Recent studies, supported by the European project Europe Engage – Developing a Culture of Civic Engagement through Service-Learning within Higher Education in Europe, suggest that service-learning (SL) is an effective approach to develop personal and social learning linked to real contexts. This particular case study analyses the perceived effects of an SL programme implemented in Melilla (on the border between Africa and Europe) by Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) students. They offered a service focusing on promoting physical activity and sport among different vulnerable groups (unaccompanied foreign minors, migrants and refugees, adults with autism spectrum disorders, women in conditions of social exclusion, ex-drug addicts and vulnerable older people). This case study used a qualitative hermeneutic-phenomenological methodology. A total of 46 PETE students (36 male and 10 female) participated in one of the two editions of SL carried out in 2017–2018 and 2018–2019. Two focus groups and 46 personal reflective journals were analysed, and some interesting outcomes emerged from the thematic analysis, related to the four categories of Butin’s conceptual model, which was used as a benchmark. These findings reveal how SL can promote an inclusive Physical Education (PE) experience in such a multicultural setting. The positive results achieved are consistent with previous SL research and specifically support the applied intervention design based on the phases of Kolb’s experiential learning (1984). In conclusion, SL offers an empowering approach for multicultural education in PETE programmes, supporting the socially critical research developed in PE in recent decades.

DOI: 10.1177/1356336X211007156
ISSN: 1356-336X