Community Service Learning

Nelson Mandela University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Community Service Learning

  • Host University

    Nelson Mandela University

  • Location

    Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  • Area of Study

    African Studies, Development Studies, Service-Learning

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • US Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    Participants in the Community Service Learning Programme will be able to volunteer their time and skills and in the process, gain an understanding of the development challenges facing South Africa. Service learning is defined as “an experiential approach to education that involves students in meaningful, real-world activities that can advance social, emotional, career, and academic curricula goals while benefitting communities”(Wilczenski & Coomey, 2007, p. 8). The aim of this programme is to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate and develop their global citizenship through volunteer work. Students will develop an understanding of current issues impacting community life in South Africa. They will experience this first hand through their volunteer work.

    The programme is facilitated by NMU academics and community experts. Lectures consist of theoretical and interactive sessions. Through lecture preparation and active participation will ensure an optimum learning experience. Incorporated in the programme are also visits / excursions that will immerse students into South Africa’s rich cultural and environmental heritage.


    On completion of this programme students will obtain:  

    • A theoretical understanding of, as well as practical exposure to, the face and impact of poverty in South Africa; 
    • A broad understanding of the process and principles of community development; 
    • The ability to apply the principles of asset-based community development while volunteering at projects; 
    • Knowledge of and experience in building relationships to participate in the development of people.


    There are two assessments: portfolio and presentation. The final mark for the module will be determined as follows:

    • 60% of the final mark will come from the portfolio;
    • 30% of the final mark will come from the presentation;
    • 10% will be awarded for attendance of lectures and participation in discussions.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.