, putting the last coat of paint on that school building, dancing with little girls on the beach, and sharing a meal with students – these are the moments that will stay with me long after I have left SAS.”
– Ruth Jaensubhakij (Grade 12)
40 Woodlands Street 41
6360 6312 | sas.edu.sg
Stamford American International School
At Stamford, all students are required to take part in age-appropriate, grade level service activities alongside optional co-curricular activities. During the service learning cycle, students will investigate, plan, act and reflect; all of which are critical in developing leaders, thinkers and communicators who can empathise and understand the people and environments around them. This year, the activities being developed support the United Nation’s 17 sustainable development goals, a common discussion area in the taught curriculum. Students are encouraged to initiate their own activities and take full ownership of the process. This challenges them, but also builds upon their own personal interests and skills.
“In 2017, our Interact Club members participated in a variety of projects, such as a book sale, HDB refurbishment project and club performances. These projects improve the club members’ personal lives and develop personal integrity skills because the goal is to make a difference in the lives of those that we touch in our projects. I have learned that achieving what we have as a club will never be possible without hard work, collaboration and taking personal responsibility.”
– Farah Puspitari (Grade 10)
1 Woodleigh Lane
6653 7907 | sais.edu.sg
St Joseph’s Institution International School
“Enter to learn, leave to serve” is one of the guiding principles of St Joseph’s Institution International School. SJI International is partnered with about 40 organisations for student service projects and activities, and conducts over 20 service learning trips each year to countries within the region. Service learning activities may include mentoring children with special needs, delivering meals to the elderly, or building wells to supply water to villages in remote communities in Asia. Last year, students from SJI International helped to raise funds and build a village school in Cambodia. There are also weekly activities closer to home. For example, students take turns to teach arts and crafts, outdoor sports and gym activities to the differently-abled students at Mountbatten Vocational Home.
“We have been lucky enough to work with an excited group of students each week, growing closer and forging strong bonds with them each time we go. By doing a variety of arts and crafts, the students at Mountbatten were able to express themselves creatively as well as improve their motor skills. It was really heartwarming to see the smiles on their faces.”
– Katherine Taylor (age 15)
490 Thomson Road
6353 9383 | sji-international.com.sg
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