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Highlights from Calabria Study Abroad Trip

Ever wonder what social work means across the globe? MSW students who went on our recent study abroad trip to Calabria got a first-hand glimpse of this, thanks to the participation of faculty and students from 7 countries.

Professor Orwat took 8 Loyola School of Social Work students to meet up with fellow social work professors and students from India, Italy, Romania, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and the UK at the University of Calabria – Arcavacata Campus.  This week-long trip included daily class sessions and visits to two agencies in Calabria, and it fulfilled students’ Advanced Policy elective requirement.

This year’s program focused on the attempt to define social work internationally, titled “Social Work in a Globalizing World: Voices and Experiences from Three Continents.” Through faculty presentations and student group projects, attendees gained insight into the various social conditions, problems, and contexts of social work practice around the world, as well as the format and role of social work education in different countries.

The trip was a “truly transformational experience, academically and professionally,” Professor Orwat said. “Students were exposed to new knowledge related to international social work, engaged in meaningful dialogue with social work students and faculty from different countries, and reflected critically on the impact of the experience on their academic and personal perspectives.” He especially appreciated the opportunity to connect with faculty, and to see students connecting with fellow students, about global issues within the field.

Between daily breakfast at the local coffee shop, evenings out together, project collaboration, etc., strong relationships were formed among classmates and faculty, despite the many cultures, languages, and backgrounds of the group.

“In an age where globalizing processes happen at lightning speed, programs such as this are crucial so that we understand the unique context in which social work is practiced in each country, share ideas, and develop relationships.” As all attendees would likely agree, the 2013 Calabria trip was a unique and awesome experience, and one to continue to grow from.

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