Dissonance during International Service-Learning: “You can’t go back to the way you were before”

Diane Ceo-DiFrancesco, Leah Dunn, Maggie Truitt


This study investigated pre-occupational therapy students’ descriptions of dissonance during a two-week service-learning immersion program in Guatemala. Thirty-one students participated in student-led group reflections during two program iterations. Qualitative analysis of transcripts yielded three themes: context, experience, and outcome. The interconnectedness of all three themes illustrates the interdependence of intense international service-learning experiences, critical reflection, and transformation. Findings suggest the impact of international service-learning experiences on student development.


international service learning immersion, transformative learning, occupational therapy

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