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School of the Arts

Service and Study Tours


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Mission Statement

The SOTA/SAMI service-learning program seeks to develop the well rounded citizen, by integrating academic study with substantive volunteer service.  The opportunities for expanded learning in new and unfamiliar environments create a powerful dynamic ​​between direct cultural exposure and traditional academic scholarship. Through the combination of classroom theory and practical experience serving in a social agency, SOTA/SAMI students will develop a broad knowledge of the forces that shape culture; an intimate understanding of people, customs, and traditions; and first hand insight into the complex social issues and realities of the society.

As a SOTA/SAMI student, you are not just an academic tourist. You are immersed in several levels of the society, and contribute to the host culture through your service. Interaction with the community teaches you how the culture functions. Time in the classroom teaches you why it functions as it does. By testing theory with practice, SOTA/SAMI students find their learning takes on greater depth and personal meaning. 

SOTA/SAMI Service and Study Tour Goals

  •  To expose students to the unique cultural differences that coincide and collide with our own in a way that expands understanding, empathy and collegiality
  • To provide students with the opportunity to experience a personal encounter with social and cultural mechanisms and traditions through applied service.
  • To provide a contextual understanding of the significant contributions of a different culture through scheduled meetings before school for several months prior to departure
  • To foster a more informed understanding of foreign or domestic experiences through the study of history, literature, art, language economics, news and current events. (Students will be required to read and study selected books during the summer and in the months prior to departure.)
  • To strengthen SOTA/SAMI Service/Study curriculum by providing an experiential opportunity for students to engage in one on one educational exchange
  • To improve relations with international educators in other cultures for future opportunities in order to foster more widespread participation opportunities for Tacoma School District students.​​​​​​​​