Study Abroad

International perspectives on social welfare are crucial to SSA's leadership role in social policy and social work. Both Clinical Practice and Social Administration students can enrich their educational experience through study abroad, regardless of their participation in a Global Social Development Practice program. We offer programs in Mumbai, India and Hong Kong and Mainland China. For students in the GSDP Program of Study, the following opportunities can count towards the study abroad requirement.

India

India 2016

SSA, in collaboration with the Tata Institute of the Social Sciences Centre for Community Organization and Development Practice, offers a five-week, intensive study abroad program each summer focused on urban poverty and community practice in Mumbai, India. The course, “Poverty, Marginalization, and Challenges to Community Practice in India,” provides SSA master's students with the opportunity to learn about key issues in international social welfare and gain field experience through intensive experiential learning in another country. The program is open to all students regardless of their concentration.

Students in India

This program is intended to be both locally grounded and explicitly comparative, and combines observation and experience in the field with coursework and structured, critical reflection. It will provide students with an intensive introduction to the ways in which social welfare is organized in India, the nature of urban poverty there, key issues confronting vulnerable populations, and the intent, organization, and implementation of particular models of community practice to address urban poverty.

About six to 10 SSA master’s students participate each year. The program is designed primarily for students during the summer between their first and second years. Classroom and field experience will be enriched by the interaction between SSA students and the local students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), a premier university of the social sciences and the first school of social work in India. Following the program each year, a small cohort of students from TISS comes to SSA to engage in a similar program of study, extending and deepening interactions and learning opportunities.

Objectives:

  • Providing an introduction to the context of community practice in India and how it compares with the United States
  • Building perspectives and sharing observations on varied dimensions of community practice within the Indian and American contexts
  • Understanding the nuances of field issues, debates, and processes of engagement within the various arenas of community practice

Structure:

  • Two full days of field observation and engagement each week at an organization working on issues of poverty in a local community
  • Classes and seminar discussions the remaining days, including weekly debriefing and critical reflection on field experience
  • Reading assignments, reflective writing assignments, and informal engagement with students and faculty
  • Group participation in Hindi language instruction
  • Orientation to and activities in Mumbai

Hong Kong and China

China 2016SSA, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University's Department of Applied Social Sciences and Peking University’s Department of Sociology in Beijing, offers an intensive two-week winter institute, “Urbanization, Migration and Poverty: State and Community Responses in Hong Kong and Mainland China.” Eight students from SSA and each of our partner universities participate in the program, along with a faculty member from each university.

China 2015

The intent of the program is to provide students with the opportunity to learn about key issues concerning the nature, contributing factors, and state and community responses to poverty, migration, and urbanization in the context of globalization. This program takes place in Hong Kong and mainland China, including Shenzhen, located in Guangdong Province in southeastern China, and Kunming, located in Yunnan Province in southwestern China. It is intended to be both locally grounded in these places and explicitly comparative, combining lectures, seminar discussion, and site visits to provide students with an intensive introduction to the ways in which poverty and migration are viewed and responded to in Hong Kong, China, and the United States.

In addition to interrogating and comparing these dynamics cross-nationally, it will provide the opportunity for regional comparison within China, including a focus on rural-to-urban and west-to-east migration. 

Objectives

The institute aims to provide students with a grounded understanding of ways to respond to urbanization in the contemporary Chinese context and to promote comparative thinking across contexts. Lectures and seminar discussion will focus on:

  • Globalization, urbanization, and social exclusion: Changing forms, issues, and debates
  • Exploring state responses across these contexts: Institutions, policies, and services
  • Understanding community responses: NGOs, social enterprise, and advocacy
  • Effective social intervention practices

Complementary lectures and seminar discussion, field visits, and workshops will be organized around investigating specific case studies in Hong Kong and China. These will include:

  • Housing and education for migrant workers and their children
  • Social economy and community enterprises
  • Asylum seekers
  • Health inequalities and policy

Structure:

  • Mostly morning classes and seminar discussions, afternoon and day-long trips to agencies and neighborhoods
  • Reading assignments, reflective writing assignments, and informal engagement with students and faculty
  • Group presentations
  • Orientation to and activities in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Kunming

 

For More Information

Please contact Cristina Gros, Assistant Director, International Programming at 773.702.7107 or at international@ssa.uchicago.edu.