"Saving the World" - Alternative Spring Break 2019

What’s our role in international service & aid? "Voluntourism" got you feeling some type of way?  How does the U.S. engage with foreign aid? How can we understand what’s ‘OK’ and what’s not? Explore these questions and much more through an Alternative Spring Break:

Exploring the Ethics of International Service & Aid

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Trip Description: 

Our society shines light on public service -- the selfless giving of time, money, labor, or support to a cause has become a hallmark of good citizenship. Many consider it a duty of the privileged to ‘give back’ through philanthropy or volunteering efforts. What obligations do we and the institutions we partake in have as Americans, wealthy global citizens, or elite university-educated students, to the international community? The intent of this Alternative Spring Break is to explore this question. Our winter quarter course further aims to explore how we navigate international service given our unique identities through issues such as ‘voluntourism’ and the political and social nuances of international aid. We will learn about and question the channels through which the U.S. and its people influence others abroad; explore our identities and how they affect our relationship with international aid, service, and advocacy; think about how our unique identities and experiences shape our engagements in foreign service and how we can be more thoughtful about those that differ from ours; and develop familiarity with a wide range of issues related to international aid, learn to appreciate the complexity of these issues, and understand various perspectives associated with these issues. 

During our spring break trip, we will visit various organizations that influence international development, such as nonprofits, the private sector, governmental agencies, and academic institutions. Students do not need to have any kind of particular knowledge or experience with international aid or service in order to partake in the class and the trip.



Please feel free to contact Ashley Song (songav@stanford.edu) or Michelle Howard (mmhoward@stanford.edu) with any questions!