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.”