Publication Date

Summer 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Shinchieh Duh; Lesther Papa; Christina Tzeng


International Service Learning (ISL) has been used increasingly across fields of study in higher education to enhance student’s learning outside the classroom. ISL programs often encourage students to reflect on their experience to promote experiential and transformative learning. Previous research on ISL has found benefits to students’ professional and personal development. While the process may be helpful to participating students, there may be a lack of lasting benefit to the host community. There also is a gap in the literature of how mental wellness services could be delivered using ISL. In hopes to extend program benefits and provide mental wellness services to the host community, a unique ISL program was designed to partner ISL undergraduate students with local undergraduates in delivering socioemotional lessons to local preschoolers. This study used thematic analysis to investigate students’ experiences with an ISL program that utilizes international peer partnership to deliver social and emotional services to young children in China. Written reflections from two cohorts were analyzed, and three themes were identified, highlighting the role of self-perception in adaptation, the process of meaning-making in noting cultural differences, and the social context of growth in multiple areas. These themes corroborated and extended existing ISL literature to show how participants of this peer-partnered mental wellness ISL program experienced growth in similar but also unique ways and what aspects of the program facilitated their growth.

Included in

Psychology Commons