University of South Florida

College of Behavioral and Community Sciences


Social work students blog about study abroad experience in Spain

Group photo of students in Spain

Participants take a group photo in Granada.

USF students recently embarked on an immersive study abroad trip to examine the socio-cultural context of people's health in Spain with School of Social Work faculty Iraida V. Carrion, PhD, LCSW and Manisha Joshi, PhD, MPH, MSW. Students on the trip published a blog titled "USF Social Work in Spain 2022" in which various authors wrote a journal entry recounting each day of the two-week program. In the blog posts, they share their hands-on experiences and pictures of their adventures abroad – visiting hospitals, exploring historical landmarks, trying Spanish cuisine, living with host families, and more.

MSW student Brianna Leigh contributed to the blog. She recalled the group's visit to the billingual school Colegio El Valle as being one of the most memorable experiences of the trip.

"Being able to study abroad has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and allowed me to have experiences that I could have never imagined. My favorite experience was visiting the bilingual school on our last day of visits. In the MSW program, I am currently interning in a school, so this was the visit I was most excited for, and it absolutely fulfilled, and exceeded, my expectations. It was so interesting to see how students are taught, how they interact with teachers and other students, and learn about the role of the social worker. We were able to split into groups and sit in on a grade of our choice to see how the classroom operates. I, as well as two other students, sat in with 4th graders. We were in their classroom for about an hour before we went out to recess with them where they had the opportunity to interact with us and ask us questions. This experience was so unique and gratifying because it reminded me why I’ve always wanted to work with kids, and I also got to practice my Spanish talking to them! Reflecting on the trip, it is something I would 100% do again, and it is also something I encourage other students to do at least once in their life ... it is absolutely worth it.”

MSW student Emilie Sukijbumrung developed a sense of international comradery after meeting and talking with social work advocates in Spain. She describes leaving the study abroad experience with an empowered feeling and reminder that they are not in the fight alone.

"Spending two weeks studying social work in Spain was an unforgettable experience. Our days were jam-packed, but incredibly exciting and educational. My most-favorite activity was visiting the University of Alicante; we listened to a lecture from one of the social work professors and had an opportunity to meet and speak with undergraduate students in the university’s social work program. It felt incredibly unifying and empowering to meet other passionate, future social workers in a completely different country. We talked and laughed and shared stories - comparing our programs and experiences, and it was a beautiful and inspiring reminder about all of the passionate people and advocates (all over the world) that are fighting a similar fight that we are."

Students in Spain at bullfighting arenaStudents visit Alicante's bullring and the bullfighting museum.

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The Mission of the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences (CBCS) is to advance knowledge through interdisciplinary teaching, research, and service that improves the capacity of individuals, families, and diverse communities to promote productive, satisfying, healthy, and safe lives across the lifespan. CBCS envisions the college as a globally recognized leader that creates innovative solutions to complex conditions that affect the behavior and well-being of individuals, families, and diverse communities.