International Social Policy and Practice in Mexico (SPPM) 2013

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.

Click any image below to start a slideshow.

Scene from a local street market
Scene from a local street market
Some of the students pictured on their way to visit the old basilica of the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a national shrine dating from 1536. Their hotel was on the opposite side of this main square on the outskirts of Mexico City.
MSW students climb the Pyramid of the Sun in this World Heritage Site. These pre-Columbian Mesoamerican ceremonial structures were abandoned centuries before being discovered by the Aztecs.
MSW students climb the Pyramid of the Sun in this World Heritage Site. These pre-Columbian Mesoamerican ceremonial structures were abandoned centuries before being discovered by the Aztecs.
The students’ guide demonstrates how coloring agents were originally made for the vibrant  murals that have been preserved.
View of one of the biggest churches in the city of Puebla at night, taken from the students’ hotel.
Small non-motorized boats and barges called trajineras travel around the 110- mile system of waterways at Xochimilco, a World Heritage Site centered on a pre-Hispanic independent settlement city outside of Mexico City. This system of lakes and canals was the main transportation venue from the pre-Hispanic period and is popular not only with tourists coming to Mexico City, but with locals as well.
Small non-motorized boats and barges called trajineras travel around the 110- mile system of waterways at Xochimilco, a World Heritage Site centered on a pre-Hispanic independent settlement city outside of Mexico City. This system of lakes and canals was the main transportation venue from the pre-Hispanic period and is popular not only with tourists coming to Mexico City, but with locals as well.
The MSW students, pictured here at Xacxamayo, an indigenous village in the state of Puebla, where they met with residents and learned about recent development projects being done by DIF.