About the Fund for International Service Learning

What's a FISL?

In August of 2004, five individuals founded the Fund for International Service Learning (FISL) as a nonprofit organization dedicated to distributing scholarships to those planning to participate in international service-learning programs.

Mission Statement

We believe in the positive influence international study has on students and the reciprocal benefits of service to others. FISL is dedicated to financially assisting those who wish to broaden their minds while studying and serving others abroad.

Core Principles

  • Tolerance and understanding. They are core principles of a free and open society. Travel, study, and service abroad increase them.
  • Continued Education. The pursuit of knowledge is essential to the tasks of maintaining and promoting tolerance and understanding.
  • Lifelong commitment to service. We will emphasize life-long advocacy for and participation in service to our scholarship recipients.
  • Maximum efficiency. As many funds raised as possible will go to recipients or be added to the capital fund whose earnings will go to recipients. We will accomplish this through dedicated volunteers, in-kind donations, and use of the Internet to conduct the application process.

What is Service-Learning?

According to the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, service-learning combines service objectives with learning objectives with the intent that the activity change both the recipient and the provider of the service. This is accomplished by combining service tasks with structured opportunities that link the task to self-reflection, self-discovery, and the acquisition and comprehension of values, skills, and knowledge content.

Simply put, a service-learning experience attempts to apply the lessons of the classroom to real life service and use real life service experiences to build upon the lessons of the classroom.

Why We Exist

Students interested in studying abroad have many options to support them financially. Schools often let students transfer their school aid to programs abroad. Well-established scholarships already exist for the benefit of study abroad candidates. So why do we need another one?

  • Service-learning serves a higher purpose than study abroad by itself. Both the student and the service recipients benefit from the experience and grow with exposure to one another's viewpoints. Unlike study abroad experiences where students can often choose to remain in a protective bubble, service-learning students must engage and participate in the local culture to which they've come. We seek to encourage what we believe to be a highly beneficial form of international experience.
  • Studying abroad is filled with unexpected costs that aren't covered by loans and grants. For individuals in financial need, the costs of travel, visa fees, clothing, luggage, etc. can all represent small but very real barriers to attending a program abroad.

What We Do

We provide a limited amount of $500 scholarship awards twice a year to worthy recipients. To be eligible for our aid, applicants must provide proof that they have been accepted into a credit-bearing service-learning program. Chosen recipients sign a pledge of honor that they will use their scholarship award toward the needs of attending their program.