This paper takes account of thinking arising from the ‘service learning’ experiences of many universities in the UK and North America. These practices and theories, developed in the social sciences area, address the subject of acquiring expertise, introducing the possibility of in-the-field university education in a structured form, up against and inside the ‘real world’. The paper looks at the possibility of transferring this experience to the field of ‘technical’ disciplines such as architecture and urban planning. In fact the complexity of contemporary towns and cities is subjecting these disciplines to a radical change from a teaching viewpoint where not only is a set of technical skills required of students and teachers, but also social, relationship and intercultural abilities.
Keywords: Service learning; skills; intercultural