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Service Learning

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Posted by on Mon, 02/27/2017 - 9:50am

At Virginia Tech, there are a variety of opportunities to travel abroad either for studying or service learning. In the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, we encourage students to attend these trips to broaden their academic experiences.

This past wintermester, VCEMP graduate student, Clark "Walker" Olsen, attended the VT Engage service learning trip to El Cerito, Dominican Republic. In the Dominican, Walker was able to work closely with natives and other Virginia Tech Students in constructing two bathrooms and a community garden. Not only did Walker have the ability to work in the Dominican, but he also had the opportunity to experience their culture. Walker stated "At night we had different lecturers come in a discuss the Dominican Republic so that we had a better understanding of its people. This trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I was fortunate enough to be a part of."

In addition, this wintermester, the Charles J Via Department of Civil Engineering offered Intro to Construction Management as a study abroad course in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. There were 11 students, a mix between Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering and Management students, who attended this trip. Their assigned task was to implement their design and project management skillset into building a project that Dominican community could truly benefit from. Construction Engineering junior, Victor Day, was on this trip and had the opportunity to build a pier and a tackle shop for the community. Victor states "This trip provided a great experience to all participants as we were able to compare and contrast the different techniques of construction applied in the Dominican Republic to the United States. While there, we talked to a number of different contractors and visited an engineering firm to discuss active projects around the area and upcoming projects."

Through these experiences, both students had the ability to expand their construction knowledge and lend a hand to communities in need. Walker states, "I would encourage anyone with a passion for service and for experiencing new things to think about service abroad. Going abroad for a week in the Dominican Republic changed my perspective."