Frequently Asked Questions: Academic Course
Learn more about our Academic Credit Add-On below or from Central Washington University's website here.
- I have questions about the course. Who should I contact?
- Questions about registration, credit transfer, and financial aid:
Stephanie Hinchliff Central Washington University Phone: (509) 963-1835 Email: hinchliffS1@cwu.eduQuestions about the trip and volunteer experience abroad: GIVE Volunteers Phone: 206.973.7991 Email: email@example.comGeneral information about Central Washington University can be found at www.cwu.edu
- Why should I take this course?
- UNIV 304 does not take away from your GIVE trip, it actually enhances it! You will have an understanding about the local community you will live in and a firm grasp on sustainable development techniques before you even leave on your GIVE trip. On the ground you will discuss your impact, why you are there and what you can do in the future to make a difference. This course will look incredible on your resume and will provide you with leadership skills that will put you ahead of your peers. Past volunteers who have taken the course have stated that they loved learning by doing, not by sitting in a classroom.
- What is the program overview?
- Central Washington University in partnership with GIVE Excursions provides credit-bearing academic opportunities for students, from a variety of disciplines, in an international setting that optimizes cultural immersion to deepen learning and enrich personal growth. The course is challenging intellectually, physically, and emotionally. The pre and post-trip projects are completed on an online platform. The coursework on the ground consists of a daily journal and interactive dialogue circles. Students engage in hands-on experiential learning side-by- side with community members to address complex issues and deliver sustainable solutions. The academic course does not take away from the GIVE volunteer or adventure activities, it actually enhances the experience!
- What is the course description?
- UNIV 304. International Sustainable Development: Students will apply critical thinking skills, field observations, and reflective processing to explore and reveal the impacts and opportunities associated with international sustainable development projects. Through cultural immersion and experiential learning in an international setting, students engage in dialogue circles designed to broaden international perspectives while providing opportunities for personal and professional growth. It is a hybrid course: 2 weeks of experiential learning in an international setting along with pre and post online assignments.
- How is the course designed?
- UNIV 304 is based on a transformative service-learning pedagogy that delivers a precise sequence of activities (contextual border crossing, dissonance, personalizing, processing, reflection, and integration). The design is generated to elevate the students’ experience to transcend their self-referential experience into a shared experience with the destination communities that compels a greater understanding of the students’ role as a member of a global community. Learning opportunities are embedded throughout the program’s itinerary and enriched through activities typically associated with service-learning: cross-cultural engagement, field notes, dialogue, reflective journaling, and a cumulative analysis of how the experience will be integrated into the students’ personal, academic, and professional aspirations. Sample learning opportunities and projects include: living in the host community, collaborating with local community members to design and construct community infrastructure (examples include a technical school in Nicaragua built from recycled plastic bottles and a fresh water delivery system for the village of Cairo, Zanzibar). Tours and projects include visiting a mangrove sanctuary and doing a hands-on planting project, measuring and releasing endangered sea turtles, exploring the economic and cultural complexities associated with poaching prior to participating in a safari, assisting a women’s art cooperative, and developing and delivering an after-school English education program for elementary school children. All projects are part of a long-term strategic approach to community-based economic development.
- Is there a course evaluation?
- The course has four components, each worth 25% of the total available points for the course. Details for each of the assignments below will be provided via the syllabus once the student is enrolled in the course. 1. Pre-departure on-line assignment        a. Students are provided with sources to navigate and discover information pertaining to the cultural, political, economic, and environmental dimensions of their destination country and community. Students may select from a variety of prompts and resources that reflect their interests and academic field of study.        b. Self-assessment to consider how the information retrieved relates to their cultural awareness of the destination community and how it influences their expectations in light of their own cultural context. 2. Participation        a. Experiential learning requires a commitment to fully and positively participate in all programs, projects and activities. Participation will be evaluated by the on-site GIVE lead guides. 3. Reflective Journal        a. Students shall keep a double entry journal noting key observations and their interpretation of those observations. These notes will be shared as part of regularly scheduled group dialogues. The notes and group discussions will enhance the students’ ability to process and reflect on their experience. Each student will generate a reflective journal. Reflection is a critical dimension of experiential learning. Exemplar quotes from the journal will be shared with the instructor. 4. Final Project        a. The culminating project synthesizes the assignments above into a presentation that communicates the students’ experience and its present and anticipated future impact on their development personally, academically, and professionally. The students may select from a variety of mediums (video, annotated PowerPoint, paper) to convey their findings.
- How many credits will I receive?
- International Sustainable Development (UNIV 304) is offered for 5-credits (quarter system). If your university is on a semester system, then your university will convert the quarter credits into semester credits in the credit transfer process. Generally, five (5) quarter credits convert to three (3) semester credits at most colleges and universities on semester systems.
- How do I register for UNIV 304: International Sustainable Development course?
- Add on the course to your trip in your volunteer profile with a $200 deposit. The registration and final payment deadline is May 15th, 2015. You must be reserved on a GIVE trip before you can purchase the course. If you have not yet applied to be a GIVE volunteer, please submit your application online.
- Can I take the course without going on a GIVE excursion?
- No, the course is designed for the GIVE excursion. The course and GIVE excursion compliment each other to provide a full, comprehensive, and meaningful experience.
- Is the course offered for both January - February and May - August excursions?
- No, the course is not currently offered for both of our seasons. The course is offered for our May - August excursions and the course will begin prior to departure.
- How is the course structured?
- The Sustainability course is a hybrid course that combines online learning (pre-trip and post-trip assignments) and experiential learning (on the ground) that emphasizes direct engagement and reflection on GIVE program activities. A full course outline with topics, expectations and assessment metrics is provided via the syllabus once students have registered for the course.
- Will the credits transfer to my college or university?
- Generally, yes. Central Washington University (CWU), which is offering the course in partnership with GIVE, is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and recognized by the United States department of education as a fully accredited university. There is reciprocity among most regionally accredited universities in the United States for acceptance of each other’s course credits. Specifically however, it will depend on how you are hoping to have your course applied at your university. Options include 1) as an elective, 2) as a major or minor requirement), or 3) fulfilling a cultural or study abroad requirement. This is where your college’s and department’s policies come into play. Your academic advisor and/or degree program faculty will make the decision on a case-by-case basis how the credit can be applied to your program of study. We strongly suggest you meet and review this course with your advisor/faculty before you enroll and pay your deposit. If you pay your deposit prior to speaking with your advisor and they do not allow the credits to transfer contact the GIVE office (206) 973-7991 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org For your assistance, please click on the following link for steps on how to speak to your advisor and steps on how to transfer the credits to your college/university: Credit Transfer Process
- How do I transfer the credits?
- You can follow our Credit Transfer Process with step by step instructions on how to transfer UNIV 304 to your college or University!
- How much does the course cost?
- The International Sustainable Development (UNIV 304) course costs a total flat fee of $1,200.00 USD, which is paid to GIVE Volunteers via your volunteer profile. There is a $200 deposit that will hold your spot; the final payment deadline is May 15th, 2015. Note: this is only the course fee; costs associated with the GIVE volunteer experience abroad, travel, and other related costs are not included in this flat fee. . The academic course fee is comparable to many other universities’ fee per-credit-hour. As a college student, you already pay for credits at your own university and with UNIV 304 you are simply transferring the credits from Central Washington University, not paying for extra credits. You are paying the same $1200 to take a course, sitting in a classroom at your university, as you would take UNIV 304 on your GIVE trip abroad!
- What are the course dates? When does it begin and end?
- The online course will start one week prior to your GIVE excursion departure date and finish one week after your excursion end date. If you are doing an excursion add-on the course will finish one week after your arrival home.
- Is there a course registration and payment deadline for summer trips?
- The deadline for course registration and payment is in mid-May. This is a single Summer deadline for all volunteers on May - August excursions, regardless of the excursion destination or departure date. Note that your official course registration, deposit, and payment is through GIVE on your volunteer profile.
- What if I miss the registration and payment deadline?
- If you miss the deadline, contact Stephanie Hinchliff at Central Washington University:
Phone: (509) 963-1835 Email: hinchliffS1@cwu.edu
- Will I get a refund?
- The $200 initial deposit to GIVE is non-refundable. If the university has to cancel the course for any reason then your paid deposit and balance will be refunded in full. If you paid your deposit and your advisor informs you that the credits will not transfer to your university your deposit will be refunded prior to the final payment deadline. Except for emergency medical situations (written documentation required), the total course fee is non-refundable.
- Can the course be repeated for additional credit?
- Currently, no. But based on the success of the educational component, additional courses maybe added in the future to address more specific and related topical areas. Your feedback will be essential to helping define those needs.
- How do I get a graded transcript sent to my college or university?
- Please contact the CWU registrar at www.cwu.edu/registrar to complete a transcript request. There will be a small fee for sending an official transcript to your college or university.
- Is financial aid available?
- There are different types of financial aid. Contact your university financial aid department or your financial aid provider to check the applicability of your aid to pay for this course. If your financial aid does not cover the course you can fundraise to pay the course fee!
- Is the course offered in all locations: Tanzania, Nicaragua, Thailand, or Laos?
- UNIV304 is offered for Tanzania, Nicaragua, and Thailand during the May - August trip dates. The course is not yet offered for our Laos Program.
- I am graduating this year, can I still take the course?
- Yes! We encourage all volunteers to take the course, even if it will not fulfill any credit requirements. The course will be a great addition to your resume. Employers look for people with international experience and it will put you ahead in the job market. You will develop strong leadership skills and the academic course experience develops skills relevant to every avenue of professional and personal life.
- I already pay for courses at my university, why would I pay for GIVE’s course?
- The academic course fee is comparable to many other universities’ fee per-credit-hour. As a college student, you already pay for credits at your own university and with UNIV 304 you are simply transferring the credits from Central Washington University, not paying for extra credits. You are paying the same $1200 to take a course, sitting in a classroom at your university, as you would take UNIV 304 on your GIVE trip abroad!
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