Community engagement projects are designed to allow students to develop “real-world” experiences during the learning process. This article is a detailed account of a Service-Learning (SL) experience of 19 Communication students and 2 teachers from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador with the communities of Sigchos and Chugchilán, in the Central Andes of Ecuador. Communication students conducted narrative research through two research methods used in journalism: personality interviews and life stories. Community members were approached with the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), because of the Covid-19 pandemic which prevented students and faculty to conduct fieldwork.
This article reflects about merging SL and life stories while underlining the characteristics of the Ignatian Pedagogic Paradigm. Even though the interaction was vicarious –with the use of ICTs– it resulted in significant learning. The dialogue with the communities and self-reflection allowed them to discover another reality; they identified with warm people and gained some knowledge about the unique richness of their land. All of this conveyed in life stories that will soon be broadcasted on the local radio. Further research is expected about the impact these stories would have on the construction of the identity of the local populations, followed by students and faculty.