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Field Education Office Professional Development Workshop

BSW Cording & MSW Hooding


Newspaper with Indian students and Prof NalloThe CoSW hosted eight students from Maharaja Sayajirao (MS) University of Baroda, located in Gujarat, India, for ten days in November as part of the India Global Classroom Experience. The students were paired with a current CoSW student “buddy” as they learned about social work in the US, including education, mental health, drug and substance abuse, geriatrics, and child care. This visit is a part of an exchange program led by Ms. Sudie Nallo and Dr. Melissa Reitmeier. MSW graduate student Sarah Gray sat down with Ms. Nallo to learn more about this exciting partnership.

What is the India Global Classroom?
The India global classroom experience is a unique opportunity for students to gain knowledge about social services practices that reflect cultural standards. In January 2016, 15 CoSW students traveled to India for two weeks as a part of the exchange program. CoSW students gained knowledge in India, through the MS University, and MS students are gaining knowledge about U.S. practices. One key factor that we see from the global classroom experience is rich discussions about how Social Identities play out in the day to day lives of individuals. The global classroom allows students to talk about stereotypes and biases that we have about each other in a safe space.

The global classroom experience allows students to learn about how populations employ privilege and oppress others, or how individuals come together to use privilege to support communities. Also, this experience provides the opportunity to learn about different methods and ways to address social issues that are socially and culturally expected but not mandated in different cultures.

What is one thing that is different?
A few things that emerge as different about the CoSW program versus the Social Work Program at MS University are the procedures, practice, socialization, and methods of addressing different concepts or issues. Also, a difference in the two communities, USC and MS University, is how culture is defined. The definition of culture defines how the community treats issues and how the qualification process is justified.

What is the same in the programs?
Both programs show an equal importance around supporting and empowering populations that are marginalized. They both also expose students to the beauty of their culture. In celebrating the American culture, we can acknowledge the similarities while addressing challenges and differences that we have from an empowerment standpoint. Students from both programs are similarly hungry for experience, and extremely open to learning about other cultures.

indian studentsIn terms of practice, both programs focus on issues that are most profound and have similar methods of prioritizing needs in the community.        

What did the India students do while they were here?
The India students who visited USC participated in a lot of American culture activities. They went bowling, attended a USC football game, and took excursions to Charleston, Folly Beach, and Fort Sumter. The students stayed in the Capstone residence hall while they were visiting and ate at Gibbs Court each morning. They also attended Vista Lights, a USC talent show, and experienced music and dance at the Kroger Center for Arts.

The India students met Dr. Tayloe Harding, the Interim Dean in the CoSW, and listened to faculty lectures on topics from mental health to aging. They visited four CoSW field placement sites and were able to see how social work plays out in the placements as well as the similarities and differences between American and Indian agencies.


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