This article relates my experiences establishing a service-learning program based around English- and Dutch-language tutoring in the city of The Hague. As an assistant professor of history at Leiden University College, a small liberal arts college with a curriculum focused on “global challenges,” I noted that our program was not doing enough to help students understand how so-called global challenges manifest themselves locally. Neither were we equipping students to take local action nor to deconstruct the powerful local divide between “expats” and “migrants.” In a semester-long course about multicultural education in The Hague, I have worked to remedy this by teaching students about the history and politics of Dutch education, while involving them as language tutors in a local school serving nieuwkomers to the Netherlands. By creating a space for “controlled vulnerability,” I believe the course fosters community building at multiple levels: within our own college classroom, within high school classrooms, and, at least in some small way, within the larger community of The Hague. After discussing the way community building functions at these different levels, the article closes by addressing some of the challenges inherent to “teaching community.”

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