For the past year, executive board members of Lifeline and HRH Princess Katherine Foundation have been working in partnership with Susan Wuchenich Parker, Ph.D. to create a study abroad service learning experience in Serbia for college students enrolled at Robert Morris University, Moon Township, PA. “Service Learning in Serbia” was recently approved by RMU and the Center for Global Engagement, as an official Faculty Lead Education Abroad Program.
This program will give pre-service student teachers, majoring in early childhood and special education, the opportunity to travel to Belgrade for two weeks, to work with children, both with and without disabilities, who are living at the Zvecanska Children’s Home.
The World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/topics/disabilities/en/) defines disability as a “complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives. Overcoming the difficulties faced by people with disabilities requires interventions to remove environmental and social barriers.” RMU students will be able to personally experience, observe and discuss these complexities by working with children with disabilities in Serbian communities.
Lifeline, HRH PK Foundation, and Dr. Parker hope to create a sustainable partnership that will benefit the children in Serbia, while exposing RMU students to differing special education systems, supports and philosophies, making the theoretical discussions of the college classroom come to life in real world situations. The service learning course will be added to the Robert Morris University course catalog for Fall 2016.