Students learn and grow through community service


Service as Action (SAA) is an indispensable component of the Middle Years Programme (MYP) at the International School Utrecht (ISU), offering students aged 11-16 the chance to learn and grow through community service. This internationally acclaimed curriculum nurtures students' potential, enabling them to make a positive impact on their communities and acquire essential skills and knowledge. 

By Josefina Moreno, Service As Action coordinator

SAA projects take diverse forms, from volunteering at local soup kitchens to organising fundraisers for causes close to their hearts. What truly matters is that students select projects that hold personal significance and foster their development.

The SAA Journey

Service As Action projects follow a four-step process that guides students toward a comprehensive learning experience:

  1. Investigation: The journey begins with students researching and identifying a specific need in their community. This stage helps them gain a deeper understanding of the issues they wish to address.
  2. Preparation: In collaboration with their mentors, students create a detailed action plan and timeline for their chosen project. They also gather the necessary resources and support to execute their plan effectively.
  3. Action: This is the heart of the SAA experience. Students put their plan into motion, taking tangible steps to address the identified need. They document their progress and share their experiences, creating a record of their journey.
  4. Reflection: After the project's completion, students engage in critical reflection. They contemplate the lessons learned about themselves, their community, and the issues they tackled. They also explore ways to continue making a difference in the future.

Benefits of SAA

Engaging in Service as Action yields a multitude of benefits for students:

  1. Skill Development: SAA projects foster the growth of essential life skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and leadership.
  2. Real-World Experience: SAA bridges the gap between classroom learning and practical application by allowing students to tackle real-world problems and issues.
  3. Making a Difference: Perhaps most importantly, SAA empowers students to make a positive impact on their community and the world at large.

The SAA/CAS Fair at ISU: A Celebration of Service as Action

But Service as Action doesn't exist in isolation; it thrives within the community. The recent SAA/CAS Fair at ISU, held on Thursday, 2 November, is a testament to this spirit of community engagement and active participation. This event not only celebrated the value of SAA but also brought together students, volunteers, and two remarkable organisations - HIP and VCU (Vrijwilligerscentrale Utrecht). For both local volunteer organisations it was the first but certainly not the last time they joined the SAA/CAS fair at our school.

"The SA/CAS Fair was a great success. We had a lot of students come by and learn about our programs. We're looking forward to coming back next year." - HIP volunteer

"The fair was a great way to connect with students in the Utrecht community. We had a lot of fun, and we're looking forward to doing it again." - VCU volunteer

Making a real difference in the world

Service as Action is not just a requirement; it is a priceless learning experience for students of all ages. It offers a unique chance for students to make a tangible impact on the world while developing crucial skills and knowledge. The recent SA/CAS Fair at ISU exemplifies how the spirit of community service and learning can be celebrated, shared, and cherished. The fair is undoubtedly worth repeating in the future, and it stands as a testament to the enduring value of Service as Action within the ISU community. Together, students and volunteers can continue to contribute to the betterment of their communities and nurture socially conscious individuals who will make a real difference in the world. Remember, SAA is an ongoing process, fostering continuous personal growth and community engagement throughout the school year.