2019 Annual Report

Here at ISL, we believe in giving back to those in need. Many organizations report their annual success in profits. We instead celebrate our annual success in measuring how much of a positive impact we’ve made.

Our mission is to support cultural awareness, service-based learning, and sustainable development through experiential and responsible volunteer travel programs that inspire a lifestyle of service.

Here’s a look at how we upheld our mission in 2019.

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Dr. Tracey Long: The Namaste Way

Tracey Long (PhD, RN, MS, CDE, CNE, CCRN) is a registered nurse who has served on the nursing faculty at the College of Southern Nevada and at Nevada State College. She loves to take nursing students internationally to travel and serve with International Service Learning. She has lead teams to Belize, Peru, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Costa Rica, and now India!

“What is the disease causing the legs to be so twisted and disabled for so many people?” queried a nursing student looking at several people in a small Indian rural village.

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Dr. Tracey Long: Nurses and Nursing Students Bring Las Vegas Luck to Colombia

Tracey Long is a registered nurse who has served on the nursing faculty at the College of Southern Nevada and at Nevada State College. She loves to take nursing students internationally to travel and serve with International Service Learning. She has lead teams to Belize, Peru, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and Costa Rica and has an upcoming ISL trip planned to India!

“The only danger in going to Colombia,

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Dr. Tracey Long: An Un-Belizeable Experience!

Tracey Long is a registered nurse who has served on the nursing faculty at the College of Southern Nevada and at Nevada State College. She loves to take nursing students internationally to travel and serve with International Service Learning. She has lead teams to Belize, Peru, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and Costa Rica and has an upcoming ISL trip planned to India!

“Do you have a lid on your outhouse to keep out flies and insects?”
“Can you put a net over the bed to detract mosquitos?”
“Do you have a lid to put on the rainwater barrel to keep your water clean?”
“When was the last time you were treated for worms?”

These questions are not commonly asked by nurses in the United States,

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Madison Hopkins: Happiness Comes from Knowing You Impacted Another Individual

Madison Hopkins is from a small town in Massachusetts by the name of Plainville. She is currently a junior Biological Sciences major at Clemson University in South Carolina. At Clemson she is involved in a wide array of campus activities anywhere from tutoring local elementary school students to being an undergraduate teaching assistant. She is on the PR (personal relations) Team for her sorority, the Outreach Committee from Camp Kesem Clemson, and is also the secretary of AMSA (American Medical Student Association).

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Milan Sheth: A Small Imprint of Change


Milan Sheth is an alumnus of Eastern Mennonite University’s M.A. in Biomedicine program. Milan’s interests are in clinical/academic medicine and global health. He serves as an ambassador for International Service Learning and PreMed STAR. Milan advocates for students to gain experience in medically underserved areas. Milan intends to apply to medical school next year.


My classmates and I traveled to Nicaragua via International Service Learning (ISL).

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Justin Chu: Reflections from Costa Rica

Justin Chu is a third year medical student at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. He was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio where he met and married his high school girlfriend. He enjoys outdoor activities as well as playing and watching sports.

y ISL experience in Costa Rica was valuable to me for many reasons. I got to put into practice the clinical skills I learned in my first year of medical school,

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Taeler Kallmerten: The Power of Education

Taeler Kallmerten is an Electronic Media major at Texas State University. Kallmerten is from Houston, Texas and she loves to travel, play soccer and create videos for her YouTube Channel.

In my time spent documenting health clinics in the villages outside the city perimeters of Managua, Nicaragua, I learned one very important thing. I learned about the power of education. The majority of my time in Managua was spent following the two respiratory therapy students on the trip and their professor Sharon Armstead.

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Melissa Francois: The True Meaning of Pura Vida

Melissa Francois currently lives in the “Empire State,” New York. She received both her Bachelors of Science in Human Biology and Masters of Public Health from the University at Albany. In her free time she loves writing, arts & crafts, all things D-I-Y, traveling and learning new languages! She served on a Global Health team with ISL in 2015.

The summer after graduating college, I traveled to Costa Rica as a Global Health Volunteer with International Service Learning.

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Yusra Iftikhar: My Medical Mission Trip to Mexico

For this week’s blog post, we are featuring an article written by Yusra on her blog The DPT Diaries last year about her service learning trip to Mexico. Yusra traveled with International Service Learning to Baja in May 2016, and here she reflects on her trip and the impact it had in her life:

Discovering humility in service.

2-year-old Gabriel* squealed in delight as he lunged for the sunglasses that dangled from my outstretched hand.

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8 Reasons Why a Gap Year Is a Good Idea

We know what it’s like. You’re graduating from high school, and you’ve been a student your whole life up until this point. It looks like your options are to continue being a student or… what? Is there another option? There is.

Maybe you’re sure you want to go to college. Maybe you’re not. Maybe you just aren’t sure at all yet what you want to do with your life. Guess what?

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Milan Sheth: Global Health in Nicaragua

After the experience of a lifetime, traveling with ISL and volunteering in Nicaragua, volunteer Milan Sheth has joined our team of Ambassadors to continue sharing ISL’s mission to serve those in need. We touched base with Milan recently to get some insight into what it is about Global Learning that inspires him:

How did you learn about International Service Learning?

Currently, I am a graduate student in Eastern Mennonite University’s (EMU) M.A.

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Outstanding ISL Community Member: Frank Battaglia

McGill University student, Frank Battaglia, has been partnering with ISL to send global health volunteers to serve the health care needs of the Dominican community of El Mangular since 2013. This month we’re honoring him as our Outstanding ISL Community Member, and we’ve reached out to him about his experiences as an ambassador for ISL:

How many ISL teams have you organized/volunteered with?

Since July 2012, I’ve organized 4 teams personally,

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Beth Chatham: A Transcultural Nursing Trip

Rudy School Nursing Students Journeyed to Mexico Over the Holidays. Beth Chatham, assistant professor of nursing, gives her perspective on the students’ experiential learning trip:

Over Christmas break, seven nursing students from Cumberland traveled to Mexico for a service learning experience.  This trip was the practicum of their Transcultural Nursing course. Students had the opportunity to do home visits, perform public health surveys, and work with community nurses in providing diabetic,

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Why International Experience is Essential for Nurses

Why International Experience is Essential for Nurses

by TRACEY LONG –  26 January 2016

Learning about diverse people, cultures, belief systems, and world views is essential for nurses to be effective in a people-centered profession. After all, nursing is a delicate balance between the art and science of medicine. Nurses who understand more about people and their varying lifestyles can be more effective in helping people through illness toward wellness. Research proves that nursing students and nurses who travel internationally increase in self-confidence and cultural competence skills,

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Kelsey Kusch: Nicaragua & Costa Rica Reflection

Kelsey Kusch was a member of our Adrian College Global Health team this winter break and served in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Here is an entry from her day-to-day blog of her time with ISL.

Day 8 – Nicaragua

View of the city of Granada and volcano Mambacho

Today was the last day in Nicaragua and it sure was a memorable one. We did a canopy tour through a jungle in Granada,Read more »

9 Lives and Going The Extra Mile

Our recent #CR073115MUEDU-G team had an unexpected visitor during their stay in Costa Rica. An extremely sick kitten was dropped at the convent used for volunteer housing and our empathetic volunteers took him in to care for as their own.

They bathed the kitten, fed him, and took him to the veterinarian only to discover he was suffering from a respiratory problem as well as a severe eye disease that was slowly killing him.

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Neethu Athimattathil: Mexico Reflections

Neethu Athimattahil was part of a Global Health team last December. We reached out to her to ask her about her experience, and she shared this story with us. 

In December of 2014, I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a service trip with ISL to Baja, Mexico. I was a nervous wreck leading up to my trip, not knowing a single soul on the trip or what to expect once I got there.

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ISL Costa Rica: Making memories

Our day began quite hectic and chaotic filled with flight changes and exhaustion. However, as soon as we landed, the day got exponentially better. We met our group leader, Abdi, and the other three members of our ISL team. After quickly grabbing a bite to eat and exchanging currency, we left the airport to our home for the week – La casa de la Espiritualidad in Alajuela (a city just west of San José).

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Emily Jones: What ISL Volunteers Take Home

Emily Jones, ISL’s Essay Contest Winner, shares how her experience in Costa Rica affected her patient approach at home in Alabama:

My ISL Experience

In my ambition to become a physical therapist, I chose to volunteer with ISL because I felt the unique experience would help me become a stronger candidate for physical therapy school. Although there is no doubt that my trip to Costa Rica has done that, it has also rekindled my passion for helping people in need,

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2013 Photo of the Year Contest Winner: Jessica Munoz

Jessica will receive $1,000 in travel credit to volunteer with ISL again in 2014!

This little girl, Doreen, greeted me with a warm smile every time I saw her. Her curious imagination inspires me to become a doctor who will one day travel back to Tanzania. I thank her for welcoming me but above all I thank her for showing me God’s presence. My ISL experience in Tanzania reminds me that “what we do for ourselves dies with us.

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Purdue University Hike for Humanity Update

Hello again from Team Purdue plus Cristina!

We are all home, safe and sound, and we would like to share our experiences from the second half of the trip, the Hike for Humanity portion. Our group, joined by Andrés Villalobos (ISL Team Leader) and Dr. Jack, Lisa Ann, Cathy, and Mary Beth (the new volunteer members), left for Talamanca bright and early on January 5, and travelled for most of the day to our base camp.

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Purdue University Rings in the New Year in Costa Rica

Hello from Team Purdue (plus Cristina)!! We just brought in the New Year in the best way possible and we thought we should reflect on the amazing trip we’ve had so far.

We arrived at the airport at about 1 in the morning, but that did not put a damper on our enthusiasm and Abdi, our team leader, was still as excited as ever. We immediately went to the hotel to rest for our first day of orientation.

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