Guide to International Social Work
- Child protection
- Sex trafficking
- Feeding the hungry
- Assisting refugees
- Offering post-disaster assistance
- Promoting gender equity
- Comforting people receiving medical care
- Administering educational programs focusing on safe sex
- Domestic violence
- Promoting physical and mental well-being
Career Opportunities and Salaries
- Bachelor’s degree: 2.2% unemployment rate, $1,249 median usual weekly earnings.
- Master’s degree: 2% unemployment rate, $1,497 median usual weekly earnings.
- Doctoral degree: 1.1% unemployment rate, $1,883 median usual weekly earnings.
Pros and Cons of International Social Work
Pros of international social work
- You’ll get to travel the world. If you’ve always wanted to work in another country or immerse yourself in new cultures, a career in international social work can provide that gateway.
- You help people in need. International social workers help populations experiencing disadvantages. These might be people living in poverty, those who have been victims of an environmental disaster, or those who’ve experienced war or abuse. The work can be incredibly fulfilling because you know you’re making a positive impact.
- There’s always something new to tackle. Working as an international social worker is rarely boring. You’ll constantly be working with new people who are dealing with unique challenges. Your work might take you to locations where you’ll learn about new ways of life.
Cons of international social work
- Your home is constantly changing. Assignments may require travel on short notice. Your environment will constantly be changing. For some, this may be a positive aspect to international social work, but for those who want to set down roots or who are leaving families behind, it’s more challenging.
- There are emotional and physical challenges. International social workers are immersed in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the world, including environments that have experienced severe hardship. There may be physical challenges like a lack of sanitation, and emotional challenges involving death and destruction.
- International social work can be stressful. International social work can require long workdays in difficult conditions. These physical and emotional challenges require stable mental health so international social workers avoid burnout.
International Social Work Organizations
- International Association of Schools of Social Work: This is the global association of schools of social work, social work educators and other social work educational programs.
- International Federation of Social Workers: The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) represents 3 million social workers and 141 professional social work associations across the globe. The IFSW consults with the United Nations and other global humanitarian organizations.
- International Council on Social Welfare: This nongovernmental organization focuses on advocacy and social development throughout the world.
- “Breaking the Poverty Cycle”: This book examines how sociocultural norms can be barriers and facilitators of community and personal development. It addresses sustainable human development and examines practical implications for social work practice with those experiencing poverty.
- “Environmental Social Work”: This book teaches about the impact of the environment on human welfare, covering theories of ecological and social justice, sustainability issues and vulnerable groups affected by climate change.
- “Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective”: This book discusses female genital mutilation, an international form of abuse.
- “Green Social Work – From Environmental Crises to Environmental Justice”: This book covers social and environmental justice and how that affects the role of social work.
- “International Social Work” journal: This is the official journal of the International Association of Schools of Social Work, the International Federation of Social Workers and the International Council on Social Welfare. The journal promotes international exchange in the fields of social work, social welfare and community development.
- “Professional Social Work in East Africa: Towards Social Development, Poverty Reduction and Gender Equality”: This book describes the historical context of social work in East Africa and covers issues that affect social work in Africa today.
- “Social and Caring Professions in European Welfare States”: This book looks at social and caring professions in Europe, with research and contributions from experts in Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Poland, the UK, Norway and Finland.
- “Social Welfare in East Asia and the Pacific”: This book covers social challenges and social work practice in 11 East Asian and the Pacific countries.
- “U.S. Public Policy in an International Context”: This book examines U.S. public policies and policy development processes for issues such as elections, criminal justice and health care and compares U.S. public policy with international policies in places such as Japan, Brazil and Canada.