Service Learning with Honors ENG 102 in Nicaragua (Spring, 2018)


Throughout the spring semester, Harper College Honors ENG 102 students have read about the history of Central America’s largest country and its contentious relationship with the United States. Two guest lectures fleshed out students’ understanding of Nicaragua and the region: Prof. Karen Patterson (Art) gave a presentation on American documentary photographer Susan Meiselas’s visual chronicle of the Sandinista Revolution, and Prof. David Richmond (History) led the students through the convoluted history of Nicaragua and the impacts of U.S. “interventions” over the last 150 years.

The central focus of the course has been to interrogate the concept and practice of “service learning,” both domestically and internationally. All of the readings and assignments analyze examples of service learning along a scale from “charity” to “social justice.” Over spring break 2018, the group traveled to a rural community outside Managua, Nicaragua and put our theoretical knowledge to the test of hands-on practice. Facilitated by Unearth the World, we spent 10 days with La Mariposa Eco-hotel and Spanish School in San Juan de la Concepción.

The following blog entries represent the students’ responses to those experiences, often through the lenses of our class texts:

Stoeker, Randy. Liberating Service Learning and the Rest of Higher Education Civic Engagement. Temple University Press, 2016.

Green, Patrick M. and Mathew Johnson, eds. Crossing Boundaries: Tension and Transformation in International Service-Learning. Stylus Publishing, 2014.

Walker, Thomas W. and Christine J. Wade. Nicaragua: Living in the Shadow of the Eagle. Fifth Edition. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2011.

Their final projects include a research assignment on the efficacy of service learning and an ArcGIS Story Map Journal.  Links to the students’ Story Map Journals will be provided once they are complete.



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