King's students travel to China on experiential learning trip
May 17, 2016
The trip is part of an exchange with the South China Agricultural University and is part of the curriculum in the third-year course, International Social Work.
King’s students have recently returned from a unique learning experience in China. A group of seven social work students in third year of the Bachelor’s program, two faculty and one staff member participated in the South China Agricultural University academic exchange in April and early May, 2016. The trip was led by Professor Siu Ming Kwok as part of the course SW4478 International Social Work - China experience. The students who take the course are then required to take a 4th year course, Transnational Social Work SW4424A.
"The academic visit to South China Agricultural University is to allow King's social work students to build social work identity by learning the social work development in China, interacting with local social work students and then comparing what they have learned about social work in Canada. The uniqueness of this project is that some of the Chinese social workers we visited have also travelled to King's in the year before. So connections between students on both sides have been made already and that made the stay in China more joyful and meaningful," says Dr. Kwok.
Natalie Villeneuve is a third year student in King’s School of Social Work. She says the most memorable learning experience of the trip was seeing that despite cultural differences between Canada and China, there are still many similarities between the way these two countries practice social work. “However, there are also many differences, and even though China may use many different therapeutic methods while working with clients, it does not make it any less effective than what a social worker would do in Canada. In fact, I think both countries could learn from each other to develop a better understanding of the various ways to successfully practice social work,” says Villeneuve.
“Being given the opportunity to go abroad and learn about social work has also given me the amazing chance to broaden my perspectives so that when I become a registered social worker, I can be more culturally competent and adjust my practice as necessary to suit different environments. With this, I think I can lessen my assumptions as a practitioner and hopefully make a more meaningful difference in someone's life,” she says.
King’s student David Knezevic says that making the trip was a worthwhile investment in his broader education in the field of social work. “The experiential learning trip to the South China Agricultural University in China (for me) was meant to broaden my experience and understanding of the world by considering how another country is trying to address social issues enshrined in the developing policies and work that they do. It was an opportunity to compare the two systems to learn more about our social services, myself, and the work that I do with people in Canada. Mission accomplished, and what an amazing experience it was!”