Course Elements

Element rating

The course elements are based on a rating from 1 to 5, 1 being the least rigorous, 5 being the most rigorous.


At least half the days at each course location are spent engaged in meaningful service work, shoulder-to-shoulder with our non-profit partners.


Participants are required to complete SStS Five Lenses Curriculum. This includes a series of online lessons (30 minutes per week) prior to traveling, peer-led discussions while in the field, and advocacy presentations upon returning home.


Most work projects sites require manual labor, so being physically fit is important. Some courses have additional outdoor experiences (e.g. hikes) with varying degrees of physical intensity.

Living Conditions

SStS students are guests and volunteers, not tourists, with local non-profits. Consequently, lodging and food for participants deliberately mirror those of local residents. In some program sites, living conditions are more rustic than in others.

On the move

Depending on where our non-profit partner is based, traveling significant distances from arrival cities to project sites is often necessary. As a result, the amount of time spent transitioning between sites varies in each program.


The location of projects can change each year because SStS supports the work that is the current priority of our non-profit partners. Therefore, projects can occur in rural areas, cities, or a combination of both.



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