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Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work


Study Abroad

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SOWK 361/SOWK 634: Families and Aging in Asia: Policy and Practice Responses to Demographic, Intergenerational, & Cultural Shifts

This 3-credit course will consider global dimensions of aging and families using the China context. The lengthening of life expectancy puts strains on informal and formal support systems for older people, but also offers unique opportunities to individuals, families, and societies.  The cultural and historical factors that shape intergenerational social work practice in modern China are important to understand in a China-specific context, what they mean for global aging, and in comparison to the US.

This course will address service delivery systems, cultural aspects of aging such as filial piety and how that may be changing, demography of aging and family structure, disability and health, family caregiving for older and younger, etc. Field visits and cultural site visits will be included.

Thursday, May 14, 2015 - Saturday, May 23, 2015

SSW Summer 2015 Study Abroad Program – Beijing
(opens in separate window)

Questions? Contact Professor Holly Nelson-Becker at hnelsonbecker@luc.edu for more details. 


The Beijing Center, China

‌The Beijing Center is located at the Beijing University of International Business and Economics in the Chaoyang district. The campus is centrally located, providing easy access to the metro line and most areas of the city.  It is a 25-minute taxi ride from the airport, a 15-minute ride from downtown, and a 10-minute ride to major shopping centers. On campus, there is a 24-hour medical clinic, four cafeterias, restaurants, and indoor and outdoor athletic facilities. Loyola University students have the option of staying at the Beijing Center campus or at a local hotel conveniently located across campus. 

Classes are held daily from 9am-12pm and the afternoons are reserved for site visits and attractions.

Lectures at the Beijing Center will be chosen from among Chinese culture, the one-child policy and Chinese family structure, advocacy for the disabled people, peoples of China and the rapid urbanization, social issues, the Chinese spiritual world, and Chinese politics. Course content will include demographic and policy aging issues, families and caregiving, health and disability, intergenerational loss, informal and formal family supports, and global aging.

Site visits will include visits to a Left-Behind Village with grandchildren and grandparents, an orphanage, a Chinese elderly community/senior center, and a Buddhist temple among others. Cultural tours will include the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City.

"China is a very large country with many diverse people and with a variety of traditions and cultural beliefs. I am very fortunate to have experienced this small part of their rich culture. It would take me staying there many years to totally understand their belief system, culture and political system. It was an honor and an eye-opening life experience that I wish all Americans could encounter."

- Manros A. Nickens, 2013 Trip Attendee

Read additional Beijing Study Abroad testimonials below, and view Photos from past Beijing trips on SSW's Facebook page.



School of Social Work · 820 North Michigan Avenue, Lewis Towers 1200, Chicago, IL 60611 · 312.915.7005

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