ENGAGE WITH US. We provide many opportunities for professional development and practice, student service learning, civic engagement and volunteerism.
MDA regularly offers internship opportunities for senior undergraduates and graduate students and some summer opportunities for juniors.
FOR HIGHER ED SUPERVISORS
The learner's school or college must have an MDA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or its equivalent.
Learners must receive MDA Orientation and Training.
There must be a clear chain of accountability among the school/college, MDA and learner(s) and agreed set of procedures about who to contact to resolve any issues or problems.
BECOME A SERVICE LEARNING TEAM MEMBER. EXPERIENTIAL OR "HANDS-ON" LEARNING
Service learning (SL) is purposeful, hands-on experience executed by students in school or college and that exists in the framework of "applied democracy" and civil discourse. MDA requires that service learning takes place within the community, based on community needs, and the performance of students subject to review and criticism from college supervisors (preceptor) and MDA. SL can be organized in many ways, based on a school or college program, course, club, gap year, summer term or other. It can include an individual learner or a group. SL is recognized for its ability to profoundly affect ways that learners define themselves and their responsibilities as students and community members in a democratic society.
As a course requirement, Karla chose to help Women's Learning Group members practice English at neighborhood meeting places. Her work was supervised and she reported hours. She completed the course's 20 hours and then chose to continue her work.
In order to fulfill her service learning hours, Lek organized an afterschool homework help hour at her old high school. Many of the youth were refugee students like herself. As a member of the Jarai tribe, she inspired college students from diverse backgrounds to join her team and assist her.
Find out what offices or programs at your college or university support Service Learning. Good SL programs are structured, meaning they require goals, reflection and extended time commitment. If you've only got half an hour per week, then consider becoming a Volunteer (see below).
Consult your academic adviser or other knowledgeable source about whether your SL interests might align with a course requirement. By working with the Montagnard community, students have gotten course credit for fields from sustainable food systems to media studies.
MDA requires SL participants to undergo Orientation and Training before you perform service. Contact us with your questions.
BECOME A RESEARCHER OR RESEARCH ASSISTANT. CES, PAR, CBPR
Academic based community-engaged scholarship (CES), participatory action research (PAR) and community based participatory research (CBPR), on the undergraduate or graduate levels, are welcomed by MDA. Topics, themes and methods are subject to approval by MDA's Community Advisory Council. Your institution may have additional qualifications and guidelines. Through MDA's Montagnard / Southeast Asian Community Disparities Research Network, you may receive some feedback on project ideas and design. Like service learning, research is recognized for its ability to profoundly affect ways that learners define themselves and their responsibilities as students and community members in a democratic society.
Joining an ongoing project Jordan was an underclassman considering his choice of major and career path. He began regular attendance at weekly Montagnard Hypertesion Project meetings and was soon fully immersed as one of twenty research assistants collecting health data and interacting with community members.
Proposing a new project Robin interacted with the Montagnard community since her freshman college year completed service learning hours at community sites and volunteered at various events. She proposed a senior thesis on Montagnard resettlement which was supported by the Research Network. Her thesis review committee included Network members.
Whether joining an ongoing project or proposing a new project, MDA is interested in sustained, serious research that is coordinated with existing Network endeavors. You can contact the Network directly about areas of research or questions about contacting members.
Actual proposals ready for review can be sent on to the Community Advisory Council (link).
BECOME A LOCAL-TO-GLOBAL LEARNER. INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITHOUT JET LAG
Gap Year and Study Abroad are popular learning excursions that take place under the guidance of an educational program. But why go abroad when you can study here in the Triad? Greensboro is one of the most diverse medium-sized Southern cities, with over one hundred languages spoken in its schools. The region is home to the largest community of Montagnards outside of our homeland in Vietnam's Central Highlands. We are also recognized by the United Nations as an indigenous people and our experiences reflect the legacy of modern war between super powers and developing countries, issues arising from refugee and indigenous rights, globalism and urbanism, modernity and the preservation and promotion of traditions and customs.
Aidan was interested in international affairs, living abroad, and thought he'd apply to the Peace Corps when he graduated. He wanted to get experience interacting with non-native English speakers, especially those from non-Western countries. When he learned that Guilford County boasts over 100 languages spoken in its public schools, he realized that he could get a lot of advanced knowledge from the experiences he gained working with the Montagnard community.
Hlois was born in the US but was immersed in the Montagnard community, language and culture. She performed hundreds of hours of college service learning work in her community and a research assistant in the Montagnard Hypertension Project. In her final year she accompanied a UNCG team including Network members Sharon Morrison and Betsy Renfrew to Thailand and acted as the trip's language interpreter.
Find out what offices, departments or programs might credit you for Global/Diversity Learning experiences. Most Study Abroad programs expect you to board an airplane with a passport as a requirement, but you should have other options depending on your major or focus of study.
You should have a focused area of interest and be prepared to be challenged since MDA requires SL participants to undergo Orientation and Training which includes cultural competency and anti-racism practice.
BECOME A COMMUNITY OR ISSUES ADVOCATE. CIVILIAN-BASED, APPLIED DEMOCRACY
This is conscientious involvement by any individual or group addressing issues of public concern through a variety of means, with the goal to address public concerns and improve the quality of the community. Such involvement is basic to the principals and practice of democracy. MDA welcomes civic engagement and participation by people of all backgrounds. Interested individuals or groups must undergo Orientation and Training and may be asked to attend community events in order to gain a better understanding of the community before beginning on projects.
Sun works with MDA partner, the Southeast Asian Coalition, in order to promote civil society issues such as Citizenship information fairs and voter registration information geared specificially to newcomer communities. Various events are designed to encourage Montagnard community members' active involvement in the American social and political life consistent with democratic values.
To address broad concerns shared by many in the wake of the devastating fire at a refugee apartment complex, Network members and friends had a hand in organizing a series of dialog circles about what happened and what steps could be taken to prevent future disasters that affected many families including Montagnard community members. Officials and organization representatives attended, but so did average civilians.
The Montagnard community encounters many issues that have broader implications beyond the immediate interests of the community. Your interest in community concerns and understanding how they connect to broader public issues (governance, minority representation, health, education housing, etc) ensures that no single special interest group speaking "on behalf" of refugees, newcomers or the Montagnard community can sway decision-makers with their own agendas.
We always welcome allies from all walks of life. Contact us with your questions.
BECOME AN MDA VOLUNTEER. ”ANYBODY CAN BE GREAT BECAUSE ANYBODY CAN SERVE“
General volunteer help is always welcome by MDA from community members and general public. If you have special skills as a retired educator, health worker, business person, etc please let us know. In order for them to be comfortable and confident in the tasks they are assigned, volunteers undergo Orientation and Training. Volunteers may be asked to attend community events in order to gain a better understanding of the community before beginning volunteer work.
Professor C. is a lifetime learner and retired educator who has traveled the world and always been active in social justice and local issues. She was a regular presence at the Women's Learning Group and a patient language teacher. In retirement her time commitment was steady but flexible. Her impact on community women was profound.
Warren gave us a call whenever the NCAT farm field needed to be harvested because together he and Montagnard community members would quickly and skillfully pick tomatoes, cow peas, butternut squash and other demonstration crops whos projects had ended. In turn, community members would distribute collected harvests among families and make sure nothing was wasted.
Do you have special skills? Flexible time or specific hours? Should you wish to become an MDA Volunteer, we want to make sure you are confident and comfortable working within our community.