Once Upon a Time…

Greetings from England!!

My name is Ashley and I am a senior Social Work student , gearing up for graduation this Spring.  The reason why I wanted to take part in this course is that I wanted to compare the United States’ Social Welfare to the United Kingdom’s Social Welfare to gain a better understanding of how other countries operate compared to the United States. 

My name is Kyann and I am a sophomore Social Work Student. I was really excited for the opportunity to travel to England for this course.  I think that it has been a great opportunity to do something  out of my normal element.   I really was  interested in getting to visit social agencies to get a better understanding of how we differ in the social services that our country provides.

Hi! My name is Kristin, and I am a senior social work student.  I am very ready to graduate in the spring and begin working, and I feel so lucky to be here in England further developing my concept of social work on a global level.

So far, our time in England has been fantastic, and flexibility has become our theme!  Christ Church University (CCU)  has gone above and beyond in providing us accommodations – we are all fully registered students, albeit only for two weeks, and have full access to their entire facilities.  Our housing has been an adventure; our rooms are spacious and we all have our own.  Electricity works in about half of our rooms, as do computers, and we have learned that power adapters do not always adapt.  The building is old and picturesque and is centrally located in the heart of Canterbury. 

We have visited three local agencies thus far: Horizons (a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center), Age Concern (an adult day center), and the Porchlight Project (a hostel for homeless individuals seeking to engage in rehabilitation for a myriad of issues).  Horizons welcomed us with a homemade lunch prepared with ingredients grown by their service users! In England, a service user is what we would call a client or consumer.  All of the agencies have been very receptive to our visits, and have flooded us with information about the unique services they provide.  They also seem extremely interested in our opinions on how their services compare with our own.  We have found that basic philosophies seem to differ; there is an emphasis on compassion, empowerment, and the state’s duty to care for its citizens that seems to be lacking in the U.S.  Service delivery is also held to an incredibly high standard.  State, local, and private agencies, as well as social work education, are all very formally structured and supervised. Collaboration among agencies is common and extensive.  We have also noticed several similarities among services here in England and those at home.  Similar problems and needs seem to exist here in communities, and so services and programs are also similar.  The need for increased funding, support, and professionals is also a common theme. 

Don’t worry, it hasn’t been all work and no play! We have found the time to visit several cultural sites, including the Canterbury Cathedral and various museums.  We have dined on delicious food, enjoyed the pub-style nightlife, and of course, done LOTS of shopping! The grass is green, and the temperature balmy!

Cheers!

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4 Comments

Filed under Student Voices

4 responses to “Once Upon a Time…

  1. Lesa Caspers

    Kristin – Whew – it sure is nice to know you’ve done some shopping!! Don’t worry about all of us Iowans stuck back here in the COLD and SNOW. Enjoy the rest of your trip!! Lesa

  2. Robyn

    What a rewarding experience for everyone!!! I am so glad that my daughter was given this opportunity along with the other students. They will have a lifetime of memories. A big thanks to Catherine, Joni and Mt. Mercy for making this trip possible.

  3. Maggie

    Sounds like you guys are having fun! I’m sorry to hear about the power adapters though. 😦 It’s interesting to learn about how social work is handled in England. Have fun learning, shopping and experiencing new things!

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