Global Brigades Offers Students Transformational Learning Experiences, While Transforming Global Communities

Written by Erik Werner

On May 12, 2021

Prior to COVID-19, Squads Abroad — which was founded five years ago as the high school division of Global Brigades — was annually organizing dozens of in-country school volunteer programs. In the summer of 2019, they launched TeleSquads as a way to continue supporting their partner communities through in-country teams who never stopped working after the pandemic hit. This led to the development of TeleBrigades as the virtual college program that allows students to get their feet wet in global work while still attending their respective schools and programs.

Squads Abroad President Erik Werner said that they now recognize that virtual-focused programs can engage more students in their international development, as well as greatly reduce costs, risks and one’s carbon footprint. He said that they have also found that the TeleSquads virtual-experiential-learning model can work in a classroom setting, as well as beyond the classroom.

“Through TeleSquads, students have the opportunity to learn first-hand how an international-development organization operates while interacting directly with our on-the-ground staff and community members,” said Werner. “Each TeleSquad is supporting and interacting with live, real-world international health care, engineering and business case studies.”

Read more in the full article here.

You May Also Like…

Even virtually, students in one program continue solving global challenges

Even virtually, students in one program continue solving global challenges

When administrators at Liberty High School in Liberty, Missouri, wanted to expand global education at the 2,000-student school, they went all in by creating a microschool called Empowering Discovery of the Global Experience, or the EDGE.

Principal April Adams and Assistant Principal Sara Wickham helped design the program and get district support to convert a wing of the school for the classes, which use the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as a foundation for learning.

With the EDGE’s globally focused curriculum set to complement the school’s core academic standards-based lessons, the program launched this school year with 110 students. But when planning for this inaugural class, Adams and Wickham knew one thing was missing — the practical, hands-on experience of working directly with international communities.

Through a little bit of research, Wickham found the nonprofit Global Brigades program, which connects high school and college students with projects addressing real-life challenges in healthcare, water supplies and economic development in a variety of countries across the world.

For its first project, 13 EDGE students are working on a community development program in Honduras. Although the students just recently got started and are still determining what the specifics of their project will be, Wickham and Adams said they’ve already seen benefits from the virtual connections students are making with project leaders in Honduras.

“With what our students have explained, with what their experience has been and how excited they are to be able to have the international connection even though we’re grounded during the pandemic, to me it’s just so fantastic,” said Adams. “That’s what school is about. It’s about getting that spark back into learning.”

2020 Annual Report

2020 Annual Report

Take a look at our parent organization Global Brigades' 2020 Annual Report! Squads Abroad is mentioned on page 36.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Through virtual or in-country programs, Squads are passionate groups of volunteers who mobilize abroad to create positive change. Each Squad type has a skill-based focus area that support the education, health and economic development objectives of community partners.
Squads are passionate groups of volunteers who mobilize abroad to create positive change. Each Squad type has a skill-based focus area that support the education, health and economic development objectives of community partners. Faculty choose their dates, duration (typically 1-2 weeks), and their site location from one of our six program countries.
Squads Abroad is a 501c3 non-profit organization under our parent company Global Brigades, a Platinum Level Guidestar member for Financial Transparency. Since 2004, our organization has collectively mobilized more than 70,000 international volunteers to help resolve global health and economic disparities around the world.