By Mackenzie Montgomery
Before I entered Northeastern University I had never heard of service-learning. But as a freshman I learned that I would not only be studying abroad my first semester in London through the N.U.in program, but I would also be doing something known as service-learning. Little did I know that this part of my experience abroad would change my path and interests for the rest of my college career here at Northeastern.
For my service-learning assignment in London, I tutored at Hackney Pirates in East London. Serving at this community organization allowed me to learn more about London and its people- more than I ever could have learned in the classroom or from sight seeing. In class we talked about immigrant communities in London as well as British culture; the course and my service-learning complimented each other and furthered my learning of what constitutes London life.
After this experience, I knew that I wanted to continue doing service-learning when I returned to Boston. In the fall of 2014 I enrolled in Education in the Community where I completed my service-learning at the Yawkey Boys and Girls Club. In spring 2015, my service-learning was conducted at BalletROX in the context of the Human Services Professions course. In fall 2015, I began yet another service-learning course, Strategic Philanthropy and Non Profit Management, which is a project based type of service-learning. Through these courses, I not only felt that I was becoming a member of a service-learning community on campus, but I was becoming a member of the surrounding communities I was serving.
But I decided to do something a little different this fall as well: I became a Service-Learning Teaching Assistant for the course Education in the Community. After three semesters of completing service-learning courses, I decided I wanted to take my journey to the next level and take on a bigger role in the service-learning spectrum. I love being a service-learning teaching assistant because I feel as if I am providing others with an opportunity to experience all of the great things service-learning has to offer- not only to the communities we serve but to the students themselves. Although I miss being directly in the community this semester, I know that my role as a service-learning teaching assistant is allowing other Northeastern students to get out in to the community and embark on their service-learning journey.
I hope to continue taking service-learning courses during the rest of my time here at Northeastern and hope to become a Service-Learning Teaching Assistant again. Service-learning has been a defining element of my Northeastern experience and I couldn’t be more glad for the opportunities it has presented me with.