CS3: Intervention


You are running an undergraduate Public Health course with an International Service Learning component working with an HIV/AIDS organization abroad. In planning the project, you had the students sign liability waivers and declarations that they were “fit to travel” and had been vaccinated for their travels. Now, in country, you are approached by a student who shares her fears that one of her classmates—who is sharing a room with her in a host family’s home—has a serious eating disorder. The student’s behavior is affecting her roommate’s experience, and she asks you why you didn’t “screen the student applicants for disruptive mental problems”.

You meet with the student in question who confirms that s/he is bulimic and the stress of traveling has exacerbated his/her self-destructive patterns. The following day, the community partner approaches you to express concerns over the same students’ erratic behavior and complaints from the host family.

Training & Education

  • When/how is it decided that a participant shouldn’t continue with a program?
  • What is your role in working through the situation with the student?
  • Is it the role of the faculty member to learn the students’ health history before taking them on international placements?

Cultural Competence

  • How much information should be shared with the community partner?
  • How is the result of the issue explored with the partner?
  • Can we expect the community partner to be compassionate to the health concerns of our students? Is this a health concern that translates?
  • How do you balance Canadian values around access / fairness with the needs of the community partner?

Pedagogical Framework: Situated Learning Theory

Project Phase: Experience (early in placement)