Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


60 cp from Units in the Bachelor of International Development Studies.

Unit rationale, description and aim

International Development work requires a high level of intercultural sensitivity, collaboration, and understanding. This unit prepares students for the International Development overseas experience in the Bachelor of International Development Studies program. It prepares students for a structured experience of learning about development in the field that is community-based, applied, reflective and engaged. The unit aims to enhance the experience of intercultural communication.

The unit highlights the importance of development work that collaborates with and empowers local communities using the strengths of those communities. Students will also learn how to work safely with vulnerable people, children and young people in their destination country. Practical travel and health requirements will be discussed as well as the location specific adjustments students may be required to make. The unit aims to improve students’ cultural competence and explores cultural humility and exchange, power and privilege and, reciprocity and reflective practice. The aim of the unit is to facilitate students’ appreciation of context, culture and development, while also preparing them for their International Development Overseas Experience.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe diversity and global citizenship and reflect on the practices necessary to work inter-culturally with adults, children and young people in the development context (GA1, GA2, GA3 GA6)

LO2 - Analyse and identify ways of collaborating with local communities in international development considering cultural context (GA1, GA2, GA5)

LO3 - Apply the practice of cultural humility and reflexivity in the context of international development practice. (GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5)

LO4 - Effectively prepare for the International Development Overseas Experience and understand what is required to enable appropriate behaviour and participation (GA1, GA2, GA5)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account


Topics will include:

  • Defining community Based – global learning
  • Seeking global citizenship
  • Reflection/critical reflection
  • Power, self as a cultural being, cultural humility and intercultural communication
  • Community driven partnerships
  • Planning for community-based immersive global learning
  • Staying safe, healthy and happy during your International Development Overseas Experience

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit engages students in active learning activities, such as reading, writing, discussion and problem-solving to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation that pertain to undertaking their International Development Overseas Experience. The unit will be taught in intensive mode or over a semester using lectures and tutorials supplemented with readings, online activities and resources. Lectures will be used to introduce theoretical concepts and illustrate practice. Readings and online resources, like video or podcases, are made available on the online learning platform or in recommended texts. Ideas from lectures, readings and other resources are explored, reflected on and discussed in tutorials to prepare students for a structured experience of learning about development in the field that is community-based, applied, reflective and engaged.


This unit comprises a significant portion of the formal pre-departure preparation that students will need to undertake for their International Development Overseas Experience. As part of their Overseas Experience, students will cross borders - political, cultural, socioeconomic, environmental, or national. They may undergo disruptive experiences that trigger a revaluation of closely held assumptions and understanding. A comprehensive pre-departure preparation enables students to be better prepared both emotionally and mentally for their International Development Overseas Experience.

This preparation for learning will be applied and reflective with a focus on knowledge and awareness of their own cultural lens, cultural humility and intercultural understanding to enable students to more clearly see one another’s worldviews and experiences.


The class will be locally contextualized, historically informed, and theoretically grounded.


Students’ preparation includes logistics of the International Development Overseas Experience and information about, and reflections on, emotional, academic and physical challenges that students may experience while participating in the program. As such, lectures and tutorials will adopt both informative and reflective styles, with reflections being undertaken either individually or in small groups.


The unit may be taught in intensive mode or over a semester. In both cases the unit will comprise 150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, online activities, webinars, videos, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours becomes private study to complete unit readings, assessments and prepare for directed activities.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessments in this unit encourage students to develop their understanding of cultural humility (reflective essay), to engage with the scholarship surrounding their destination location, its history, demography and the development priorities and challenges of the people (research paper), and to prepare a plan for their International Development Overseas Experience that identifies approaches that they may need for a successful engagement. (Plan)


The schedule provides scaffolded learning with opportunities for students to monitor their own progress, practise their skills and receive feedback.


Assessment tasks will be the same, whether the unit is taught in intensive mode or over a semester.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Reflective Essay

Students will take part in an activity that challenges them to learn more about themselves and others who may have different social identities and experiences than your own.


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA6

Research Paper

Students will engage with the scholarship surrounding their destination location, its history, demography and the development priorities and challenges of the people.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA5,


International Development Overseas Experience Plan

Students will prepare a plan for their overseas experience that identifies approaches that they may need for a successful engagement.


LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA5

Representative texts and references

Alonso G, & Longo, N. (2015). Community voices: Integrating local and international partnerships through storytelling. Partnerships: A Journal of Service Learning and Civic Engagement, 6(2), 1–18.

Arends, J. (2014). “Just collecting data for the White guys”: Community impacts of service-learning in Africa. Retrieved from

Balusubramaniam, R., Hartman, E., McMillan, J., & Paris, C. (In press). Ethical global partnerships: Leadership from the global south. In D. E. Lund (Ed.), Handbook of service-learning for social justice. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Bruce, J. (2016). (Beyond) the death of global service-learning and the White saviour undone. Retrieved from

Burleson, K. (2015). A guidebook for the development of cultural mindedness. Retrieved from

Cameron, J. (2014). Grounding experiential learning in “thick” conceptions of global citizenship. In R. Tiessen & R. Huish (Eds.), Globetrotting or global citizenship? Perils and potential of experiential learning (pp. 21–42). Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.

Collier, J. (Ed.). (2014). Community engagement and intercultural praxis: Dancing with difference in diverse contexts (Critical Intercultural Communication Studies). New York, NY: Peter Lang

Gallardo, M. E. (Ed.). (2013). Developing cultural humility: Embracing race, privilege and power. California SAGE Publications.

Hartman, E. (2018), Building a Better World : The Pedagogy and Practice of Ethical Global Service Learning, edited by Judith V. Boettcher, Stylus Publishing, LLC

Larkin, A. (2015). I am because we are: Rethinking service learning and the possibility of learning from Ubuntu. In M. A. Larsen (Ed.), International service learning: Engaging host communities (pp. 252–262). New York, NY: Routledge.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs