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Boston College School of Social Work
From the Blog:

2016 Global Cohort

Global Perspectives

This semester, Innovate@BCSW is following the experiences of four BC Social Work students who have embarked on international field education placements in Latin America, Europe, and Africa. Stay tuned during the spring for ongoing updates through student-crafted blog posts, video diaries, and photography.

Aislinn Betancourt
Dana Loatman
Ashlen Nimmo
Caitlin O'Donnell

Global Grad Learned to "Stay Hopeful and Curious Every Day"

Kelsey Komich at the NGO, Safe Passage

Kelsey Komich, MSW '15, was a student in the Global Practice and Latino Leadership Initiative programs. She spent her global field education placement at an NGO in Guatemala.  Read more on the Blog »


Frequently Asked Questions

Two-year, Three-year and Advanced Standing (January start) students interested in a career in international relief and development are encouraged to apply for the Global Practice Concentration. There is a separate application process for the Global Practice Concentration and a maximum of 20 students are selected each year. Strong applicants demonstrate that they have international experience, two years of professional job experience, and language abilities. The International Field Placement opportunities are only open to Boston College School of Social Work students who have been accepted into the Global Practice Concentration.

Applications for the Global Practice Concentration are accepted each year during the Fall semester. Two-year students apply in the first (Fall) semester of the program, Three-year students apply in the first (Fall) semester of their second year in the program and Advanced Standing students apply in the Fall semester prior to their January start. The Global Practice Concentration Application process involves the following:

Students who have been provisionally approved for participation in the Global Practice Concentration will be notified early in the Spring semester. Assignment to a specific field placement location and agency will occur during the following Fall semester.

Prior to being placed in an International Field Placement, accepted students must:

  • Receive health clearance from their primary care provider;
  • Remain in good academic standing;
  • Demonstrate skills and abilities that are conducive to successful completion of an International Field Placement;
  • Complete an interview with a representative of the hosting agency;
  • Attend all Global Practice meetings, workshops, and seminars including the Pre-Departure Seminar which takes place during the Fall semester prior to departure;
  • Complete all BCSSW and Agency-specific travel forms prior to departure.

To meet Global Practice Concentration requirements, it is mandatory for accepted students to complete:

  • SW 7797 Frameworks & Tools for Global Practice, SW 7747 Research Methods, and two elective course during the Summer semester;
  • SW 8806 Global Policy Issues, SW 8841 Program Evaluation, and three elective courses during the Fall semester;
  • 720 hours in an International Field Placement during the final Spring semester.

There are a variety of International Field Placement opportunities available to Global Practice students. Boston College School of Social Work has partnerships with a multitude of international non-governmental organizations which offer learning opportunities to Global Practice students. In the past, International Field Placement opportunities have included the following types of activities: program development, resource development and communications, training development and delivery, grant writing, program evaluation, policy analysis, advocacy, community needs assessment, case management, and psycho-educational group development and facilitation.

International Field Placements occur during the Spring semester of the final year of the MSW program. Students must complete 720 hours in their International Field Placement to fulfill MSW program requirements. Generally, the International Field Placement runs from January-May. Students often have the opportunity to continue the internship beyond the end of the semester, however, it is dependent upon the needs of the hosting organization, the student’s availability, and the agreement between BCSSW and the agency.

There are two sets of costs associated with the International Field Placement, the tuition costs for SW 9933/9934 or SW 9943/9944 Field Education III & IV (8 credits) and living and travel costs. The living and travel costs depend upon the location of the International Field Placement and length of stay. Living and travel costs to consider are airfare, local travel, accommodation, food, visas, vaccinations, medications, and medical supplies. Additionally, students must carry the mandated health insurance required by the State of Massachusetts. Students need to be prepared to cover all tuition, living, and travel costs. However, each year, there are usually funds available to help offset some of the travel and living costs.

Placement assignments are made based upon the needs of the agencies and the student’s knowledge, skills, experience, and interests. The student’s expressed learning needs and the learning opportunities of the hosting agency are taken into consideration when making assignments. Language skills and abilities are an important factor since students are required to be fluent in the language in which business is conducted in the country of assignment.