In the face of increasing societal and environmental challenges, the need to influence and empower the youths to actively develop and act on their sense of social responsibility is ever pressing. Service-Learning plays a critical role in educating and engaging the youth in the changing environments to be more socially responsible and become the leaders in the future. Singapore University of Social Sciences held the 7th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Service-Learning from June 19 to June 21, 2019. This conference had more than 300 participants, coming from 20 different regions and countries. Resident Fellow of Cheng Yu Tung College (CYTC), Ms. Diane Lu and two student leaders Ms. Chen Ziyan and Ms. Yang Ziyi also attended the conference and conducted formal oral paper presentation about “Introductory Service-Learning Experience: Macau College Students in Ethnic Minority School of Mountain Area in China” in the concurrent breakout sessions.
CYTC organized its first Service-Learning project in Congjiang county, Guizhou province of Mainland China in 2018. This project was executed based on the policy of “Youth Program Dedicated to Poverty Alleviation” of the Macao S.A.R. Government. Before sharing and presenting this project in the conference, two student leaders had to submit the APA format abstract in English. It was a great opportunity for them to learn the academic writing in their first and second year of the university life. After the abstract was selected, they had to prepare for the full paper and a formal English presentation. Under the mentoring of resident fellow and with the support from the College, two student leaders performed well in the conference. They shared their volunteering experience, observation and learnings from the ethnic minority school of mountain areas in Mainland China. “I thought not that many people would come to our session since there were so many concurrent breakout parts. I’m happy and extremely nervous to present in front of more than 30 people. Moreover, I learned a lot from doing services, writing thesis, and how to share with others in a systematic way”, said by Ms. Chen. Ms. Yang, who just finished her year 1, mentioned that it was her first formal conference, and undoubtedly a meaningful international one. Through these three days, all the participants had many insightful conversations and fulfill discussions. This conference provided a useful platform for people around the world to share and learn from one another.
The objective of the University of Macau whole-person education model is to nurture self-reflective, caring, and socially responsible individuals who can grow in a challenging and multicultural environment. To achieve this objective, so far CYTC organizes several service-learning projects in Mainland China, local Macau and Malaysia to encourage students to practice what they have learned in class and making contribution to the community, and becoming a global citizen with sense of responsibility.
(Author: Ms. Diane Lu)