by Heather Doyle – firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted February 19, 2010
Let me start by saying “ni hao.” I only learned a couple of Chinese words, but I had a blast on my trip!
I’m going to start and end this with the same sentence. If you ever have an opportunity to take a class abroad or an international field internship, don’t pass it up! I was fortunate enough to participate in a study abroad class to Hong Kong and China last summer. The class focused on comparing child welfare policies between China and the US. While in China I focused my interest on learning about children with disabilities, the stigmas placed on the children and their family, and the resources available to these families.
The first week of the trip we went to Hong Kong. In Hong Kong we attended an international social work conference (Promoting Harmony and Justice in a World of Conflict), hosted by the City University of Hong Kong. The conference featured many different professors from all over the world as well as several professors from UH. The GCSW’s own Dean Ira Colby was the key note speaker. I was also able to interact with social work students from Hong Kong and learn what their experiences are and how they are different from mine. While attending the conference in our free time, I was able to tour Hong Kong and experience some of the culture. I traveled around Hong Kong using their many different transportation systems. While in Hong Kong I visited Hong Kong Island, Victoria Peak, Aberdeen fishing village, Stanley Market, and Repulse Bay.
We then flew to China and landed in Beijing. In Beijing we visited the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square and learned the history surrounding it. We also visited the Summer Palace, the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, the 2008 Olympic Village, and Ming Tombs Museum. My favorite place we visited in Beijing was the Great Wall. This was an experience I will never forget. We also went to Xian, Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Shanghai while in China.
Throughout the week in China we visited several agencies. One that stood out to me was the mental hospital we were able to tour. We had to get special permission to tour the hospital. It was interesting to see how the mental hospital was run due of the great stigma that is placed on mental health in China.
Overall, my experiences in Hong Kong and China were amazing and I am so happy I had the opportunity to be a part of a study abroad class. Emerging yourself in the culture is the best way to learn and gain a whole new perspective of what social work is about. If you ever have an opportunity to take a class abroad or an international field internship, don’t pass it up!