International Social Policy and Practice in Mexico (SPPM) 2013
Nineteen MSW students traveled to Mexico during spring break as part of International Social Policy & Social Service Delivery in Mexico, a collaborative project of the School and Migrant Student Services, with support from Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (DIF) of Mexico, the primary public assistance agency for Mexican families. DIF functions include policy development, program development and evaluation, social service financial system management and funding allocations, community needs assessment, and direct services provision.
The students took SW822 (Topics in Policy Practice & Advocacy) and SW891 (Special Topics in Graduate Social Work) and enrich their coursework with a nine-day study abroad experience in Mexico City and Puebla, Mexico. Projects focus on comparative and applied social policy, practice, and international social work in the context of Mexican with DIF provides uniquely rich opportunities for both student and faculty to learn about Mexican social policy processes and practice applications at federal, state, and municipal levels.
Students combined agency visits and cultural activities first in Mexico City and then in the state of Puebla. They also visited the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), established more than 100 years ago, where they met with Dr. Rosa Aurora Espinosa, director of the Institute for Social Research, and other faculty, practitioners, and students.
Program organizers Marcia Lampen, Karen Newman, and José Daniel Garcia from the School and Luis Alonzo Garcia, director of Migrant Student Services, accompanied the students to Mexico.
Emily Kelly, MSW student: Sabías Qué is a non-profit providing educational services to the rural town of Xacxamayo, which is in the hills surrounding the busy city of Puebla. Had I not gone on the study abroad I would not have experienced the children laughing uncomfortably at us as we observed their classroom lesson. Nor would I have felt the pride of the women who were weaving baskets to provide for their families, who up until recently did not have the confidence to be entrepreneurs.
Sarah Shortt Williams, MSW student: The Mexican culture is warm, welcoming, historic, beautiful, and delicious! It was inspiring to meet individuals and agencies that had passion to change communities. I will certainly take this wonderful experience with me as I continue in my personal and professional life.
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