Expand your knowledge of the world by serving others.

Service Abroad is a four to five week independent summer course in Peru or Brazil that focuses on serving those who are less fortunate in other cultures.

It is an opportunity for Notre Dame women to perfect the balancing of academics, experiential learning, and personal growth experiences while expanding their self-giving.


Participants in the Summer Service Abroad in Peru and Brazil programs may:

  • Serve as teaching assistants in English language classes.
  • Volunteer in homework centers.
  • Assist in centers for the elderly.
  • Offer lessons in their area of expertise (dance, arts and crafts, or sports, for example).

Pastoral work, as well as volunteer work in the fields of nursing, social work, and public health are also possible.


Undergraduates who have successfully completed one full academic year of study at Notre Dame of Maryland University are eligible to apply as well as graduate students. Good health and emotional maturity are mandatory.

Additional Peru Requirements

  • Proficient in Spanish
  • Minimum Cumulative GPA of 2.75
  • Recommendation from Faculty Member (1)
  • Recommendation from Staff Member or Administrator (1)

Additional Brazil Requirements

  • Strong Oral and Written English Language Skills
  • Minimum Cumulative GPA of 2.75 (undergraduate) or 3.2 (graduate)
  • Recommendation from Teaching or Tutoring Supervisor, Staff Member, or Administrator (Must be from Director of TESOL if a TESOL Student)
  • Recommendation from Academic Advisor

Note: Applicants with prior teaching or tutoring experience will be given preference.

How to Apply

Submit a Service Abroad Application explaining your interest in the program with an official transcript.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a credit-bearing course?

Participants in Service Abroad may earn up to four credits:

The first credit is to be earned through the IDS-310L-01 course during the Spring semester. This class prepares students in the history, politics, and culture of Peru or Brazil (depending on the program the student is participating in). The class meets for an hour every other week.

The remaining three credits are earned during the Service Abroad portion of the program.

Where do students live while abroad?

Participants live with School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSNDs) during their time abroad.

How can I prepare?

At home students can prepare by working with minority groups in the city to experience other cultures and participate in a one week service learning program.

On site students should be ready to listen and learn about what is going on around them. The community where the student will live will provide guidance and supervision, but it is ultimately up to the student to make this a meaningful and memorable experience. 

Academically, students can prepare through their generalized studies at NDMU and specific studies in IDS 310 and IDS 310L. 

Service experiences in high school and college are also helpful to prepare for Service Abroad.