Academic Credit: Heighten Your Experience

Earn Academic Credit With GIVE

This is not your average college course.

Step out of the classroom and into the world for credit. Earn academic credit for taking action around the globe by adding our academic credit add-on to your trip. Immerse yourself in a unique volunteer experience for academic credit outside the classroom that will only enhance your experience.

Earn academic credit to heighten your experience, deepen your learning,

and transform your world view.

“I found that participating in the academic credit add-on created a deeper relationship between the experience and myself. Overall I felt more involved, engaged, and connected to what I was doing.”

Corrine Pruett, Tanzania Volunteer

What is GIVE’s academic credit add-on?

GIVE’s academic credit add-on is an international sustainable development course that enhances the first-hand learning that naturally occurs during your GIVE trip. The course aligns seamlessly with your GIVE trip, allowing you to participate on our normal trip itinerary and not deviate from the group.

Earning academic credit provides opportunities for global experiential learning that applies to a wide variety of majors and disciplines. You will apply critical thinking skills, field observations, and reflective processing to explore and reveal the contextual impacts and opportunities associated with your international sustainable development projects.

You’ll learn about the three pillars of sustainability (economic, environmental and social) and be challenged to reflect on your ability to change the world through a combination of experiential learning, dialogue circles, self-reflection, and traditional education. This course optimizes cultural immersion, expands your perspectives on sustainable development and enriches personal growth. It’s challenging intellectually, physically, and emotionally and will heighten your experience.

How Does academic credit Work?

Through a combination of pre-trip online assignments, discussion groups on the ground, and a meaningful post-trip final project, learn immersed in culture on your GIVE journey and walk away with a deep understanding of your experience and leadership skills that’ll set you apart! Academic credit spots are limited, so make your deposit to reserve your space!


Get the knowledge to connect and engage with the locals! Complete pre-trip projects on an online platform before your trip.

On The Ground

Engage in dialogue circles to explore and challenge beliefs on the trip. Journal about your experience and impact.

Post Trip

Synthesize your trip into a final project, such as a multimedia presentation, video, or paper to share and inspire others.

What’s Next

Stand out from the crowd with your leadership skills and resume! Join a network of sustainable development experts.

Course Syllabi

Learning opportunities are embedded in activities throughout the excursion’s itinerary and enhanced through methods typically associated with service-learning: cross-cultural engagement, field notes, dialogue circles with your fellow volunteers, reflective journaling, and an analysis of how the experience will be integrated into the students’ personal, academic, and professional aspirations. To view the syllabus for each country, click the images below.

Academic Credit FAQ’s

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 the learning and enrich personal growth. The course is challenging intellectually, physically, and emotionally. Students engage in hands-on experiential learning side-by- side with community members to address complex issues and deliver sustainable solutions.

Course Format

UNIV 304 is a 5 quarter-credit hybrid course offered to complement GIVE’s May through August excursions to Nicaragua, Tanzania and Thailand. Online modules are delivered through CANVAS with an international immersion component added in-country.

Pre-Trip (Online): Prepare for and enhance your trip by understanding the local community you will live in as well as gain a firm understanding of sustainable development techniques before you even leave! The online course will start one week prior to your trip departure date.

In-Country: The international coursework during your excursion consists of a daily journal and interactive dialogue circles to process your day’s activities and reflect on discoveries. Students engage in hands-on experiential learning side-by-side with community members and fellow volunteers to address complex issues and deliver sustainable solutions. Together the students, instructor, guides, and local community members co-generate learning.

Post-Trip Project (Online): Create a portfolio that synthesizes your trip’s experiences, issues, impacts and insights. Submit your project online one week after you return home.

Course Description

UNIV 304. International Sustainable Development (5 Quarter Credits): Students will apply critical thinking skills, field observations, and reflective processing to explore and reveal the contextual impacts and opportunities associated with international sustainable development projects. Through cultural immersion and experiential learning in an international setting, students engage in applied activities designed to broaden international perspectives while providing opportunities for personal and professional growth. Hybrid course: 2 week experiential learning session in international setting and pre and post online assignments. Note: if your university is on semesters, your university will convert credit hours to semesters in the transfer process.

Course Design

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.

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
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
Students shall keep a double entry field 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
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.

Where can I find the course syllabus?

You can find the course syllabus and course information here!

How much does the course cost?

UNIV:304 is an additional fee of $1,200.00. To reserve your space, log into your Volunteer Profile and put down either a $200 deposit or pay the $1,200 in full. For more information about the course, click here. The course will add a whole new dimension to your excursion!

I have questions about the course, who do I contact?

Questions about registration, credit transfer, and financial aid:
Stephanie Hincliff
Central Washington University
Phone: (509) 963-1835

Questions about the volunteer experience abroad:
GIVE Volunteers
Phone: 206.973.7991

How do I register for the course?

After you’ve been accepted to volunteer, it’s simple! To reserve your space on the course, log into your Volunteer Profile and put down either a $200 deposit or pay the $1,200 in full. For more information about the course, the syllabus, and more, click here. The course will add a whole new dimension to your excursion!

Note that you must be confirmed on a GIVE trip to take the course. If you haven’t applied for the GIVE excursions, click here!

*GIVE’s Academic Credit add-on is only offered in certain locations/seasons

“It’s a unique opportunity. I’ve never seen anything like it, in fact, where by design, the students are engaging in their interests at the same time doing good and getting credit for it… all the while in some of the most beautiful landscapes imaginable.”

Ken Cohen, Ph.D FCS/Recreation and Sustainable Tourism.

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