4 Ways International Service Can Help With Academic Success


“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

If your daughter is suffering from mental health problems like anxiety, depression, or emotional trauma, you’ve no doubt noticed a significant effect on her life and her interactions with family members and friends. Mental health problems can have serious consequences on her ability to keep up with school subjects and stay on track academically.

While you may be thinking that your daughter needs special education due to her unique challenges, there may be more holding her back. For help with behavioral issues, ADHD, depression or other problems, international service opportunities can help provide your daughter with a community context that cultivates MEANING in life, motivating her to engage in new ways academically.

How does international service do this?

#1- Experiential Education

As with every other aspect of our boarding school, we take a relational approach to our academic philosophy. Because of this, we believe every student can develop into global citizens that engage positively with the world around them, motivating them to become lifelong learners. International service opportunities help students become curious about the world. Your daughter won’t just learn to memorize facts anymore, she’ll learn what those facts actually mean and how they affect the world around her.

This application of knowledge helps reinforce what she learns on an experiential level, so she remembers it more easily.

#2- Community Learning Experiences

Surrounded by inspiring mentors in a positive peer culture, your teen will learn what it’s like to make a difference.

Not only will she have the opportunity to work one-on-one with the communities that she’s impacting, but she’ll  develop a relationship with them. In addition, working within a group of friends while helping those in need can infuse purpose and mission into her life.

Imagine how differently your daughter would engage in the classroom if she knew truly how important she was. If she understood how her unique gifts could impact the world and help others.

It’s a priceless realization that we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing in many of our students at the end of one of our trips.

#3- Global Awareness

What would it do to your daughter’s future if she was able to dream again? If she discovered a newfound hope about her future and what she wanted to do?

When students realize that they’re part of an interconnected society in which their GIFTS and contributions MATTER, the impact of that can be transformative. While international service trips give students insight into another culture’s customs, resources, and history, it also provides a context for them to collaborate and serve individuals that come from different backgrounds than their own.

Caring about a community is another building block in gaining self-worth and acknowledgement.

#4- Building a Sense of Purpose Students

“Helping people in Nicaragua lets you know that even when you feel like you have no self-worth, you know there are many worse off than you are, and guess what, I can help them!” – GBA student.

“I was a mess when I got to GBA. Drugs, alcohol, and too many unhealthy relationships to remember. At first I re-created my life drama at GBA, getting other students mad at me and attempting to keep the staff from really getting to know me. It was during a Village Week that Paul helped me go through a “right of passage” exercise that totally opened my eyes. I came to see that I had an old belief that I wasn’t good enough, that got in my head because I always compare myself to my “superstar” older brother., Once I learned to believe this about myself I created a life where I always sold myself short. Now two years after graduating from GBA, my relationship with my brother has never been better and I am in college doing well for myself, free of the idea that I have to be in some kind of competition with my sibling.” GBA Alumni

“The school has also led a mission trip to Nicaragua for the past few years. A student indicated that this experience ‘lets you know that even when you feel like you have no self-worth, you know there are many worse off than you are, and, guess what, I can help them!'”

AdvancED Accreditation Team

Is your daughter struggling in school or behind on her classes because of mental health issues, addiction or behavioral problems? Our therapeutic boarding school can help address each issue and help your teen get back on track.

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