Can we all agree on one thing about Houston and its population? Would you jump on my bandwagon to say that it is a multicultural city with a variety of different languages and cultures, even within a particular race? I often think of the projected increase of Latinos in America and the complexities that professionals in the social work arena may encounter in order to ideally provide the most effective social work practice, primarily in a clinical setting. The reality is that for best social work practice to occur, cultural competence with the population with which we will work is our ethical obligation. One of the things I recognize and always say is that being a Latina does not make me competent in working with Latinos. Therefore, it is this sense of self-awareness that definitely makes me want to learn more about Latinos and the cultures in different subgroups.
For these reasons, I am compelled to immerse myself in the studies of social work practice with the Latino population by pursuing a specialization in Trabajo Social. This may not make me an expert, but is definitely helping me to develop knowledge and skills, identify barriers, and seek the best cultural framework when working with Latinos and other groups by only taking three courses out of a list of choices! So, ask questions at your orientation, seek help from the academic advisor, or talk to the professors to get an insight of what Trabajo Social entails. I have to say that my experience in Clinical Social Work Practice with Latinos/as from last semester was an amazing one! I can only expect the same from the specialization courses I am currently taking, which are Multicultural Practice and Practice in Latino Communities. I am looking forward to every minute of new learning regarding multicultural groups, community engagement, mapping local Latino communities, and the best of all – having fun while taking Trabajo Social to heart!