This paper develops a conceptual framework to understand the value of an increasing number of university study programmes that send students to the global south by learning through volunteering. We ask the research question what determines the benefit that these activities bring to the host community. To understand this, we conceptualise these activities as academic student volunteerism and propose a framework to understand the value of these activities using Callahan & Thomas’s (2005) volunteer tourism framework. We examine our research question using a single case study of a Minor programme in a Dutch university, exploring how course design and student selection affect student behaviour as an antecedent step to creating student benefits. We identify six kinds of factors that appear to promote ‘deeper’ (better) contributions and argue that these six factors require further analysis to better realise university contributions to societal development in Global South contexts.
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