International Social Policy and Practice in Mexico 2012
The School of Social Work revised its international experience in Mexico during spring break 2012 to focus on social policy content. The program was designed with collaborative support from the MSU Migrant Student Services office and child welfare contacts in the National System for the Full Development of the Family (Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia/DIF) which coordinates national policy for child and family welfare. As a part of this experience, students enrolled in an on-line advanced policy course and participated in a week-long study abroad experience in Puebla, Mexico.
From Josue Melendez-Rodriguez, first year MSW student:
The experience I had in Mexico was reaffirming. My drive to be involved in the field of social work in general and my desire to become more involved in international social work specifically were reignited. After only a day or two in Mexico, I went from feeling like an exhausted and stressed-out student to feeling like an energized and motivated force for social change. Even now, just reminiscing, I feel that energy!
The schedule was packed, making the most of our time in Mexico; but the program was so interesting and inspiring that we wanted even more events on that calendar! Laughing with new friends, feeling a sense of awe while exploring a foreign country, and weeping when learning about the suffering of so many people: this experience was intensely emotional. It was worth every penny we paid, every second we spent preparing, and every ounce of energy we put into it.
Josue & Tiffany
From Tiffany Akeo, second year MSW student:
Regarding the experience: This was the experience of a lifetime!...getting the
opportunity to connect with another country's national and state-level policy
making bodies, learn from their systems, and really see that we all have very
similar missions and goals is really rejuvenating as a social worker. This
definitely magnified my interest for international social work, and allowed me
to de-bunk some of my preconceived notions...we are all people striving to help
as many others as possible, in the best ways possible, and the collaboration of
two cultures to achieve the same goals and learn from each other is, well,
Regarding the overall program: I love the fact that we are able to partner different programs, such as public health and social work, to give students these opportunities! While the schedule was a bit crazy, I would not trade those experiences for anything. I (we) went down there to experience as much as possible about another country's social welfare programs and culture, and came back with so much more...lifetime memories, relationships, and lessons that will impact each and every client that we see. I hope this program continues to grow immensely, maybe to include more partnerships and areas of study for other students as well!
The 2012 SPPM students
In a high school auditorium
At a community center with an award-winning karate team. Many of the team members came from extreme poverty, and being involved in a program like that has kept them off the streets