Global Immersion Programs

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers cross-cultural immersion opportunities for students to gain a deeper understanding of other cultures and models of social service in an international setting. Students may choose from a variety of programs throughout the world, including locations in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

Global Immersion Program Goals

  • Enhance the school’s curriculum
  • Demonstrate a direct connection between the areas visited and the Southern California region
  • Explore changing what we do as social work practitioners
  • Provide reciprocity and student/faculty engagement with partner institutions across the globe

Each program has a specific theme connected to social work practice and/or policy and takes place during the spring semester. Immersions are led by faculty and range in size from 20 to 25 students. Participants receive three credits per program that can be applied to the MSW degree.

Each program has a specific theme connected to social work practice and/or policy and takes place during the spring semester. Immersions are led by faculty and range in size from 20 to 25 students. Participants receive three credits per program that can be applied to the MSW degree.

Current Programs
Modern Day Slavery: Combating Human Trafficking in the Philippines

Metro Manila

Human trafficking – the illegal trade of human beings for sexual exploitation or forced labor – is the fastest growing enterprise in the world. One of the undersides of globalization, human trafficking exists in at least 127 countries – places like the Philippines – where changing social and economic conditions have brought large numbers of people from rural areas into urban centers where they don’t have jobs, and government corruption has turned a blind eye to the epidemic. Utilizing a comparative perspective, participants will explore social action and social change strategies the United States and the Philippines use to suppress human trafficking networks. Visits to governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and other Filipina and international institutions will enlighten students how policy and social services are coordinated to curb human trafficking.

Integrative Health and Sexuality in China

Hong Kong and Shanghai

China is undergoing a major cultural shift in the areas of gender-related issues and sexuality, moving from a conservative, male-dominated culture to a more open, liberal and gender-equal society. With these changes, there are growing pains as men and women attempt to adjust. Students will be exposed to how the concept of holistic and integrative health are understood and practiced in a Chinese context, as well as how these concepts and indigenous methods are practiced in communities to achieve the goal of wellness. Knowledge gained from a 10-day visit to Hong Kong and Shanghai on the body-mind-spirit approaches to wellness should provide insight on developing creative programs to serve other populations in the United States.

Pathways to Immigration in Mexico

San Diego, Ensenada, San Quintín, Mexico City and Puebla

The United States will always attract immigrants in search of a better life. While the experience of migration is unique for every individual, many will face an increased risk for developing illness, disease and mental health problems. They also may encounter the challenge of resettlement in a new culture, often without the necessary social support for a smooth transition. The immersion program in Mexico is designed to increase understanding of the causes and dynamics of immigration, including the current policies and legislation that impact delivery of services to immigrant families. The program facilitates forums that expose students to the realities immigrants face, along with presentations from community leaders, activists, professionals and academics, who will share their experiences and perspectives on immigration from Mexico to the United States. Starting in San Diego, students will “migrate” across the international border with Mexico through Ensenada, San Quintín and Mexico City, ending in Puebla.