Global Service Learning
CSUF Strategic Plan, Goal 1, Strategy:
“Enhance global competencies through increased access to and participation in immersive learning experiences, including those focused on internationalization and home and study abroad”
The social work profession is unique in that we have an ethical and curricular mandate to “understand the global interconnections of oppression and human rights violations,” as well as being “knowledgeable about theories of human need and social justice and strategies to promote social and economic justice and human rights” (CSWE, 2015). Our program introduces students to related concepts and theories in the classroom by infusing global content throughout the curriculum, but the only way we can effectively address the global mandate experientially is through a global service-learning experience. This is particularly vital for students who plan on practicing either international social work, or with an international population, such as refugees and immigrants.
In response to the students’ growing interest in global social work, in 2014 the Social Work Department developed a 2-week international service-learning program for bilingual Spanish-speaking MSW students in collaboration with Universidad Tecnológica de Chile (INACAP), a CSUF's partner university in Chile. This service-learning program is a required component of a 3-unit elective course, MSW575: International Social Work, which can be applied toward a graduate degree in Social Work. In 2015, the Social Work Department created the second service-learning program in Korea in partnership with Pyeongtaek University, Korea. While our Agreement with Pyeongtaek University has been placed on hold due to the leadership transition of the Korean university, we are in the process of exploring a new university partnership for future programs.
MSW 575 “International Social Work” is offered during the first summer session and involves three weeks of classroom instruction where students learn the concepts and theories related to international social work so that students are well prepared for the service-learning abroad. Throughout their two-week stay in Chile, students apply the concepts and theories to social work within the context of Chilean society and culture.
Description of the Chile Program
Universidad Tecnológica de Chile (INACAP) is the largest private higher education system in Chile, educating about 1 out every 10 Chileans. Similar to the CSU system, INACAP has 25 campuses throughout Chile. In the summer of 2019, our students were immersed in 40 hours of service-learning during their two-week stay in Santiago, working closely with INACAP faculty and social work students, and local social service agencies in the Santiago area. Since all participants of the Chile Program are fluent in Spanish, their community service experiences interacting with local residents and service recipients are highly meaningful and impactful. The service-learning experience also involves classroom instruction, where CSUF MSW students attend lectures on Chilean history and culture, social welfare system in Chile, and advanced Chilean Spanish language which is reportedly somewhat different from the Spanish language that our students grew up with in the United States. Students’ service-learning experience is closely integrated into the MSW 575 course through structured reflection paper assignments and daily group discussions.