Jeannie Kim-Han Blogs About Visit to Cambodia for Service Learning Institute
July 7, 2009
By Jeannie Kim-Han
The June 29-July 3 institute has finished. It was a great success with the 70 or so participants who participated all five days.
The team and I are completely drained. It has been an exhausting but extremely rewarding week.
Service learning now is a part of 14 institutions in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and the U.S. All 14 developed excellent plans to implement or strengthen their existing service learning programs. All the plans are different — as they should be, since each institution is at a different place in this work.
Amazing things occurred during this institute — people were moved and changed. Even the most skeptical administrators and faculty were moved by the service activities we did. They began to understand the potentially transformative power that thoughtfully planned and meaningful service tied to curriculum can have. They experienced it for themselves and they were moved and touched in ways that they described in their closing reflections as "inspirational, hopeful and motivational."
Someone once told me that this work is my "calling" in life. I have to say, I agree. This week was one of those incredible moments in one's life, where one gets to witness and be a part of transformations that happen right before one's eyes, and you're lucky enough to realize that it's taking place. I know that we made a difference in the lives of the participants and we've left an indelible mark on one another, creating an international bond that I hope will stand the test of time.
Jeannie Kim-Han is director of the Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Internships & Community Engagement. She was part of a Cal State Fullerton team that hosted a service learning institute at Paññāsāstra University in Cambodia.