Solidarity or Neo-Colonialism? The Challenges of Understanding the Impact of ISL on Nicaraguan Host Communities
Michael O’Sullivan and Harry Smaller
International service learning programs (ISL) provide a unique learning opportunity for students from the global North, and have been subject to considerable research. However, as noted in the introduction to this volume, while much time has been spent evaluating the effects of these programs on the participating students, less attention has been paid to the effects of these programs on the communities where they take place. Our ongoing research work has been undertaken to help address this gap. This chapter discusses the findings of a pilot investigation of the impact of Canadian ISL programs conducted in Nicaragua in early 2013.1
In this chapter, we present our methodology and then a description and analysis of the findings from this pilot study. Finally, based on these findings, we explore the extent to which these findings might inform discussion about concepts such as neo-colonialism, dependency, charity, and solidarity.