To read this content please select one of the options below:

Improving international students’ understanding of local culture and financial institutions: A service learning application

Bonnie Buchanan (Department of Finance, Albers School of Business and Economics, Seattle University, Seattle, Washington, USA)

Journal of International Education in Business

ISSN: 2046-469X

Article publication date: 28 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to provide a case study of a service learning project focusing on financial literacy. In response to the global financial crisis there has been increasing emphasis on improving financial literacy skills and education. In this paper, the author argues for service learning as a means of integrating the finance curricula with real-world applications.


Initially, the author surveys the growing importance of a financial literacy education as well as integrating service learning with a business education. The author then describes the implementation of a service-learning program at a private university that provides financial literacy workshops to community partners.


The paper concludes with a discussion of the effectiveness of the financial literacy workshops and reflections of the service-learning experience.

Research limitations/implications

It is an opportunity for learning among culturally diverse groups and has also helped international students become more culturally involved on campus.

Practical implications

The undergraduate service-learning program is placed in an intermediate finance class. It is also an opportunity for cultural and financial institutional learning among international students.

Social implications

Given the diversity of community service partners in this project, the service-learning experience has become an opportunity to teach all students on international cultural differences and social justice themes.


This is one of the few pedagogical examples in financial literacy with an international dimension.



Buchanan, B. (2014), "Improving international students’ understanding of local culture and financial institutions: A service learning application", Journal of International Education in Business, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 108-120.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles