FSD believes that everyone has the potential to make a difference in the world and in their communities. Students are a tremendous resource for positive change in the world (see here and here). That’s why since 1995 FSD has facilitated internships and group service trips that enable students and young adults passionate about global causes to engage with communities in an appropriate and effective way. At the heart of the experience is the principle of reciprocity—students and community members learning from each other and working together to improve the world we live in.
FSD’s programs give students the opportunity to apply the theory and skills they’ve learned in the classroom to real development challenges. The FSD internship program is intentionally designed to give students the opportunity to try out a career in international development in a structured and supportive context. Students participating in the FSD internship program work independently in a grassroots NGO but receive training and support from FSD staff on the ground. After co-developing and implementing a project with their host NGO, they come away with real world experience and practical skills sought after by employers and graduate schools.
Group service trips are an alternative that provide both theoretical understanding and practical experience in community-driven development as groups of 6 or more work together with local community members to complete a short-term, high-impact project within the community. These services trips are customized to blend student skills with community needs to create a more sustainable impact that typical drop-in volunteering programs. Group Service Trips can be customized for faculty-led programs and Alternative Breaks.
With the goal of helping each student contribute to his/her fullest potential, FSD’s programs are designed to strike the balance between providing the structure necessary to succeed with the independence to creatively problem solve. Students work on issues that matter deeply to them and the community while participating in trainings, personal reflection and cultural activities led by our local professional staff who have extensive experience in sustainable development.