Virginia Tech® home

Service Learning

What is the difference between service learning and volunteering?

Service learning is a blend of studying and volunteering at the same time where one compliments the others. It is designed to help you contribute to the community and involves a classroom learning component to learn more about an area of academic study, for which you receive credit. Due to the nature of service learning, participants are often considered skilled volunteers (i.e. a nursing student in a medical setting could assist in a way other volunteers cannot).

Volunteering is a philanthropic act where you offer to do something that is and is designed for the benefit of the recipients and community. Volunteerism does not involve a connection to a specific course. Education is often a side benefit of the experience, not a focus. Anyone can take part, and no specific skill set is required as such. 

Why choose service learning/volunteering?

  • You make a valuable contribution to help the world!
  • You gain hands-on experience
  • A quality experience can provide you with the same skills and knowledge as an internship
  • This will also make you more attractive to future employees
  • It’s typically less expensive than study abroad programs
  • It often introduce you more fully to a foreign language

Will I get credit?

  • You receive VT credit if going on VT Faculty-Led programs that incorporate a service-learning focus. VT Engage programs are co-curricular, so no credits are received. 
  • Whether you get credit for other programs depends on each college and their guidelines. Your first point of contact is your academic advisor Dean’s Office.

Virginia Tech Programs

Country Department/Unit Information
Dominican Republic VT Engage
Peru VT Engage

Non-VT Programs

Country Organization/Provider Information
Costa Rica; Honduras; Mexico
United Planet
Canada; Mexico Volunteers for Peace
Costa Rica; Dominican Republic ISA
Costa Rica; Guatemala
Cross-Cultural Solutions


United For Sight
Belize; Costa Rica; Mexico Projects Abroad
Costa Rica; Guatemala

API Study Abroad

Belize; Costa Rica; Cuba; Dominican Republic & Haiti; Jamaica; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama International Service Learning
Costa Rica; Mexico Global Vision International

Costa Rica; Guatemala; Mexico; Nicaragua

Experiential Learning International (ELI)

Costa Rica Global Routes
Costa Rica; Guatemala; Mexico
International Volunteer HQ
Belize; Costa Rica; Guatemala; Mexico
Go Eco
Costa Rica; Cuba, Guatemala; Mexico GlobeAware
Belize; Costa Rica; Guatemala; Honduras; Nicaragua A Broader View
Costa Rica; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico Love Volunteers
Country Organization/Provider Information
Cross-Cultural Solutions
Global Routes
Argentina; Brazil; Chile; Colombia; Ecuador; Peru
United Planet
Argentina; Bolivia; Ecuador; Galapagos Islands; Peru Projects Abroad
Chile, Peru
Argentina; Brazil; Chile; Ecuador API Study Abroad
Argentina; Chile; Ecuador
IES Abroad
Colombia; Peru
International Service Learning
Argentina; Brazil; Ecuador; Peru; Chile
Experiential Learning International (ELI)
Argentina; Brazil; Colombia; Ecuador; Peru
International Volunteer HQ
Argentina; Bolivia; Chile; Ecuador; Peru
Go Eco
Ecuador; Peru
Connect 123
Argentina; Chile; Colombia; Ecuador; Peru
A Broader View
Argentina; Bolivia; Brazil; Ecuador; Peru
Love Volunteers
Country Organization/Provider Information
India; Thailand
Cross-Cultural Solutions
China; India; Indonesia; Nepal; Philippines; South Korea
United Planet
Azerbajjan; Cambodia; China; Georgia; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Japan; Kyrgyzstan; Mongolia; Nepal; Philippines; Sri Lanka; Taiwan; Thailand; Vietnam
Volunteers for Peace
Cambodia; China; Myanmar; Mongolia; Nepal; Philippines; Sri Lankaa; Thailand; Vietnam Projects Abroad
Cambodia; Nepal
Unite for Sight
Cambodia Global Services Corps
API Study Abroad
International Service Learning
India; Laos; Nepal; Thailand Global Vision International
Bali; Cambodia; India; Nepal; Philippines; Vietnam
Experiential Learning International (ELI)
Bali, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam
International Volunteer HQ
Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines,  Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam Go Eco
Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam GlobeAware
China Connec t123
Cambodia, China, India, Nepal, Vietnam A Broader View
Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Thailand, the West Bank, Vietnam Love Volunteers
Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam Language Corps
Country Organization/Provider Information
Ghana; Morocco; Tanzania Cross-Cultural Solutions
South Africa AIFS
South Africa IES Abroad
Morocco; South Africa ISA
Botswana; Kenya; Morocco; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda Volunteers for Peace
Angola; Gambia; Ghana; Kenya; Mozambique; Niger; Rwanda; Senegal; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe Operations Crossroads
South Africa; Tanzania BUNAC
Ghana; Kenya; South Africa; Tanzania United Planet
Ghana Unite for Sight
Botswana; Ethiopia; Ghana; Kenya; Madagascar; Morocco; South Africa; Senegal; Tanzania; Togo Projects Abroad
Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo Projects Abroad
Global Service Corps
International Service Learning
Seychelles; South Africa Global Vision International
Benin; Ghana; Kenya; South Africa; Tanzania; Thailand; Uganda Experiential Learning International (ELI)
Ghana; Kenya; Madagascar; South Africa; Tanzania; Uganda; Victoria Falls; Zambia International Volunteer HQ
Ghana; Kenya; Madagascar; Malawi; Mozambique; Seychelles; South Africa; Swaziland; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe Go Eco
Ghana; South Africa GlobeAware
South Africa Connect 123
Cameroon; Ghana; Kenya; Rwanda; South Africa; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia A Broader View
Cameroon; Ghana; Kenya; Morocco; Rwanda; Senegal; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe Love Volunteers
Ghana Global Mamas
Angola, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe Operation Crossroads Africa
Country Organization/Provider Information
New Zealand United Planet
Fiji; Samoa Projeccts Abroad
Fiji Global Vision International
Fiji; New Zealand International Volunteer HQ
Australia; Fiji; New Zealand Go Eco
Australia; New Zealand Love Volunteers
Country Organization/Provider Information
Greece Cross-Cultural Solutions
Italy; Romania Projects Abroad
Ireland ISA www.studiesabroad.coom
Germany API Study Abroad
Albania; Armenia; Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Moldova; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russia; Serbia; Slovakia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; United Kingdom; Ukraine
Volunteers for Peace
Denmark; Finland; Iceland; Italy; Spain; Switzerland United Planet
Ireland; Italy; Spain; United Kingdom IES Abroad
Spain International Service Learning
Greece Global Vision International
France; Germany; Italy; Spain GeoVisions
Germany; Ireland; Polaand Experiential Learning International (ELI)
Italy; Portugal; Spain; Romania International Volunteer HQ
Croatia; Czech Republic; Greece; Iceland; Italy; Portugal; Spain Go Eco
Romania GlobeAware
Ireland; Spain Connect 123
Albania; Bosnia; Moldova; Ukraine Love Volunteers
Country Organization Information
Worldwide Wwoof

Do I need to notify the Global Education Office?

All students going abroad on for credit-programs must register with the Global Education Office.

If you are participating in a service learning program with VT Engage, your registration and support will be managed by VT Engage. 

If you are going on a non-credit program, you will register your travel in your My Study Abroad account, to ensure they are included in communications in the event of an international emergency while abroad and to allow for faster support from Virginia Tech in the event of a personal emergency. The following will be listed as requirements in your registration:

  • Global Travel Assessment: complete and submit by e-mail to
  • CISI insurance: Regardless of the insurance provided by the third-party provider, university-supported international travelers are required to enroll in Virginia Tech's international emergency medical insurance with CISI, even if it means having dual coverage. Experience has proven that in the case of an emergency, the participants are thankful for this additional coverage. 

If you are participating in a third party program and seek to opt out of the coverage offered through Virginia Tech, email to request a CISI Waiver Request form.

Note: If you do not complete the waiver form, your student account will be billed for the coverage. 

Submit completed form to the Global Education Office:

Global Education Office (room 131)

526 Prices Fork Road

Blacksburg, Virginia 24061

Ph: 540-231-5888