2015 APPLICATION DEADLINE is November 17!



London is one of the most culturally and economically dynamic cities in the world and has a rich historical narrative. It holds endless potential for contextualizing modern development issues in an international setting. The service-learning immersion experience is a unique opportunity to live and work with the vibrant and diverse community in the Borough of Newham in East London. The program is a partnership with the University of East London and has been developed by key stakeholders as an approach to bring awareness and activism to focus on health issues and community development.

The Borough of Newham faces many health challenges despite hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics. Residents are more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and smoking-related diseases. It is one of the worst areas of the UK in terms of childhood obesity; 27% of children aged 11 are obese. Levels of physical activity for both men and women are much worse in Newham than the UK average. Life expectancy is low at 72 years for men and 76 years for women. Clearly the promise of a healthy and fit population as part of the Olympic legacy will not be delivered unless these issues are addressed.


The key objective of this project is to immerse students in service work in the London Borough of Newham. They will meaningfully engage in impactful voluntary service in a range of areas while working with the local community. Students will address health concerns and will have the opportunity to analyze local governance challenges and barriers to inclusive and effective community development. Service and engagement will include participation in development projects around community health and youth activism. In addition, students will learn about British culture and society and how local government functions, experiencing development challenges in a unique service context. London, like countless cities around the world, faces critical community issues that must be addressed in new and dynamic ways, including high poverty rates, implications of immigration, and educational challenges.


Students will participate in monthly seminars in the spring to help them think about and prepare for the London immersion program. These seminars will be approximately one hour in length, comprised of the entire London program cohort, and led by either OACS staff or a Vanderbilt faculty member. They will be a good opportunity to build camaraderie with participating students while learning about the complexities and associated health care issues facing Newham.


Learning Outcomes

  1. Conceptualize service experience in the context of the London socio-political and cultural environment.
  2. Learn to serve the needs of others through intentional observation and active listening to a community’s self-identified needs.
  3. Understand and value the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of those offering and receiving service.
  4. Encourage critical thinking through examining deeper issues related to equity and justice in society.
  5. Empower students to realize their own potential to affect community change while maintaining humble appreciation of the challenges of impact.
  6. Ability to apply learning to future projects and broader issues such as social responsibility, public policy, and citizenship.
  7. Inspire reflection, which extends to a depth that could not be predicted or required and challenges preconceptions and assumptions in order to explore responsibilities as citizens.
  8. Develop interpersonal skills in conflict resolution and group decision-making.
  9. Understand the role of oversight and accountability in democratic policy-making processes.


Dates & Costs

2015 London Program Dates:

June 11th – July 11th, 2015

2015 Program Fee:

$4,000 + Flight


* Please note dates and costs are subject to change


Application Requirements:

  • Online Application
  • Financial Aid Forms
  • Current Resume

The application form can be found HERE.

The financial aid form: OACS Global Projects Financial Aid Form 2015


For questions regarding the OACS Global Service Immersion Program to London contact Dave Brown: