Increasingly, educators are recognizing that international placements may be particularly effective in helping students meet core competencies consistent with the accreditation standards established by the profession, most especially CSWE Competency 2 (2015):
“Social workers understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values, including social, economic, political, and cultural exclusions, may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create privilege and power.”
Although there is an increasing interest in international placements that is evident by the rising numbers of American students completing internships in other countries (Dominelli & Thomas Bernard, 2003; Mathiesen & Lager, 2007; Rai, 2004), we recognize that there are concerns about students completing their field education in an international setting. Criticism of international placements includes concerns around safety, supervision, ethical practices in partnerships with local organizations and/or with client systems, and the lack of planning prior to student placement. We hope this information can be a resource to you as consider partnering with USP@UCU’s Social Work Emphasis to provide quality, distinctive, cross-cultural field placement opportunities for your social work students.
If you or another colleague from your school is interested in visiting USP at Uganda Christian University, please let us know. We are happy to host you as an individual, group, or can make you aware of future organized faculty visits.
- Council on Social Work Education. (2015). Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. [PDF File]. Retrieved from https://www.cswe.org/Accreditation/Standards-and-Policies/2015-EPAS.
- Dominelli, L., and Bernard, W. (2003). Broadening Horizons: International Exchanges in Social Work. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
- Hunter, P., and Hollis, C. (2013). Exploring international internships in social work Education. Field Educator, 3.1.
- Lager, P., Mathieson S., Rodgers, M., and Cox, S. (2010). Guidebook for International Field Placements and Student Exchanges Planning, Implementation, and Sustainability. Alexandria VA: CSWE Press.
- Lough, B., McBride, A., and Sherraden, M. (2012). Measuring international service outcomes: implications for international social work field placements. Journal of Social Work Education, 48:3, 479-499.
- Mathiesen, S.G., and Lager, P. (2007). A model for developing and maintain international student exchanges. Social Work Education: The International Journal, 26(3), 280-291.
- Rai, G. (2004). International fieldwork experience: A survey of U.S. schools. International Social Work, 47, 213-226.
- Sossou, M., and Dubus, N. (2013). International social work field placement or volunteer tourism? Developing an asset based justice learning field experience. Journal of Learning Design 6 (1).