The effectiveness of the DePaul University School of Public Service Chiapas Program is evaluated according to “Vincentian values of experiential learning, systemic change, and the option for the poor.” Including students’ own words, the article summarizes what participants learn as they work directly with poor persons, their leaders, indigenous organizations, local NGOs, and Mexican academic institutions in Chiapas. As Marco Tavanti and Heather Evans write, the program’s goal “is not only to increase knowledge and skills but to challenge and transform cultural attitudes, learn from context, and engage in professional collaboration and dialogues for social change.” The value of system thinking is explained. The program puts the Vincentian approach to systemic change into practice. The connections that students make between conditions in Chiapas and those in Chicago are described, as are projects students have initiated on their return. Tavanti and Evans argue that all study abroad programs should transform participants into global citizens who have a profound awareness of poverty and a commitment to social justice.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/marcotavanti/5/