All ACIS tours connect participants with the societies they visit. ACIS Service Learning tours push this ideology one step further, and provide participants the opportunity to actively contribute to the local community in a significant way. The goal of each project is to educate and engage participants while at the same time help a community that needs it.
Depending on their school’s specific policies, students may use ACIS service work to satisfy community service requirements. All participants receive a certificate of completion for participating in an ACIS Service Learning project.
ACIS offers 12 service projects in China, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru. We’ve found that teachers who are interested in leading service learning tours generally want to customize their program to best suit their group. We make that easy, simply:
Volunteer at a Beijing school for disadvantaged youth. During your visit you will share laughs and stories. You’ll break up the students’ routine and provide an experience they look forward to and enjoy. You will also develop an understanding of their daily lives, studies and challenges, and have the opportunity to contrast what you learn and experience with your own lifestyle and school system back home.
Volunteer at a school for less fortunate urban students. Meet the children and learn about the hardships they have endured. Compare and share details of your daily customs and activities. Many groups bring along school supplies or gifts to distribute to the children.
Work with community members and plant native trees to help with Xi’an’s reforestation efforts. Project staff will not only teach students how to perform the service, they will also explain the importance of reforestation to maintaining a sustainable ecosystem.
Assist the staff at the Bifengxia Valley Giant Panda Research Base with the conservation and protection of this endangered species. During a volunteer orientation, learn about the pandas, how to care for them and what your work at the Research Base will entail. Activities vary based on what is needed, but may include cleaning the habitats, assisting with the garden, preparing food, feeding the pandas or assisting the Research Base scientists with data collection.
Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center’s focus on both community development and ecological projects means your student volunteers will get the most out of their experience—including the chance to form friendships with other students. Begin with community-minded projects such as painting or grounds upkeep at local schools, followed by contributions to the local ecosystem and agriculture during reforestation work on area farms.
Connect with the local community during a homestay in El Roble, a rural town with a population of about 500, as you help improve its public resources during a service project. Projects will vary based on need, but may include working on a farm and cooking for a local family, painting school fences, and cleaning and painting the community center.
Students have the opportunity to participate first-hand in the important conservation efforts undertaken by La Marina Wildlife Rescue Center Foundation in Aguas Zarcas. Through projects such as feeding the animals, collecting data or building new enclosures, you’ll learn about Costa Rica’s diverse and threatened animal population and help to rehabilitate the sick and injured creatures that are relying on the sanctuary for survival.
Participate in an important coastal-marine conservation effort as you work collaboratively with your group to promote the nesting and hatching of leatherback sea turtles. Whether building hatcheries, removing debris from the nesting sites or collecting valuable data, you’ll be treated to a unique and insider look at the turtles’ ecosystem and life-cycle. Please note that as work will be done during the daytime, we are regrettably unable to guarantee sea turtle sightings during the tour.
Help save the Dominican Republic’s coral reefs and ocean ecosystem. Students will be based in Las Galeras and work with Reef Check Foundation. Founded in 1996 by marine biologist Dr. Gregor Hodgson, Reef Check Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of tropical coral reefs. After three days of Healthy Reef Protocol coursework that involves both classroom study and field work accomplished through snorkeling, students will be ready to serve. During the subsequent three days they will collect data from the reefs that will be studied to ensure the reef’s continued health.
Live with a local family in rural Rio Grande Abajo, a small community that relies on an agriculturally-based economy. Students will work on projects that are run in cooperation with the Peace Corps to fulfill community needs. One large project is building stoves. Other projects include work to enhance local, sustainable development such as composting and recycling. For groups that have the skills, larger construction projects are also available. Groups are encouraged to donate Spanish books and technical equipment to the community’s new library and computer lab.
During this service project your group will work at one of two potential animal rescue facilities, based on their current needs. The Monkey Sanctuary is dedicated to the conservation and rehabilitation of rescued primates. Students will care for the animals, maintain the center or construct new enclosures. The Amazon Animal Rescue Centre works in partnership with the Ecuadorian Environmental Police and the Ministry of Environment in the fight against the trafficking and abuse of wild animals. Here, students will care for animals, pick and prepare their food or build enclosures.
Because at such high altitudes very few crops grow, students will work with the community to build a greenhouse that cultivates fruits and vegetables. Greenhouses contribute to the ambitious initiative of combating malnutrition and advancing food sovereignty in the Andean region of Peru.