Global Opportunities

Social Work is a Global Profession

The need for social work is universal. More countries are turning to the profession to address not only ordinary human struggles but also the consequences of social inequality, human dislocation, and other structural conditions. How social work is practiced in communities around the world is shaped by local cultures, customs, and policies. NYU Silver offers an array of global learning and research opportunities through which students are immersed in different cultures; examine the distinct values, ethics, ideologies, and approaches to social work practice; and develop cross-cultural competencies and perspective. 

Close-up of a hand holding  a baseball-sized globe, with mountains rising behind it.

A Unique Social Work Degree for Global Practice

Our MSW Program at Shanghai and New York is the only MSW program of an American university in China. It educates students for global social work in a deep way, reflecting on cultural, social, political, and economic similarities and differences across these two countries. Through our generalist practice curriculum in Shanghai and specialized practice curriculum in New York City, students study and conduct fieldwork in two complex and dynamic urban environments, and receive individualized attention with small class sizes, full support for cross-cultural learning, and access to the vast resources and services at both campuses.

Intensive Study Away Courses

Note: The University is continuing to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on future travel


Buenos Aires, Argentina | Core Concepts in Child and Adolescent Trauma

The course, held in a country that was collectively traumatized by a brutal military dictatorship, focuses on the impact of trauma on the child, adolescent, and family, and provides a foundation for assessment, crisis intervention, and treatment. The curriculum is based on twelve guiding core concepts about trauma and utilizes a problem-based learning approach, in which in-depth case studies about the impact of trauma are presented so that students experience “real” cases as they actually unfold in practice.

20 students gather around their instructor in two rows in front of a chalk board

Puebla, Mexico | Health and Social Welfare Issues of Latino Migrants

The course exposes students to the complex and urgent social welfare issues impacting Latino migrants in the United States. Students develop the ability to critically and reflectively analyze how socio-political processes affect migration throughout Mexico, Central America, and the U.S. Students develop a deeper understanding of migration through a regional perspective and explore individual, community, and policy level strategies for addressing the problems associated with all stages of migration.

Five students stand in between three, small low-rise buildings with trees behind them
BS and MSW

Tel Aviv, Israel | Assessment and Treatment of Children of Substance Misusing Parents

Numerous research studies show that children of parents who are dependent on or misuse alcohol and other substances are at greater risk for various problems, which vary depending on a number of factors, including the age of the child. This course examines the nature of substance use, misuse, and addiction, and its impact on the family, particularly young and adolescent children, in both the United States. and Israel. Assessment, treatment, policy and research issues are explored. 

16 students pose in front of a gate with Hebrew lettering across the top

Washington, D.C. | Advanced Social Policy: Social Work and Legislative Advocacy

The profession of social work seeks to promote social justice through the equitable provision of benefits and services to assist all individuals, families, and communities. Advocacy for federal social welfare policies, or “policy practice,” has been and remains an important professional activity. This course provides students the opportunity to enhance their policy analysis and advocacy skills around key social welfare policy issues relevant to individuals and communities served by social workers and to engage in legislative action on Capitol Hill.

Five students flank the door to U.S. Rep John Lewis's office in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC
BS and MSW

Del Carmen, Philippines | Women’s Health and Community Well-Being: A Collaborative Ethnography

In this course, students play an active part in an ongoing research study that includes implementing interactive workshops and leading focus and discussion groups on women’s health and resilience, reproductive health, domestic violence, and community economic development. Prior to traveling to the Philippines, students are trained to work with local residents, conduct qualitative interviews, collect data, lead discussion groups using a curriculum, and to fully engage with the community. 

Two students sit on the floor and seven stand behind them between two sets of windows with the shades drawn
BS and MSW

Glasgow, United Kingdom | Comparative Mental Health Policy & Practice in the United Kingdom and the United States

This course focuses on how mental health relates to issues of social and economic justice. It compares and contrasts the approach to social welfare in these two countries with a particular focus on the differing health care systems and differences and similarities with regard to government role, funding, and role of social workers. It also presents understandings of mental health within the global context, the social determinants of mental health, and mental health reform in the U.K and the U.S. 

Five people kneel and 13 people stand behind them in the Scottish Parliament Building

Paris, France | Practice with Families: Comparative Approaches

This MSW course explores partner and family relationships and the practices and policies for working with families in the U.S. and France. Students examine the policies and services for same sex marriage, intimate partner violence, and support for new parents, as reflections of social norms in each country. Students also learn about the most prevalent clinical models for couples and family therapy in each country, and consider the beliefs that underlie similarities and differences. The course also examines help-seeking behavior regarding family problems, the expense and accessibility of family therapy, and the education of clinicians.

Paris study abroad class discussing seated around a long table, with large buildings and greenery in the background
BS and MSW

Shanghai, China | Human Services and Social Work in China: Health and Mental Health

In the past decade, China has adopted social work as a means of sustaining economic development and actualizing a “harmonious society.”  Given that social work practice skills (clinical and community) have been used in a different context, the focus of the course is for MSW students and rising seniors in the BS program to learn the different practice models, approaches and perspectives in China, and investigate how local practice can help promote human well-being and social development. Through the course, students develop a critical and analytical understanding of cross-cultural practice.

Shanghai study abroad students and professors standing in a row in front of a sign that says "Youth Zone" in English and Chinese

Both study abroad trips I took ‒ Scotland for international policy and Israel for treatment of children of substance-dependent parents ‒ were critical to my personal and professional development.

Christopher Longo, MSW '19

A Student’s View on Studying Abroad: “Do it if you can!”

Natalie Asalgado, MSW ’20, and 17 classmates traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for our ten-day course on Core Concepts in Child and Adolescent Trauma taught by Clinical Professor Diane Mirabito. Through class sessions at NYU Buenos Aires and site visits to youth-serving agencies across the city, Natalie and her peers enhanced their understanding of traumatic stress responses in children and families and how trauma influences children's lives.  According to Natalie, "Study away opportunities provide unique, immersive experiences that enhance our classroom learning I loved learning new subject material in a new environment... When I was in Buenos Aires, I could be fully present to process the course material and get to know my professor and my classmates on a more personal level."

Natalie Asalgado smiles at the camera as she sits at a computer screen