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  • Writer's pictureJACOB LUSTIG

Antigua teaching and service project back in full swing

Students who participated in the January 2020 trip at the airport. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Hartmann.

Lasell University’s Shoulder to Shoulder Service Learning Program in Antigua has returned following a hiatus due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is returning with leadership from Professors Elizabeth Hartmann and Amy Maynard of Lasell’s education department and assistance from Maria Adkins, Director of International Services and study abroad here at Lasell.

Since the last trip of the project in January of 2020, the program has not been back to Antigua. As of this May, a group of students will be traveling down for ten days of service and teaching in the country where they will get to work with students of multiple ages and gain valuable insight on instruction and collaboration in the classroom on an international level.

Some goals of the program are to allow the students to utilize the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in their instruction, collaborating with the partnered program before, during and after the trip takes place, and working with students with and without additional needs that must be met. The students also get the opportunity to donate supplies to the children of the schools they are volunteering at.

[Previous participants] discussed how they were able to connect, teach and support students with and without disabilities across cultures and learned so much from their experiences.” Adkins shared.

On the trip, students get the opportunity to teach in the classroom but also get the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture and beauty of Antigua. Other activities that students on previous trips got to go on trips to the beach, enjoy shopping in the area, and even go on a cultural outing to a pottery studio in 2020.

Though the trip is occurring in May of 2024, future trips will be happening during the Winter Break in between the fall and spring semesters. Adkins discussed the temporary change in timing “In the past, this course ran every fall semester, and the trip itself was planned during the winter break. We had hoped to run it in the fall of 2023, but it takes a lot of work to restart a program after it had been temporarily suspended for a few years due to the pandemic. So although we did not get it off and running last fall, we decided to run it this spring.  In the future, it will be a fall course followed by a winter trip.” 

Hartmann also added, “You do not need to be an education major [to participate], but you do need to be willing to teach and learn from teaching.”

The application for the Fall 2024 trip to Antigua is open until April 12th and they are still looking for students to apply. The application is available on the Study Abroad website under the ‘International Service Learning Programs’ tab.

The project will continue to be open to any students and they encourage anyone to apply to be a part of the trip to Antigua. Hartmann mentioned, “We [will] look for students who are interested in culture and education.”


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