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International Social Work Program

The International Social Work program at Sapir is the first and only one of its kind in Israel. This program prepares social work students for dealing with global social issues such as poverty, human rights, immigration, disaster recovery and multicultural work. During their third year, social work students in the international program take three main courses: an introductory course on international SW, a course on the practice of international SW, and a course focused on the encounter with the foreign and other. In addition, the students do fieldwork in government and non-government organizations involved in global social issues.
Throughout the year, the students take a dedicated training seminar as well as a research seminar. During the semester vacation, two groups of students travel to Ethiopia and India for a three-week period together with a member of the school faculty. A third group travels to Angola for a six-month period, also with a faculty member. Our overseas partners in this unique endeavor are the School of Social Work in Addis Ababa, the Matru Sewa Sangh Institute of Social Work in Nagpur, India, and the Fundação Arte e Cultura (Foundation for Art and Culture) in Angola.

From Sapir to Addis Ababa, Nagpur and Huambo
During the third-year semester vacation two student groups travel abroad to complete their practicum. Our collaborations with the schools of social works in universities in Nagpur (in central India) and Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, enable us to offer unique learning opportunities for our students. Under these partnerships, the students receive field training in diverse assignments. They observe and experience unique approaches to service provision and are exposed to professional solutions adjusted to different sociocultural contexts. Upon their return to Israel, the students continue their practicum in Israel, including the practical training seminar, and take a course that critically reflects on the area of international social work.
A third group of students travels to Huambo, Angola, for a period of six months – their final semester. During their stay in Angola the students take part in building the infrastructure for welfare services provided to three local orphanages. The students are also involved in supporting a sewing collective established to help local women support themselves independently and promote their empowerment.

In Addis Ababa, the students are active in three main areas: professional field training in local NGOs that provide psychosocial services; visiting local health and welfare agencies; and professional meetings with university social work students. The services to which Sapir students are assigned include a shelter for runaway girls at risk; an NGO involved in community development, preventing child trafficking and empowering woman; and an NGO active as a holistic-integrative urban development center.

In Nagpur, the social work training is designed to achieve five key objectives: (1) Train social workers able to understand and intervene in social situations affected by global trends; (2) Train social workers able to provide short-term interventions with the framework of international organizations in developing countries; (3) Train social workers able to provide interventions immediately after arriving in a foreign country, without familiarity with the local context and language, with the help of local services; (4) Conduct a comparative study on the two schools of social work in Israel and India; and (5) Hold a series of lectures on quantitative research for Indian students and professionals.

In Huambo, the social work training is designed to achieve four key objectives: (1) Train social workers able to provide long-term interventions in a foreign country; (2) Train social workers able to work with child therapy teams; (3) Develop interventions on various levels with children and adolescents; and (4) Identify focal causes of distress for long-term research and intervention efforts.