Undertaking Service Work in South East Asia is an experience that changes Australian school students in the most profound way. Students engaging in life -changing programs experience personal growth rarely discovered in regular day to day life. Indeed, studies have shown that student involvement in Service Work projects can:
• Increase students’ personal, interpersonal and social development (Shelley Billig, 2000)
• Increase motivation, student engagement, and school attendance
• And, lead to new perspectives and more “positive lifestyle choices and behaviour’’. (Civic Literacy Project, 2002)
Service Work programs afford students the opportunity to form opinions and places a human face to many of the issues they simply read about or catch glimpses of on the news. They also allow students to witness first-hand the human face of poverty and individual hardship rarely witnessed at home. Indeed, active participation in a Service Work program leads to feelings of social responsibility and connectedness, an increased care for others and a desire to get involved and co-operate in positive ways – an immeasurable benefit in our increasingly segmented society.