Nazareth College Department of Social Work begins its first short term international study abroad program in India, December 31, 2010 to January 12, 2011. Our study abroad is in conjunction with the Department of Social Work at Nazareth College and Rajagiri School of Social Work, Kochi, and will provide an opportunity for faculty in the Department of Social Work and graduate students in the GRC MSW Program to undertake international course study in Kochi, Kerala India.
The program objectives are:
1) To provide an opportunity for students in social work to undertake international service learning/course study
2) To provide exposure and interaction of SW students with diverse cultures and global contexts to expand their cultural competence skills in understanding and working with diverse populations both locally and globally
Kochi is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula, on the Arabian Sea, in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, India. It is arguably the ideal starting point for exploring the unfathomable diversity and beauty of Kerala. Kochi has one of the highest literacy rates for its citizens and the highest rate of women’s education.
Professor Mark Primus, Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work, and Dr. Carol Brownstein-Evans, Program Director of the MSW Program are leading the India study abroad program with 11 MSW students: Courtney Anderson, Katie Bass, Sarah Cataline, Abigail Charles, Mark Cohen, Lauren Ferrimani, Alicia Franceschi, Latrina Harrell, Brigitte Lee, Leah Piels, and Jennifer Putnam.
We have spent months preparing for this trip as the inaugural group of faculty and students to visit Rajagiri College. Our conversations began in earnest in November 2009 when Fr. Prasant visited Nazareth College; we corresponded and began to envision the trip and recruit students. In spring of 2010, Dr. Mary Venus Joseph was identified as our contact person. Through emails and phone calls, she provided our workshop and visitation schedule.
In preparation for the study abroad, the students read chapters in International Social Work: An Integrated Approach by Pawar and Cox, and articles posted on Blackboard, received from Dr. Priya Bannerjee at our collaborative institution, the College at Brockport, or researched by the graduate assistant. They explored the Family, Child Well Being, Public Health, Mental Health, and Health Care in India. They have written reflective journals and integrated content on India and international social work into some of their fall courses, and met with guest speakers, Dr. Poonan Dev, Jennifer Kumar, LMSW, and Dimple Kodiyan Martin ( from the Kerala community in Rochester) about travel and culture in India.
We look forward to sharing our experiences during our study in India with the Nazareth community and in a symposium and poster presentation later during the Spring semester.
Carol Brownstein-Evans and Mark Primus