The Department of Social Work at Elizabethtown College highly encourages its majors to study abroad, either in a long-term study abroad program (a semester or a year-long experience), or through one of the many short-term, faculty-led opportunities offered by the College.
The Social Work department sponsors different short-term trips around the world for our students. In recent years, we have traveled to Vietnam and South Africa. Each trip encompasses a service learning component with members of the culture, in addition to cultural excursions with classmates and faculty.
The Social Work department leads a service learning trip every other year to Vietnam during May Term. Participants travel through Vietnam and engage in a variety of cultural activities, as well as visit at orphanages and street children centers, with our in-country partner organization, Brittany's Hope Foundation.
The Social Work department partners with Department of Psychology to co-lead a 15-day trip every other May to South Africa to help students learn about the struggles that the country has gone through, particularly around apartheid. To get a sense of the history of the country, the conflicts that have helped define it, and the steps that have been taken to solve them, students visit historic sites in Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Cape Town, as well as conduct a service learning project in Cape Town.
Social Work students traditionally study abroad either in the spring semester of their sophomore year or fall semester of their senior year. In an effort to promote study abroad in the fall of the senior year, we have worked with study abroad partners to establish internships abroad in English-speaking countries, such as England and Fiji, and Spanish-speaking countries, such as Ecuador for those with Spanish proficiency.
For example, in England, students have interned working with children with mental health needs, while in Fiji students have interned at an agency working with those with substance misuse issues. In New Zealand, students have interned at a community development agency working to develop youth support programs, and at a community mental health center.
We are proud to be one of the few programs that allows our students gain internship experience in social work both domestically and internationally. We believe that experiences abroad make for more well-rounded professionals, especially when working with people from different backgrounds. Additionally, study abroad experience is one of the most frequently cited advantages in the job search process.