Students talk about the Latino Leadership Initiative program's value for them in understanding the cultural issues around working with Latino populations.
"In the not too distant future, it will be a real asset to be able to engage and collaborate with Latino clients in their native language."
By mid-century, the majority of the US population will be made up of minorities, predominantly Latinos. To better prepare students to work with this diverse population, Boston College School of Social Work established a Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI) program within the MSW program.
The LLI bolsters students' linguistic and cultural competencies to work with Latino communities in the U.S. and abroad. A set of foundation and method courses will be taught in Spanish.
Assistant Professor Rocio Calvo, a native of Spain who worked in Latin America prior to joining Boston College School of Social Work, believes that adding a second language to the portfolio of graduating students deepens empathy and expands imagination, both core principles of a Jesuit education.
Calvo's research is on the incorporation of immigrants, and she is particularly interested in the determinants that make Latino immigrants successful in recipient societies.
"Social workers who are able to relate to clients and to work with clients in Spanish without the need of translators, who understand not only the language but the culture and the cultural components, give our students a great advantage to serve and relate to this population," says Calvo.
In Fall 2012, Calvo taught the "Diversity and Cross Cultural Issues" course, one of the first of two LLI courses offered in Spanish.
Students from the first cohort in the Latino Leadership Initiative came together to talk about the value this program will have for them as social workers in understanding the cultural issues around working with Latino populations. Watch the "Student Voices" video testimonials »