Change Your Life in Four Semesters
Concordia University's MA in International Development and Service is offered in partnership with the International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership.
Students learn from theory and put into practice principles that create sustainable change grounded in servant leadership and social justice. Gain intercultural competency, international exposure, and a deeper understanding of what it means to be a global citizen leading in service.
The program combines rigorous academic study with hands-on volunteer service in the United States, Europe, and in an emerging economy, specifically: Concordia University-Portland, OR and Siena, ITALY, then choosing Chiang Mai, THAILAND, Quito & Galapagos Islands, ECUADOR, Guadalajara, MEXICO, or Kingston, JAMAICA. The program, begun in 1996, is an experiential, theory-to-practice, fully-accredited program that prepares students for careers in not-for-profit service agencies and non-government organizations (NGO's) with an international focus.
Students learn theory, apply learning through grassroots experience, gain leadership skills and capacities that international organizations need, and solve real problems in informed, responsible ways for communities in the U.S. and abroad. Graduates assume leadership roles in agencies serving the needs of diverse populations. And because graduates build an international, professional network during their program, they often have job offers before they graduate.
The program lasts four semesters. The first and last semesters are at Concordia University-Portland. The second semester is in Siena, ITALY, where students learn about NGOs from a European perspective, study intercultural communication, social issues, service delivery, and leadership. The third semester students choose an IPSL program location in an emerging economy (Thailand, Ecuador, Mexico, or Jamaica). Throughout the four semesters, students engage in substantive volunteer service, solving real-life problems by applying what they learn in the classroom.
Concordia University-Portland and IPSL partner with the International Center for Intercultural Exchange (Siena, Italy), Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Quito & Galapagos, Ecuador), Chiang Mai University (Chiang Mai, Thailand), Universidad AutÃ³noma de Guadalajara (Mexico), and the University of Technology (Kingston, Jamaica).
Housing: Private apartments in Portland. Homestays while abroad.
Service-Learning Opportunities: Study abroad organizations, at-risk youth centers, residential facilities for people with special needs, centers for elderly, international relief centers, refugee/resettlement agencies, schools, community-based clinics and hospitals, sustainable development organizations, conservation agencies, among others.
Learn Through Travel (typical IPSL academic excursions may include):
PORTLAND: Oregon Coast, Columbia River Gorge, Cascade Mountains, Seattle.
ITALY: Tuscany (visits to historic and cultural sites like Florence, San Gimignano, Pisa, and villages in and around Tuscany), longer-term stays in Rome and Torino, getting to know the cities historical and cultural sites, as well as spending time at organizations like SERMIG, L'Arsenale delle Pace and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
ECUADOR: Quito, Mitad del Mundo (Equator monument), Otavalo (largest indigenous market in Ecuador) and Cotopaxi Volcano, Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon jungle, Riobamba (Ecuadorian highlands), and extended visits to several of the Galapagos Islands.
JAMAICA: Kingston, Dunns River Falls, Negril, Croydon Plantation, South Coast River, Rum and Falls Tour, and historic tours in diverse parts of Jamaica.
MEXICO: Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque, Tequila plantations outside of Guadalajara, remote villages in the surrounding mountains, and a multi-day tour of the cultural and historical sites in and around Mexico City.
THAILAND: Guided excursions like visits to famous monasteries in the Chiang Mai area, hill tribe villages, and other sites of interest in the mountainous region of the north and along the Burmese border. Day-trips to nearby sites and overnight excursions to Bangkok and/or Sukhothai, the former capital, and to lowland and upland villages in Northern Thailand.