Students of Chinese Studies undertake a service-learning course of 12 credits during their year abroad in China. They contribute to a local Chinese societal organization (needs are articulated by the organization) and reflect upon their experiences on a academic, personal and societal level. The course requires about 160 hours of service and 160 hours of preparation, reading and reflection. Students are evaluated on their engagement with the organization(pass/fail) and on their reflection products (with grades).
After returning from China, there is a ‘debriefing’ or ‘celebration’ in which students share their experiences and lessons learned. Academic content focuses on intercultural interaction, Chinese versus western cultural patterns and deontology of area studies. Furthermore, students need to get acquainted with the theories concerning the social topics of their organization in China. Instruction is online through the learning platform and reflection is in (digital) writing. The ‘Deal model’ is used for reflection (Ash & Clayton).