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Global Immersion Program China

Global Immersion Programs

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers cross-cultural immersion opportunities for students to gain a deeper understanding of other cultures and models of social service in an international setting. During the 2019 academic year, students may choose from immersion opportunities in Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.

global overview presentation
Global Program Overview

Learn more about the Global Immersion programs.
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Global Immersion Program Goals

  • Enhance the school’s curriculum
  • Demonstrate a direct connection between the areas visited and students home communities
  • Explore changing what we do as social work practitioners
  • Provide reciprocity and student/faculty engagement with partner institutions across the globe

Each program has a specific theme connected to social work practice and/or policy and takes place during the spring semester with travel to the program location during the spring break in March. Each immersion is faculty led and range in size from 20 to 25 students. Participants receive three elective credits upon successful completion of the immersion course requirements applied toward their MSW degree.

Current Programs

Social Innovation in South Africa: Approaches to Accelerating Social Change

Cape Town
Learning to work collaboratively to develop human-centered innovative solutions is key to transformational leadership and an essential factor for social development and social change. Students will gain a unique understanding of how human-centered design and design thinking is used to innovate and develop solutions to complex social problems as those faced in the South African post-apartheid era. Interacting with NGOs, government agencies and communities in Cape Town, students will learn how social change designers are developing solutions to social issues such as poverty and unemployment. In addition, they will explore outcome-based approaches used in the South African social welfare system to tackle challenging social issues that negatively affect at-risk populations.


Addressing The Grand Challenge of Social Stigma: LGBT Movements in Brazil

São Paulo
Students will experience firsthand how LGBT experiences, clinical practices and policies are implemented in Brazilian society. Different methods used for acquiring knowledge and skills, including lectures, discussion, guest speakers, and in-class activities will support experiential learning. They will connect and exchange with a growing group of social leaders, LGBT NGOs, entrepreneurs, students and faculty who are working with and advocating for the LGBT community in São Paulo, Brazil. Additionally, they will develop awareness of salient Brazilian economic, social, political and cultural issues, in order to understand the effects that such forces have on the lives of those that identify as members of Brazil’s LGBT community.


Pathways to Immigration in Mexico

San Diego, Ensenada, Mexico City and Puebla City
While the experience of migration is unique for every individual, many will face an increased risk for developing illness, disease and mental health problems. The immersion program in Mexico increases students understanding of the causes and dynamics of immigration, including the current policies and legislation that impact delivery of services to immigrant families. The program facilitates forums that expose students to the realities immigrants face, along with presentations from community leaders, activists, professionals and academics, who will share their experiences and perspectives on immigration from Mexico to the United States. Starting in San Diego, students “migrate” across the international border with Mexico through Ensenada and Mexico City, ending in Puebla City.


Pathways to Immigration in Mexico

Pathways to Immigration in Mexico


Past Programs

Modern Day Slavery: Combating Human Trafficking in the Philippines

Metro Manila
Human trafficking – the illegal trade of human beings for sexual exploitation or forced labor – is the fastest growing enterprise in the world. One of the undersides of globalization, human trafficking exists in at least 127 countries – places like the Philippines – where changing social and economic conditions have brought large numbers of people from rural areas into urban centers where they don’t have jobs, and government corruption has turned a blind eye to the epidemic. Utilizing a comparative perspective, participants will explore social action and social change strategies the United States and the Philippines use to suppress human trafficking networks. Visits to governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and other Filipina and international institutions will enlighten students how policy and social services are coordinated to curb human trafficking.