Why the Hell are We Going? Ethical Concerns during Orientation: An Ethics in Action Case Example
Embargo Lift Date
You are asked to provide a pre-departure orientation on ethical cross-cultural engagement to a student-led service-learning group a few weeks prior to their traveling to Central America. They are traveling under the auspices of an international travel entity of which you know very little. As you present the ethical considerations in cross-cultural engagement, you notice that some of the students, including the student leaders, are becoming uncomfortable. From the questions they ask, you realize that their partner organization is likely violating some of the ethical standards you have just presented.
Your concerns include: • What are the dynamics at your university that have allowed this disconnect? • What, if anything, can you do in response to this disconnect? • How do you handle the student’s present discomfort and misgivings? Finally, one of the students asks, “If what you are saying about the ethics of cross-cultural engagement are true, why the hell are we going on this trip?”