If you love social work, then browsing social work internships may sound like an exciting endeavor. The profession remains largely neglected in today's world. Social workers are routinely underpaid while they help out the more unfortunate citizens of society. The profession of social work started in the 18th century. Once the concept of feudalism crumbled, a force of people was assigned to watch over the poorer classes.
In modern society, social work garnered steam and momentum as a legitimate profession in the early 1900's. By 1929, a total of ten social work academic programs appeared in college course listings. While this may sound small, it acted as a catalyst for change. As the decades went on, social work became more and more important. Today, social work is a noble job that people take on with honor.
With this in mind, social work internships may be on your radar. After all, internships give you the experience and confidence in yourself to help others in the community. But, what exactly makes this profession so important? And how does it affect society?
The Importance Of Social Work
Social work internships help build up positivity around the profession. Social workers do so many great things, of which helping the marginalized in society is but one. Whether it's assisting the impoverished, guiding those with mental health issues, or supporting the LGBTQ+ community, the social workers are there to help. They choose this profession to help and the effects in society show. Social workers help people in hospitals, people with disabilities, and everyone in between.
It's clear that social workers do a lot for good for society. But, how do you pursue it? What courses do you take in college? And what should you expect from these courses?
Social Work In College
The best way to obtain a social work internship is through college. Universities are the melting pot of education, and new and exciting experiences are always around the corner. Within the college experience, you learn so much with unique classes that tailor to your specific needs.
As your journey into social work ramps up, one of the classes you will have revolves around research methods. Research methods give the attendee the experience of evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence. In short, you learn through doing, as with social work internships, and by applying what you've learned. You also gather evidence from others who go out and report back what they learned. It's a reciprocal relationship that enhances learning.
Another aspect of social work in college is narrowing down which direction you want to go. Do you want to focus on the individual? Or, do you prefer to work out in the community? It's important to understand the difference, so you end up doing what you love.
Benefits Of Social Work Internships Abroad
Studying abroad is an event you need to live to believe. It changes your life in a variety of positive ways, and it's something that you will never forget. Social work internships grant you these experiences and allow you to truly find yourself and embrace a society that may not be all that familiar.
Learning different cultural values
When you immerse yourself in a different culture, you learn so much. You begin to understand how other cultures work and how people live their lives outside of your bubble. One of the first things you learn rather quickly when immersing yourself in another culture is sensitivity. Indeed, cultural sensitivity is the concept of learning and understanding that certain customs, actions, and words routinely accepted in your culture may not be accepted in another.
By learning this, you develop the skill of viewing events through another's eyes. This is extremely important for social work, as you work with a variety of people in a variety of situations.
Understanding different cultural values is important to the success of social work interns. When you learn about a different culture, you learn what's important and what isn't. A problem in the United States may not be a problem in another culture. By understanding this, you gain the wisdom that everybody is different. And, by learning this and taking it to heart, you improve your ability to empathize and solve problems successfully while in the field.
Learning that the same problems exist in all cultures
Humanity is all the same. It may not seem like it now, but it's completely true. No matter what culture you live in, everybody faces the same problems. Take, for instance, love. While the ways in which finding love and what makes that love unique is different for every culture, the concept itself is prevalent in all of them.
Some cultures believe in finding "the one true love." Others believe in pairing people up as they're born. But, the concept of love itself remains alive everywhere. Happiness is another piece of life that many people try to capture. It doesn't matter what culture you live in; true happiness seems always to be elusive.
For social workers, learning that similar problems exist in varying cultures teaches the individual something about humanity. Mainly, that people are more closely related in their behavior than you would think. Learning this important aspect of cultures gives the social worker the perspective to truly help people from a number of cultural backgrounds.
Learning various ways to solve problems
As the same problems exist in almost all cultures to some degree, so too, do the solutions. The way these solutions get implemented will differ.
If we examine the use of marijuana in two different cultures, we see radical differences in the circumstances surrounding use. In the United States, marijuana is highly illegal. Social workers need to figure out a way to help their clients who may get thrown in jail for this offense. However, in the Netherlands, the policy on marijuana is one of tolerance. You still need to smoke it in designated areas and never in public, but the consequence of being caught with marijuana is significantly lighter. Understanding these differences broadens your thinking when it comes to various solutions.
Social work internships abroad offer a fantastic opportunity to learn these various solutions and to pick the best one for the situation. Not only that, but you'll also begin to develop confidence in your abilities as a social worker.
Develop Confidence In Yourself And Your Practice
As viewed above, social work internships give you a lot of insight into how to be a better professional and an even better person. An important takeaway you get from a social work internship is the amount of confidence you will gain in yourself and the work to which you're going to devote your life.
By traveling abroad and experiencing different cultures, you will realize that you are more than capable of becoming a social worker. The nervous butterflies will disappear as you put what you learned in the classroom into practice. Not only that but being in a foreign country and experiencing a different culture demonstrates adaptability in an unfamiliar situation.
Research The Best Internship For Yourself
Now that you're ready to start researching social work internships, you need to know where to look. If you have a university in mind, searching for "social work programs" on their website should uncover all the courses. Internships.com is also an excellent source for these career-changing experiences.
If you have access to a campus, the social work department should help you get started on your way to obtaining an internship. Sometimes, the internship is a class, and you get credit for your trip abroad. These both offer you different ways to begin your research into the social work internship.
As a social worker, you change the world. Never forget that as you embark on this wonderful quest.