At Lakeside Middle School, Global Service Learning (GSL) takes the form of a cultural and service immersion experience in communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. All 8th graders participate in the program, which draws on the knowledge and skills they have gained in the classroom and outside of it.
At the beginning of the school year, 8th graders make a weeklong trip to one of six locations in the Pacific Northwest. Each of the six partner communities has a unique relationship between the environment, industry, and culture. Recent locations include the Quinault Reservation, the Elwha River watershed, Broetje Orchard and the Vista Hermosa community, the timber community of Vernonia, Oregon.
Trips are led by Lakeside faculty and staff and include service; connecting with local community members of all ages; group bonding and discussions with classmates; and structured reflection and journaling. No technology is allowed on the trips, giving students an opportunity to be fully present rather than distracted by online activities.
The trips provide an opportunity for students to pause and reflect on their lives, learn new skills, and test themselves in unexpected ways. After they return, students follow up with local service and academic activities related to the theme of their trip.
Learn more on the Middle School Global Service Learning page.
What made the classes in Costa Rica truly special were the opportunities we were given to take our learning out into our community. – Phillip M. '22
Lakeside Upper School’s Global Service Learning (GSL) program combines service learning with cultural immersion, inspiring and empowering students to be agents of change.
Students participating in GSL live for a month in rural areas of the developing or near-developing world. After a week of on-campus learning about the culture, language, and economic and environmental context of their country, students and adult trip leaders travel to communities where they live until the end of their trip. Recent locations include French Polynesia, Ecuador, China, Costa Rica, Tanzania, and Thailand.
Cultural immersion is a major aspect of the program. Each student lives with a homestay family and participates fully in regular family life. Students not only experience a new way of life in a community very different from their own, but also form meaningful friendships and a deep personal understanding of another culture.
Students work on big and small projects that are identified as high-need by the host community. By working on these projects – some of which span multiple years of GSL – students come to understand a community’s priorities, as well as contribute to projects that their host communities would not be able to complete without assistance.