International Service Learning (ISL)
97% Rating
(29 Reviews)

International Service Learning (ISL)

International Service Learning (ISL) has been connecting volunteers with meaningful service projects and educational opportunities around the world for more than 20 years. ISL's staff are professionals in health care, travel, transpiration, translation, etc. The support ISL offers its volunteers is unmatched. ISL sends volunteers to universities to learn and communities to help underprivileged people in Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Haylie
Female

Peru- Machu Pichu

7/10

Overall the trip was a good experience, if we include recreational and tourist time. Strictly speaking about the missionary work, I am extremely disappointed. It was my first time traveling alone outside of the country and everything went smoothly for me, I felt safe at all times. However, there were a few things which I cannot ignore. For being a 12 day mission trip we really only had 3 days worth of clinic, or hands on time with patients. This was extremely disappointing to me as I really hoped to go to communities in need and serve them with all of my knowledge and donations we were able to. More over, OUR GROUP LEADER WAS RELATED TO THE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY IN WHICH WE SET UP OUR CLINIC, her father was our driver and he knew all of the people in the community. I asked one patient that came to our clinic what had brought her in- if she was having any pain, etc, she said no, she knew our group leaders father and he told her to come in. I felt lied to, like this was all a show, a set up for us, like none of it was real and I wasn't making a real impact in this community. I was so disappointed. At that point I realized there are some many other people in the world who have no access to care, and who could have better benefited from my time, efforts and especially money, rather than our group leader's fathers family putting on some sort of show for us. Granted it wasn't all of his family members coming into the clinic, but how suspicious, how can something like this be allowed? Also, the next few days we were scheduled to go to a local hospital is Maras. When we got there the doctor explained to our group leader it was the beginning of the month and they don't see patients, they only do paper work. The day before I saw our group leader make a phone call to this doctor to give him the heads up we were coming to the hospital, so there was no planning done in advanced. So after we got to the hospital with nothing to do, we ended up folding gauze for the nurses for the next few hours. At one point I thought to myself, did I really just travel all the way to Peru to fold gauze? What good is this possibly doing? So the next day they (our group leader translated from the doctor) promised we would be able to see patients, make house calls with the doctor, do injections, etc. Turns out September 2nd is "nurses day" in Peru, so there were no patients again. I really feel like this should have been planned out ahead of time. This could have been avoided, it was two whole days wasted, traveling two hours to this hospital and back, when we could have been doing more good in the community we set the clinic up in. Perhaps if our group leader called further ahead than one day we could have swapped the hospital and community clinic days and avoided this all together. Overall 12 days was WAY too long, being that we only saw patients three days. Something else that happened was, our Peru country organizer did not tell us there was limits on the luggage when traveling from Lima to Cusco. We had to transport our personal items as well as the donations we brought and the donations ISL made us transport. My fellow team members and I ended up having an extra bag due to donations and we had to pay this out of pocket. This too could have been avoided with communication. No where in the itinerary did it state needing to take Peruvian airlines or their luggage restrictions of one bag, especially if someone was coming from a flight where they could have two bags. I really wish I could have had a more profound affect on the surrounding communities, but I am leaving that to no fault of my own. I am grateful that I was exposed to the conditions and the healthcare system of Peru, it ignited my desire to become the best healthcare provider possible so that one day I can return to communities like the ones I saw in Peru and better treat them without the constraints and strings of ISL.

How can this program be improved?

More patient care time. Better planning. Better communication.

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Jakala
Female
4 months old
Charleston SC
University of South Carolina- Upstate

Awesome service experience

10/10

This was my first International trip and I lived every bit of the service given to the communities of Haiti and DR. Our team leader was very prepared and organized. She was so helpful and generous during our stay. The team I was with was perfect. We all came knowing no one, but worked together so well. I definitely look forward to working with International Service Learning again and experiencing a new culture.

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Tracey

DR and Haiti with ISL

8/10

ISL offers opportunities to serve and travel to 14 countries including the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It was great to combine the two countries of the one island and compare the two cultures. The country coordinator was great and the variety of activities was fun. The translators and staff were helpful but could have been better prepared. The two local doctors were great to work with and they were open to dialog, which is always helpful. The rest day activities were great with fabulous beaches. The children were absolutely adorable. It's a great trip to serve on!

How can this program be improved?

1. More staff to help with translations
2. Better orientation to include house visits, medical Spanish and clinic triage/pharmacy

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Sierra
Female
20 years old
Managua, Nicaragua
University of South Carolina

ISL in Managua

10/10

My overall experience was wonderful. I loved getting to help as much as I could in such a short amount of time. I feel like everything ran very smoothly and allowed for learning as well as volunteering and recreation. I think all of the ISL staff was extremely helpful! Everyone was so kind and willing to help in any way possible. The doctors that accompanied us were also wonderful as well! I would most definitely recommend this to other students interested in international healthcare and volunteer work.

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Carolyn
Female
34 years old
Bethany, West Virginia
Bethany College

Great Educational and Rewarding Experience

10/10

In January, I took five students to Puerto Penasco, Mexico for a Global Health Medical Service Learning Experience. This experience was educational and very rewarding for all that attended. While reviews of other programs (not ISL) said they spent more time vacationing than volunteering, this was not the case with ISL. While yes, we did have free time, the majority of our time was dedicated to service work as I had hoped for. The first two days, we spent learning how to take vital signs and learning the medical culture of Mexico. We spent three days walking the streets of Mexico performing in home visits, taking vitals and inviting people to our free clinic we held on the last two days. We also visited a phase one and phase two hospital, which was extremely educational, comparing the Mexico medical system to that of America. This was a great, eye-widening experience for all and I was very grateful to have this opportunity. The overall experience also helped remove fears and stereotypes of the Mexico society.

How can this program be improved?

Overall the experience was great. The only improvement would involve communication leading up to the trip. The information provided was vague and as a novice traveler, I did go in to the trip with many hesitancies. Once in Mexico, however, everything was great.

Program Listings

Costa Rica

International Service Learning (ISL)
Costa Rica is a beautiful country filled with tropical jungles and picture perfect beaches. Experience the vivid culture of C...

Colombia

International Service Learning (ISL)
The home of breathtaking scenery and exquisite coffee, Colombia provides volunteers with a chance to medically serve local co...

Belize

International Service Learning (ISL)
Join the International Service Learning (ISL) program in Belize! Influences of Spanish, Mayan and British cultures can be fel...

Mexico

International Service Learning (ISL)
ISL’s Baja Mexico program is an on-going humanitarian project that takes place in Puerto Peñasco, situated along the beautifu...

Peru

International Service Learning (ISL)
Here you will find beautiful beaches, extravagant mountain ranges, bustling towns and cities, and of course, the Amazon basin...

Nicaragua

International Service Learning (ISL)
Experience the remarkable scenery filled with everything from tropical jungles to volcanoes while also providing medical serv...

Panama

International Service Learning (ISL)
Panama is a place of incredible geographic diversity! The vast rainforests are home to some of the world's most exotic wildli...

Haiti

International Service Learning (ISL)
The Dominican Republic is a place of both extreme beauty and extreme need. This area is rich with culture and cuisine, and it...

Costa Rica

International Service Learning (ISL)
International Service Learning is excited to offer two internship opportunities in Costa Rica! Both are based in geriatric ca...

Tanzania

International Service Learning (ISL)
We have several internship opportunities in Tanzania, and whether you're interested in Health, Hospitality, or Education, the...

Nicaragua

International Service Learning (ISL)
Our internship opportunities in Nicaragua are our most diverse, ranging from various health-related opportunities, such as wo...

Belize

International Service Learning (ISL)
Partnering with the Belizean Ministry of Health, the intern will work to provide dental services to outlying communities arou...

Jamaica

International Service Learning (ISL)
Jamaica is well known for its amazing beaches, blue waters of the Caribbean, waterfalls and live music! What isn't commonly k...

Tanzania

International Service Learning (ISL)
Tanzania is a nature lover's dream come true. The land is filled with geographical gems and covered with wildlife that can be...