Study Social Work Abroad

Back to Programs

A Guide to Studying Social Work Abroad

Social work is one of the most important academic and professional fields because it promotes community development, responsibility, social justice, empowerment, and the wellbeing of all people. It is truly an all-encompassing discipline that extends into policy, education, health care, psychology, and more. Every country has its own structures and challenges when it comes to the treatment and regulation of its citizens. By studying social work abroad, students will be exposed to different approaches to the major themes across society, and gain valuable hands-on experience that they can apply to their own career and specialization.

Why Study Social Work Abroad

Cross-cultural understanding is critical to the goals of the field of social work, on both a national and global scale. Social workers must be able to study and learn from other models and examples in order to shape the functional systems that organize our societies. Governments must be able to learn from each other, and work with each other to achieve social harmony. Social work study abroad programs provide more context for students to develop a comprehensive framework of the field as a whole; what has been done, what needs improvement, and how to get there, that is, the relationship between domestic and foreign concerns.

Locations

Most social work study abroad programs are available in Europe, Brazil, Chile, India, and Africa.

Europe. As one of the most socially developed regions in the world, students who study social work abroad in Europe will have the opportunity to study numerous models all over the continent. Many social work study abroad programs travel to multiple countries in Europe, including Spain, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Greece, or Turkey. These are all great locations to focus on subfields of social work such as healthcare, psychology, or child and adolescent development.

Brazil. While this country has seen a lot of improvement over the last few decades, Brazil still struggles with issues of poverty, welfare, and social injustice. Social work students will have the chance to work within a multiethnic environment, including indigenous peoples and those of European or African descent, and see first-hand the impact of economic and ecological factors affecting different populations while studying social work in Brazil. Some more common challenges in Brazil include social policy, sustainability, marginalization, and inequality.

Chile. Like Brazil, this South American country is a fitting place to explore the dynamics of social work in action. Social work study abroad programs in Chile often focus on the rhetoric of human rights, including international law, humanitarian intervention, peace-building, and gender equity. Students who study social work abroad in Chile can also investigate themes of cultural identity and community development.

India. Much of India’s cultural history and social policies are rooted in a caste system, and heavily affected by the environment. This is an ideal location for investigating the relationships among community, healthcare, and globalization. Women, children, and tribal populations tend to be marginalized and vulnerable to the power systems in place. Students will have access to case studies on the economy of health, malnutrition, and grassroots approaches to health care while studying social work abroad in India.

Africa. It’s not surprising that the most common type of social work study abroad programs found in Africa deal with health care concerns: treatment, diagnosis, access, training, and resources. Whether studying social work abroad in South Africa, Madagascar, or Ghana, students will explore these challenges through a service learning approach, in the context of civic and global responsibilities.

Studying Social Work Abroad

Healthcare. Access to quality healthcare is one of the topmost concerns of social workers across the globe. Many developing nations struggle to provide proper medical materials and technology, training to medical workers, and equal access for all groups of people. Governments, communities, and villages are in need of systems and approaches to correct and improve their physical and environmental conditions. Some of these issues are rooted in deep-seated cultural belief systems that are learning how to respond and adapt to more modern practices. While studying social work abroad, students will find exploring the health care practices and systems of their host country to be truly eye-opening.

Social Justice/Human Rights. These social work courses take on some of the most difficult material facing the world today: crime, justice, legal policy, race and gender inequality, drugs, human trafficking, and labor laws. It’s important to understand the history and development of these realities in order to implement lasting social change. Students interested in this branch of social work should prepare for the mental and emotional challenges that come with studying this subject abroad.

Community & Child Development. This broader type of social work deals with the very systems that operate within our communities, and the programs and opportunities available to different groups of citizens. Studying social work abroad in this area may mean taking courses that focus on a variety of subjects, including communication, healthcare, family planning, grassroots organization, at-risk youth, or mentorship and education.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Experience. There is no substitute for hands-on experience in the field, which is of course possible through studying social work abroad. Participation in a social work study abroad program looks great on a resume, and shows a high level of engagement, understanding, and commitment to the field. Plus, it provides students with knowledge of the field and a more developed framework for tackling challenging issues in their home country.

Resilience. There is no question that studying social work abroad, especially in developing countries, exposes students to sometimes harsh and unfair conditions, like poverty, disease, and injustice. Facing these mental and emotional obstacles builds one’s resilience and resolve to help improve the lives of others. The decision to study social work abroad, or begin a career in the field, is not necessarily an easy choice; it takes heart and bravery to challenge the status quo, as well as our own individual assumptions and cultural programming.

Read More

A Guide To
Studying Social Work Abroad

READ ARTICLE

 Find Social Work Study Abroad Programs Now

Save

This listing has been saved 197 times

CISabroad

CISabroad study and intern abroad programs are some of the most affordable, comprehensive program packages available. We also don't cut any corners by offering everything you would expect from an overseas program: tuition, housing, support before, during and after; insurance, excursions, social and cultural activities, and airport pickup - all as the core of our program package. Some programs a...

Save

This listing has been saved 5 times

American Institute For Foreign Study

Spend a semester or academic year in captivating Stellenbosch with AIFS. Earn up to 15 credits studying at the University of Stellenbosch. Courses are taught in English. Choose your course of study on the Full Curriculum Program. Volunteer opportunities and a Learning for Sustainable Community Engagement Program are also options. Limited opportunities exist for students with an interest i...

Save

This listing has been saved 195 times

IES Abroad

The IES Abroad Madrid Program is designed for those who want to experience the vitality of Spain! Live in its capital city and through course enrollment at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), one of the country's most distinguished universities. Students enroll in Spanish language courses as well as courses in their academic major. Field study trips are organized to compliment spec...

Save

This listing has been saved 9 times

Boston University: Sydney Summer Internship Program

The vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Sydney, Australia, is the setting for the Boston University Sydney Internship Program, which offers eight weeks of coursework and participation in a professional internship. Courses explore Australia's political systems, contemporary culture and cinema, and its place in the modern world. Students will gain a critical understanding of the major political inst...

Save

This listing has been saved 18 times

Athena Study Abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland

Athena Study Abroad offers students the opportunity to study Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics courses in Scotland at the University of Aberdeen. The Old Aberdeen campus is the historic heart of the university and combines immaculately preserved buildings with modern facilities for learning, research, and recreation. The charming atmosphere is perfect for inspiring students whil...

Save

This listing has been saved 3 times

Semester Study Abroad in Seville, Spain - Adelante Abroad

Seville, Spain is a beloved destination among tourists. Enjoy a semester in one of southern Spain's most popular Andalusian cities! In Seville, students are sure to develop their Spanish language, conversation, and reading composition skills. Language acquisition and cultural immersion are always at the forefront of Adelante Abroad's programs. Candidates have the option to take up to five cour...

Save

This listing has been saved 44 times

Study Abroad + Community Internship at Griffith University

Study at a university in Australia and do more than learning. Bask in southeast Queensland’s average of 300 days of sunshine as well by by engaging in numerous outdoor activities. And depending on the campus you attend, you can enjoy either laid-back lifestyle close to the beach or a vibrant way of life in a bustling city. Our Community Internship is a course (subject) that allows you to gai...

Save

This listing has been saved 6 times

Syracuse University

This semester abroad program takes you to two vibrant South American cities - Cuenca, Ecuador and Santiago, Chile - to broaden your academic knowledge and refine your Spanish. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students with good academic standing and have had a minimum of two semesters of Spanish in college. It starts with a four-week intensive Spanish language study at the CEDEI In...

Save

This listing has been saved 24 times

University Studies Abroad Consortium

Spend one or two semesters in the “Sunshine State” of Australia, where a year has an average of 300 sunny days! The Gold Coast and Brisbane program is an ideal study abroad experience if you love the outdoors. Based along the country’s east coast, this program lest you explore beaches, coral reef system, rainforest, and scenic highways. The host institution is Griffith University, where you...

Save

This listing has been saved 20 times

Academic Programs International

Seville, the capital of Andalusia, sits in southwestern Spain and is known for its rich 2000 year history and beautiful weather. API at Pablo de Olavide University in Seville gives students the best of both worlds. UPO campus is about five miles or a 30 minute metro ride from the center of Seville (transportation pass included in program fee). Students study at the newer campus built in 1997 bu...

Save

This listing has been saved 75 times

ISA (International Studies Abroad)

Amman is a millennia-old Middle Eastern metropolis built on a series of hills and valleys. Steeped in history, Amman boasts many historical monuments, such as the Roman Amphitheater, Herculean Temple, and Umayyad Mosque. As the capital of Jordan, the city is a hub for culture, education, business, and tourism. Amman is one of the most diverse cities in the Middle East and offers a thriving arts...

Save

This listing has been saved 12 times

CIEE

Don’t just study in Spain – immerse yourself in the people, places, and events that have made it what it is today. Take part in CIEE’s challenging Advanced Liberal Arts program in Seville. Awaken your senses during excursions and cultural activities. Build your Spanish language skills during homestays, a conversation exchange, and more. And dive into the Spanish history and culture during cours...

Save

This listing has been saved 35 times

MAXIMO NIVEL

Get involved, make an impact, and learn to serve! University credit is available for our local service learning programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Service Learning Project Areas: - Working with Kids - Teaching English - Conservation - Construction - Animal Care - Eco-Agriculture - Indigenous Immersion - Medical & Healthcare University credit is awarded ...

Save

This listing has been saved 2 times

The University of Minnesota

Study international development in Ecuador, and experience the wonderful blend of indigenous and Spanish colonial, all while advancing your Spanish language skills. You also get the chance to contribute through a research project or an internship with a nonprofit organization while you are there. You will find opportunities to explore the complexities brought about by issues related to globaliz...

Save

This listing has been saved 2 times

Spanish Studies Abroad

The Integrated Studies Program in San Juan, Puerto Rico provides students with a chance to enrich their education through greater cultural immersion. For students who have reached at least the low advanced level, the Integrated Studies program provides the opportunity for students to enroll in all of the regular classes that are offered in Spanish with Puerto Rican students, as well as some cou...