CHHS Professor Leads a Group of MSW Students to Bangalore, India on Study Abroad Trip

School of Social Work Professor Art Frankel, a self-described “Indophile,” led a group of MSW students to Bangalore, India for a study abroad experience at UNCW’s sister school St. Joseph’s College. The trip was an opportunity for students to explore diversity in social work through the lens of an unfamiliar culture.

While in Bangalore, the nine students attended classes at St. Joseph’s, as well as visited local orphanages, a mental hospital and a drug treatment center. These visits acquainted the students with a social service delivery system that differs from the United States’ and exposed them to another country’s approach to problems such as mental illness, addiction and poverty. Frankel’s assistant (and MSW student), Lauren Hurley, presented a workshop on sex abuse prevention at St. Joseph's—a timely topic, especially in India. The presentation drew a large, vocal audience of mostly women, and was a highlight of the trip.

For the duration of their time in India, each of the MSW students was matched with a “buddy,” a MSW student at St. Joseph’s. The CHHS students and their buddies spent the majority of their time together—eating, exploring, sharing with and learning from each other. These connections were a valuable feature of the trip as they helped CHHS students relate more deeply to their study abroad experience.

“When you go [to a new place] and have personal relationships with people, it’s different than being a tourist,” says Frankel. “You see a culture when you see its people. It makes the experience really special.”