HKBU students take part in service-learning activity in France
19 Oct 2021
Fifteen students from the French stream of the European Studies programme offered by the Department of Government and International Studies, who are currently studying in France for one year, participated in HKBU’s first-ever overseas service-learning activity in July and August 2021 with the support of the Centre for Innovative Service-Learning.
The service-learning activity provided a chance for the students to explore social problems, analyse the social developments of France and develop a comparative perspective with Hong Kong. Issues of urban poverty, intergenerational gap, and the widening racial inequality in a developed economy were the primary focus.
The students visited three non-profit organisations and met with their managers, leaders and clients. These organisations included Chez Daddy, a café committed to the fight against social exclusion, in particular that of the elderly, by encouraging intergenerational communication and creating second nearby families in a place that feels like home; Jardin d’Envol, a collective and eco-responsible farming garden which enhances social integration by producing crops for people on low incomes who suffer from social exclusion; and Les Restos du Coeur, one of France’s largest not-for-profit organisations that distributes food packages, hot meals and essential goods to the needy, including the homeless and low-income people, to fight against social marginalisation and exclusion.
By joining the service-learning activity, totalling 27 hours, the 15 students acquired a better understanding of the discrimination and inequalities that persist in France. With the chance to talk extensively to local people, the experience also enhanced their French skills and helped them gain an in-depth understanding of the local culture.