The School of Social Work is pleased to announce the opportunity for students to complete the Social Work Administration focus area in the context of international social work. Based in Bangkok, Thailand, students will spend their Spring Semester in residence at the Faculty of Social Administration at Thammasat University (FSA/TU), one of the most established schools of social work in Asia.
Students will learn community development as an intervention method, have a block field placement, and complete a thesis focusing on international issues. This opportunity is available to MSW students who chose their advanced practice specialization in the administrative/community development concentration and is offered in the Spring Semester of the second year of study.
“The MSW Thailand Semester Program is a challenging and enriching experience. I have studied abroad in the past, but the program gives participants a unique insight into what it’s like to work and live abroad as a social worker. This means maneuvering through a different culture and language on a daily basis, learning about other perspectives and approaches, and becoming informed about the social, political, and economic issues in another country first hand.
I interned with the Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation (TCR) in Bangkok. Through activities such as grant writing, visiting the Umpium Mai refugee camp and the Immigration Detention Center, working closely with a refugee-run community school, and joining a task force for urban refugee education, I have learned much about the kind of challenges many urban refugees face in host countries. I definitely recommend this program for anyone interested in international social work!”
– Bernadette Winter-Villaluz, class of 2014
“In Spring 2013, I had the opportunity to intern with the Labour Rights Promotion Network in Samut Sakhon, Thailand. There I was able to get involved with a variety of projects, including community outreach and awareness campaign, rescue operations, and group activities for child development. Most importantly, I got to know a great group of local friends, interesting culture and customs, and became more aware of the international migration pattern in Southeast Asia. I highly recommend this semester abroad program for those interested in international social work, but also other students to broaden their horizon and challenge themselves in their personal and professional growth.”
– Katie Tang, class of 2013
“Participating in both the Thailand Summer Internship Program and Thailand Semester Program is something I would certainly do again. Going to Thailand and having access to both international and grassroots organizations confirmed my desire to work in the realm of INGO work and taught me what it takes to work in the field. Since finishing my thesis research in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I have moved to Australia where I am currently working and my experience in Thailand has certainly helped in any job interview I have had. It shows that I am a flexible and motivated individual who is able to face challenges and work outside of my comfort zone. I strongly urge current MSW students to attend a Thailand informational meeting and consider signing up for either program! This experience will be of particular value to students who may not have travelled much outside of their home state or who have not confronted new cultural challenges before.”
– Dervla O’Leary, class of 2013
Spring Semester of each year
Students enrolling in the international focus area must take the following courses:
|Second Year Fall Semester at SDSU|
|780||Seminar in International Social Work||3 units|
|797||Thesis preparation||3 units|
|720||Civic Engagement||3 units|
|740||Seminar in Administration||3 units|
|798||Independent study in Thai culture, social welfare system, community development practice in Thailand and history||3 units|
|Beginning Thai language training||0 units|
|Second Year Spring Semester Thammasat University|
|798||Community and Social Development in Thailand||3 units|
|755||Block Placement||8 units|
|758||Seminar in Immigration issues or elective||3 units|
|Intensive Thai language training||0 units|
In essence, the first semester of the Thailand Semester Program is spent at SDSU enrolling in courses that provide content on the practice of international social work and an independent study designed to prepare students to live, work, and conduct research in Thailand.
The second semester occurs in Thailand. The block placement involves 640 hours of internship at a community-based agency under the direct supervision of a Thai social worker and with liaison support from the Faculty of Social Administration at Thammasat. The FSA has community-based practicum sites in Bangkok, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai. To anchor the field practicum, students will have a tutorial with faculty members from FSA whose expertise is in community and social development.
Students may opt to enroll in Immigration Issues offered by the School of Social Work at SDSU or develop an independent study addresses comparative policy issues which will substitute for the SW 702 Advanced Policy course.
Participating students are expected to successfully complete a Masters Thesis based on their Thailand experience under guidance for SDSU faculty. Offered in the Fall semester, SW 797 is designed to prepare students to conduct thesis research while SW 799 is structured to provide assistance to students as they conduct their research. Faculty from SDSU will assist participating student identify a thesis topic and facilitate conducing research in Thailand.
Since the MSW Thailand Semester places a premium on living and working independently in Thailand, the focus area strongly encourages students to develop Thai language skills in the first semester and to further hone those skills upon arrival in Thailand. The School of Social Work at SDSU will identify Thai language teachers and the FSA at Thammasat will arrange for individual instruction in Thailand. Students are responsible for paying language instruction fees.
Field Practicum Sites
Faculty from SDSU and Thammasat will place students in community-based agencies. Past practicum sites have been at Father Ray’s Home for Street Children in Pattaya, The Labor Protection Network in Samut Sakhorn working with Burmese migrant youth, HelpAge in Chiang Mai developing senior programming, and the Thai Refugee Foundation working with urban refugees in Bangkok.
To complete the International Focus area, students must complete a total of 35 credits, 8 of which a field practicum credits.
Students pay the normal cost of tuition at SDSU. It is estimated that the non-tuition cost of the MSW Semester in Thailand will be approximately $6,000 for a four-month stay including airfare, lodging, food, Thammasat University program fees, and in-country travel expenses.
In some instances, the community-based agency may arrange for free lodging.
Students may apply for financial aid and SDSU’s Study Abroad Scholarships, accessible from the CHHS Undergraduate International Experience financial aid page, and request the total cost (including airfare) for your international experience. Students may also wish to apply for a Graduate Research Awards which provide support for students conducting research.
For questions regarding the internship program contact Dr. David Engstrom (firstname.lastname@example.org, 619-594-5966) or Dr. Loring Jones (email@example.com, 619-594-6508)
last updated: 12/1/2015