Global Work with Immigrants Kids (GWIK)
GWIK Consortium Faculty Partners
Global Work with Immigrants Kids (GWIK), builds on the success of our previous 5 year international exchange grant (TRANSPRAC: Transatlantic Alliance for Creating a New Social Service Practitioner) and brings together the strengths of the US Social Work curriculum and the EU Social Education/Social Work curriculum by providing funded student semester exchanges within the GWIK consortium of universities.
A key component of the GWIK curriculum includes four-month abroad field internships at agencies providing services to immigrant children. Our consortium schools in the European Union to which second semester junior social work students may select from among include:
Peter Sabroe Seminariet in Aarhus, Denmark
Ramon Llull Universitat in Barcelona, Spain
Plantijn Hogeschool in Antwerp, Belgium
This distinctive consortium continues to be the only coordinated, international educational effort aimed at synthesizing the strengths of both professional models. Though we have seen an increase in study abroad opportunities for EU and US students, the majority of these international experiences are of short duration (less than one semester), and we know of no other US social work or EU social education programs that offer an international educational innovation focused on the complexity of immigration.
The US accreditation organization is the Council on Social Work Education ( CSWE) which encourages US social work programs to implement curriculum on global social work. Specifically, the CSWE Commission on Global Social Work Education recognizes the increasing numbers of global immigrants to the US, the subsequent impact on social services, and the need for an immediate response by social work programs to develop curricula that can respond to these multi-cultural changes. Likewise in the EU, the Formation d'Educateurs Sociaux Europeens (FESET), the social education professional organization) is giving increased attention to training in global, multi-cultural practice and recognizes the need for an international curriculum that can expand students' skills for work with immigrant populations.
The global demographic shifts that involve significant numbers of immigrant children suggests the critical need for social service practitioners who have the skills, knowledge and values to work within multi-cultural agency settings. In the US, the number of immigrants and refugees entering the country nearly doubled in the last 10 years. It is imperative that practitioners learn the skills that will allow them to help immigrants face complex social, cultural, health, educational, and economic problems, while recognizing the uniqueness of the immigrants' culture as they adjust to a new country. Current US social workers employed in agencies serving immigrants emphasize the importance of prospective employees having actual cross-cultural experience in preparation for understanding clients' global and cultural differences.
For more information, please contact Dr. Susan Grossman, 101 Howley Hall, 865-2519.