International Volunteer and Community Service Program
Courses Volunteerism I and Volunteerism II organized by Montana State University (Dra. Bridget Kevane) and Letra Hispanica (Ada Calvo), have been awarded the "Excellence in Service Learning" by MSU.
Letra Hispánica and Montana State University offer you another way to see Spain:
- Because you don’t want to be just another student and just another tourist.
- Because you want to integrate into the community.
- You can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, un derstand them and give unselfishly of your time.
- Because you believe that it is important and worth while that the world changes for the better.
- You are interested in other people’s problems: families with no means, immigrants, ethnic minorities, the elderly who are alone.
- Because you also believe that all of this will enrich you and make you a better person.
Volunteerism Academic Program
The Volunteerism course evolved through the part- nership between Montana State University and Letra Hispánica in Salamanca, Spain. It is a unique program that fosters good will and understanding not only between the individual students and their host community, but also between the communities of Bozeman, Montana and Salamanca, Spain. As of this date, some 25 MSU students have participated in the course since its inauguration. The course seeks to integrate MSU students into the Salamancan community through volunteer service activities with several local nonprofit organizations. This experience not only provides students with personal gratification and growth, but increased social and linguistic immersion during their time in the host community.
Objectives of the course are:
- To provide students with a deeper knowledge and understanding of the realities of modern Spanish society through volunteer activities with disadvantaged social groups.
- Work with marginalized individuals and social groups, helping them to overcome the problems and challenges of their marginalization.
- Provide an outlet for the values of community and altruism that lead students to this course in the first place.
The course consists of three compo- nents:
The practice itself, which consists of the intervention by the student in volunteer activities that effect disadvantaged sectors of Spanish society, (immigrant community, the elderly, ethnic minorities, children and young adults, the disabled, medical emergencies etc.) The work takes place within various local NGOs such as The Red Cross, Solidaridad Internacional, Cáritas, Cauces etc. Students receive full training once placed with the NGO, which will continue throughout the placement.
There is a theoretical aspect to the course consisting in commentary and discussion in class on the conceptual, historical and legislative aspects of volunteering.
There are visits to institutions involved with social services and where volunteer programs are devel- oped.
Where possible, students are placed within their pre- ferred social sector.
Students initiate the volunteer activities once they have reached a certain level of conversational Spanish and become familiar with the city. Both are usu- ally achieved within one month of arrival.
The commentary and discussion sessions last 55 minutes. Before class, the students supply a written agenda of topics for discussion. A report of the class can be purchased in the ‘Signo’ copy shop.
The course lasts either one or two semesters:
One semester = 2 credits.
Two semesters = 4 credits.
Students are evaluated based on three factors, which will be reflected in their final grade:
- Attendance and satisfactory completion of volun- tary activity: 50% of the final grade.
- Written report of a “Work Diary” with a minimum of 2 pages A4 (for One Semester students) or 5 pages A4 (for Two Semester students.): 30% of final grade.
- Attendance and participation in the discussion ses- sions: 20% of final grade.
1. DEFINITION OF VOLUNTEERING.
- Definition of Volunteering: Four ideas.
- Volunteer statement.
2. THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL WELFARE.
- The Welfare State.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- The Crisis of the Welfare State.
3. BASIC SOCIAL SERVICES.
- Home Help.
- Intervention and professional support.
- Financial Aid.
4. SPECIFIC SOCIAL SERVICES SECTORS.
- Children and Youth. Protection of Minors.
- Concepts: Homelessness. Automatic guardian- ship, custody, foster care, adoption. “El Niño del Royo:” an example.
- Immigration in Spain.
- Joaquín Sabina: “The House through the window.”
- Ethnic minorities: Gypsies.
- Women: Gender discrimination.
- The Nevenka Fernandez case.
- Young girls: Their education and develop- ment.
- Homeless and non-residents.