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Being a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.

The International Social Work Program (ISWP) is offered to Master of Social Work (MSW) students in the two-year full-time program and in the four-year part-time program. The Faculty of Social Work collaborates with international organizations that offer MSW students challenging and unique opportunities.

The ISWP was developed by the Faculty of Social Work as an innovative approach to provide you with an opportunity to advance your knowledge and theory of social work practice in countries with social, economic and political contexts that are significantly different than Canada, while encouraging the sharing of ideas among social work students, schools and practitioners around the world. The program fosters students’ understanding of global interdependence, the universality of social problems and the need to develop responses grounded in the local community.

How Does The Program Work?

The ISWP combines courses and orientation sessions with an international field placement. Students interested in the ISWP apply during the second term of their MSW program. A total of four courses are required for successful completion of the program. Two courses are offered during the spring term, followed by an international field placement in the fall term. A final course is required after the placement is completed.

When Does the International Placement Take Place?

The international placement is in lieu of the second, advanced placement, and takes place between September and December.

Who Can Apply for the International Placement?

MSW students in the two-year full-time and four-year part-time program, who successfully completed their first practicum, are eligible to apply for the ISWP. Successful completion of all first-year courses and ISWP courses, and participation in orientation sessions, are also requirements of the program.

How Many Students are Admitted to the ISWP?

Student participation the ISWP program varies each year. On average, six students participate in the program each year.

Where do Students Complete an International Placement?

MSW students apply for field placement opportunities with international agencies that the Faculty of Social Work has an established agreement with. The placements are listed every fall term on the Faculty of Social Work website with detailed information on each opportunity. Currently, the Faculty of Social Work is partnered with host agencies in China, Uganda and Ghana. Additionally, past placement opportunities were provided in Tanzania, Kenya, Peru, India and the Philippines. Students seeking new placement opportunities that are not listed on the Faculty of Social Work website are encouraged to present their proposed placement to the coordinator during the first term of their program.

Are there Funding Opportunities?

There are a few funding opportunities available to ISWP students, including:

  • The Faculty of Social Work International Practicum Bursary Fund, which is available for Laurier MSW students participating in the ISWP who demonstrate financial need (i.e. the host country is not providing financial assistance). Approximately $7,000 is distributed equally amongst students who are not receiving funding from other sources.
  • Our partner agency in China, which provides students with a monthly stipend (approximately $800/month) and covers the cost of accommodation and meals for each student.
  • The Laurier-Ghana Partnership for Human Rights and Social Justice, which is a project funded by the Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship program. Through the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee scholarship, students participating in a placement in Ghana can receive up to $6,000 in funding. Laurier graduate students interested in studying at the University of Ghana or in conducting research in Ghana for one semester are invited to send applications for Queen Elizabeth II scholarship funding. Students selected for the program are named “Queen Elizabeth Scholars.” They will engage with students and faculty of the University of Ghana as well as the people in the community, learn about the culture, and create projects and engage in activities that impact the world during their stay. Laurier MSW students have been recipients of this scholarship.
  • Some international partners offer students stipends and/or accommodation to help alleviate the cost of an international practicum.
  • Laurier International also facilitates additional scholarship opportunities that are open to graduate students completing an international placement.

Are there Fees?

You pay tuition fees at Laurier and are responsible for all expenses incurred while abroad, including health insurance. In the past, students have offset their expenses through scholarships and organizing various fundraisers. There may also be opportunities to apply for external grants. Some international organizations assist with housing or offer you a stipend towards accommodation or meals. Such financial assistance is offered at the discretion and capacity of the organization.


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