• Learning



Intercordia's Philosophy

Inspired by Jean Vanier, Intercordia Canada fosters human solidarity by encouraging young Canadians to be morally responsive and develop a respect and appreciation for religious, cultural and socio-economic diversity by living and working alongside others who are different.

Intercordia Canada believes that each person is on a journey to become more fully human. Each of us needs guidance to help us live in relation to others and the world around us as we search for, create and celebrate meaning in our lives.




"Being With" people is more important than "Doing For" them!

The primary intent of the Intercordia experience is not to change the world but to change our understanding of the world.

Travelling across cultures and becoming involved in people’s lives requires us to be attentive, respectful and curious. If we enter into a host community thinking that we know what’s best for the local people we can do more harm than good. Before we know what we can do for others we need to be in relationship with them so we can know who they are and what they value.

Intercordia encourages participants to enter into a host community/family with a desire to learn and an attitude of openness and non-judgment. We want to discover both the beauty and distress of the people who welcome us into their lives, so we can better understand the complexity of the global village.



Encountering our Vulnerability can be the Source of Significant Growth and Connection

When we are strong and think we are in control, we can get things done, but we might miss out on opportunities to build relationships with others. The Intercordia experience is all about making friendships with people who are marginalized by injustice or circumstance and learning from them what is most valuable. Our fast paced society can overlook the importance of hospitality, generosity, community and taking time to simply “be” with others. When we let go of control and allow ourselves to be vulnerable it can feel incredibly uncomfortable. However, we often discover this can lead us to deeper knowledge of oneself as well as create a greater openness to connection with another.




The Journey of Learning is Best Made Together

Relationship and community are at the heart of the Intercordia experience. You will be immersed in your placement community, welcomed by our partners and locals and, for the time you are there, become part of their community. You will have the support of an Intercordia Mentor, who will be there to encourage, assist and help you to make the most of your experience.



Our Seminar Program

Intercordia has developed a unique pre-departure seminar formation

program to prepare and encourage participants to build relationships with the other, work in solidarity with their hosts and to engage in deep learning about the world and themselves. Many service learning programs for social justice fail because they reinforce dominant models of power; exploiting and disempowering host communities, reinforcing “us” and “them” ideas and ideas that
 poverty is an individual matter and is self-imposed. Intercordia exists to utilize the power of the service learning model to facilitate learning and transformation in both students and host communities, based upon on a respect and appreciation for religious, cultural and socio-economic diversity by living and working alongside others who are different.

Our seminars are rooted in the three values of Intercordia:

- 'Being with' people is better than 'doing for' them,

- Encountering our weaknesses and vulnerability can be the source of significant growth and connection,

- The journey of learning is best done together.

The Intercordia preparatory program works to:

• Promote students’ adaptation to a new living and work environment;

• Connect theoretical concepts to real-world situations;

• Strengthen students’ abilities in language and intercultural communication;

• Encourage students to foster relationships with a diversity of people that contribute to mutual understanding and cooperation amongst cultures.

Our seminars are rooted in the pedagogy of Jean Vanier and the lived experience of L'Arche. They are designed through a thoughtful conversation with those in the South who are receiving young people, academic literature and best practices and the experience of Intercordians who have been engaging with host partners for over a decade.