Course: MSW 930 International Social Work and Social Welfare (three credits)
Instructor: Michael O'Melia, Associate Professor of Social Work
Dates: December 26, 2014 - January 14, 2015
Primary Location: Cuenca, Ecuador
For over a decade, St. Ambrose University and CEDEI have offered a successful short-term program designed to provide serious college students, teachers, and other interested adults with an opportunity to study the language and culture of Latin America. The program includes formal classroom instruction, the opportunity to live with and learn from an Ecuadorian family, and numerous field trips to sites of cultural, geographical, and historical interest.
Social work roles and responsibilities extend beyond national boundaries. Social work and social welfare are prominent institutional vehicles through which societies assure quality of life for their citizens. Informed by a value base of human rights and social justice, social work practitioners today require understanding of the international dimensions of the social work profession, awareness of the impact of global interdependence on social work practice, knowledge of the historical and current challenges facing developed and developing worlds, and exposure to a range of global social problems. This elective course is designed for students interested in international social work and cross-national comparisons of social welfare programs and policies.
The Setting: Cuenca, Ecuador
Ecuador lies on the equator along the Pacific coast of South America. It is a country of spectacular geographical and cultural contrasts, tropical coast and beautiful beaches, snow-capped Andean volcanoes, and lush Amazon rain forest. Located high in Ecuador's southern Andes, Cuenca is the third largest city in the country. Nourished by mountain rivers, Cuenca enjoys spring-like temperatures year round.
Because of its tradition of achievement in scholarship and the arts, Cuenca has been called the Athens of the Andes. Today Cuenca is the site of three major universities, several study abroad programs, many museums, and numerous research and cultural organizations.
Cuenca was founded in 1557 on the Inca city of Tomebamba and continues to preserve its Spanish colonial heritage. The many churches dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, the colonial residences, the cobblestone streets, and several nearby artisan villages make Cuenca one of the most charming cities in Ecuador.
With a population of 250,000, the city is large enough to provide health, educational, and recreational services, yet small enough to offer personal hospitality.
Students attend classes Monday through Friday mornings for three to four hours each day. Attendance is strictly required. In most courses, field trips will supplement class time. In addition to coursework, students are encouraged to participate in cultural and social activities in the community and to take advantage of the extracurricular afternoon events including lectures, videos, and dance classes. The Program includes visits to special sites including the Inca fortress of Ingapirca, El Cajas National Park, the resort town of Baños de Ambato, the Old City of Quito, La Mitad del Mundo, the weaving and crafts centers of Otavalo, San Antonio de Ibarra, and Calderón.
Complete the online application and submit $500 application deposit to the Center for International Education (313 Ambrose Hall) by September 9.