Migration-Focused Chicago and Study Abroad Options
Get a copy of the Mexico Study Abroad 2020 Flyer.
Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work is creating ways to better prepare our students for practice with immigrant communities. Some of the programmatic options offered to students:
- The Migration Studies sub-specialization
- First and second year summer block field placements in Jalisco, México City or México border immersion course during Spring break
- And a 2-week long summer immersion course in Mexico City in collaboration with the Universidad Iberoamericana, ITESO - the Jesuit University of Guadalajara, and Jesuit Migrant Services of Mexico
In addition, the School of Social Work has partnered with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) to provide Spanish language courses with an emphasis on social work vocabulary. The UNAM language courses and can be taken as electives and credit can be transferred directly. For more information please visit: UNAM’s website. The study abroad program in Mexico and language classes with UNAM complement the Migration Studies Sub-Specialization, but are not required.
Note: Spanish is NOT required for the Mexico and Border Immersion Courses. But CONVERSATIONAL SPANISH IS REQUIRED for the Mexico Fieldwork Program.
All students studying abroad must complete a general application, COMING SOON.
The Mexico internship can be used as a 1st or 2nd year placement (except for students pursuing a 2nd level schools specialization field placement). Interested students will need to complete the application materials and be interviewed by Dr. Maria Vidal de Haymes. Those who wish to complete the field placement, must submit a separate application, COMING SOON.
*Information and options are subject to change based on enrollment and availability.
The School of Social Work offers an intensive border immersion course, over Spring Break in Tucson & Nogales, Arizona & Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Content for this course is covered in pre-departure sessions and during the trip.
SOWK 733 and SOWK 509:
The School also offers two courses in Mexico City. Students are required to enroll in both courses if they wish to participate in the Mexico summer course program. The courses are offered in May immediately following the May graduation. The Mexico City courses are offered concurrently and include several pre-departure sessions and two weeks of intensive study in Mexico.
Many students desiring to complete a summer-block field placement in Mexico also enroll in the Mexico City courses that immediately precede the field placement. While this option provides an excellent introduction to Mexico, it is not necessary for the field placement, which can be completed independently from the course option.
Globally, the number of individuals that have experienced displacement due to conflict, generalized violence, development projects, and environmental degradation and climate change has escalated dramatically in the last decade. Displacement can be an internal or a transnational occurrence, or have dimensions of both. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that at the end of 2014 38 million people around the world had been forced to flee their homes due to conflict and violence and 19.3 million people were forced to flee due to disasters in 100 countries that year, with hundreds of thousands more still displaced following disasters in previous years.
International migration has also grown exponentially. The number of international migrants is greater today than at any other time in history, with more than 244 million, or one in nearly every 30 persons worldwide living outside their country of birth in 2015.  Nowhere is the trend of international migration more marked that in North America between Mexico and the United States, with the most popular bilateral migration path in the world. With nearly 46 million foreign-born residents in 2013, the U.S. is the country with the largest immigrant population in the world. This figure amounts to 13% of the total current U.S. population. Furthermore U.S. immigrants and their children constitute one–quarter of the nation’s population.
While migration may present a chance to improve some life circumstances, it also poses a series of risks for migrants, particularly irregular migrants and their families that occur before, during, and after migration. Migration also presents challenges, as well as opportunities four countries of origin, transit, destination, and return. In response to these global trends and the associated human, social, and political challenges that migration presents, the Loyola University School of Social Work has responded with the development of a Migration Studies Sub-Specialization. This sub-specialization is designed to prepare social work professionals for international, transnational, and domestic practice with internally displaced persons, immigrants, and refugees.
This sub-specialization can be taken with any one of the five specializations in the MSW program. Migration courses are taken in conjunction with elected specialization course requirements. Students must complete the requirements of a main specialization i.e. Health, Schools, LDSS, Child and Family, or Mental Health. This program is compatible with all of the aforementioned specializations.
How to Apply
- Complete the following application Migration Studies Sub-Specialization Application.
- Submit your application for this sub-specialization to the program director, Dr. Maria Vidal de Haymes at email@example.com
- Advanced Standing students must submit their applications by May 1st. All others must submit their application by December 1st. Admission is at the Program Director’s discretion.
Three courses are required, (two policy and one practice course) and can be taken during any year of study: SOWK 731, SOWK 732 and SOWK 730 or SOWK 733.
- SOWK 730- Migration Dynamics and U.S. Social Policy: Only offered during the Spring semester. Meets 1 of 2 policy courses required.
- SOWK 731- Social Work Practice with Refugees and Immigrants: Only offered during the Spring semester. Meets practice courses requirement.
- SOWK 732- Migration, Social Justice, and Human Rights: Only offered during the Fall semester. Meets 1 of 2 policy courses required.
- SOWK 733-North American Migration Dynamics & Policy: Only offered during the Summer. Meets 1 of 2 policy courses required / Spanish is not required.
Migration Sub-Specialization relationship to your specialization and study abroad options
- Migration courses above are taken in conjunction with specialization requirements.
- Students must complete the requirements of a main specialization i.e. Health, Schools, LDSS, Children and Family, or Mental Health.
- Students pursuing mental health or child and family specializations do not have to take 610F or 610H. SOWK 730 or SOWK 733 substitute for the required policy courses for these tracks. However, students must complete all 3 courses for the sub-specialization in order to receive credit for the course sub-specialization; students who do drop the sub-specialization are required to take 610F or 610H if they are child and family or mental health.
Students pursuing health, schools, or LDSS have to take all required specialization courses and sub-specialization courses. However, students who are LDSS will have both policy electives and their clinical/methods course requirement upon completion of this sub-specialization (730/733 & 732=policy courses; 731=method/clinical course).
- SOWK 733 is a pre-approved course substitute for SOWK 730.
Study Abroad Options
- The study abroad program in Mexico compliments this sub-specialization but is not required.
- The Mexico internship can be used as a 1st or 2nd year placement (except for students pursuing a schools specialization; this internship must be taken in the U.S.) Students will need to work with Dr. Maria Vidal de Haymes to assess for fluency in Spanish, as some skill in this area is required.
We have partnered with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) to provide Spanish language courses with an emphasis on social work vocabulary. The UNAM language courses and can be taken as electives and credit can be transferred directly. See www.unamchicago.org for more information.
- Hilary Gilway manages all 2nd level fieldwork placements, these field work applications should be directed to her email at firstname.lastname@example.org and first level applications to Sylvia Corcoran at email@example.com. In addition to this, students who want to pursue a field placement in Mexico will also meet for an in-person interview with Dr. Vidal de Haymes and complete the Mexico-field placement application forms as well.
Access application here: General Mexico Study Abroad Application 2019
Students are REQUIRED to enroll in BOTH COURSES
SOWK 509: Policies and Strategies of Community Intervention:
- Instructor: Professor Ivan Medina.This is a 3-credit social work elective.
- Pre-requisite: None.
- Description: This course will focus on providing an understanding of community as a major element in the social environment that influences an individual’s development and behavior. Theoretical understandings of community are explored include ecological systems, communitarian, and transnational perspectives. Organizational theory and theories about community change and the tactics and strategies are examined through an exploration of various local, national, and regional governmental and nongovernmental organizations focused on migration.
- Note: If you have already taken SOWK 509, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and professor Medina at email@example.com to sign up for an independent study (SOWK 690).
SOWK 733: North American Migration Dynamics: Challenges, Opportunities, and Alternatives:
- Instructor: Dr. Maria Vidal de Haymes. This is a 3-credit migration elective.
- Pre-requisite: his is a 700 level course that can be taken by both undergraduate and graduate students. It does not have any prerequisites.
- Description: This course will focus on central themes concerning opportunities as well as challenges for fundamental social institutions presented by the contemporary migration dynamics and policies of North America. The course incorporates site visits and multiple interdisciplinary guest lectures by various researchers from Mexican Universities and research institutes, social workers from the Mexican public and private human services sector, and migrant rights advocacy organization. The class will provide an opportunity for Loyola students and students from various Mexican universities to come together to study migration-related issues affecting our respective countries and shared region.
Dates of Immersion Component
- Sunday, May 19 – Saturday June 1, 2019. Note: students must attend two half-day pre-departure class sessions in Chicago in the Spring 2019 Semester.
- Location: Mexico City, Mexico.
A detailed course schedule will be posted to Sakai in the Spring of 2019. Students must attend two half-day pre-departure class sessions in Chicago in the Spring 2019 Semester. Student must arrive to Mexico City on May 19 and must stay through June 1, 2019. Housing arrangement may be made for those that wish to arrive earlier or stay longer in Mexico City.
Sites of Interest
The immersion course includes field visits to government and non-governmental agencies. Course participants will visit several important cultural, historical, and religious sites and museums, including:
- The Frida Kahlo Museum
- The National Museum of Anthropology
- The Zona Arqueológica de Teotihuacán
- The Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe
In addition to many educational site visits, students will have one day of sightseeing where they can use the hop on and off tour bus (www.turibus.com.mx) to visit important historical and cultural sites around Mexico City, and one additional free day to see the city. Students will also have several evenings free to explore the city. The course-related site visits vary by year. A brief description of several of the sites and organizations frequently visited follow.
- Casa Tochan: This NGO, located in Mexico City, offers shelter to migrants and asylum seekers. Students have an opportunity to visit with residents of the shelter and the human rights workers that coordinate the program.
- Jesuit Migrant Services of Mexico (SJM-MX): Students will have opportunities to visit various programs supported by SJM-MX, which can include support groups for migrant women, shelters, soup kitchen, and human rights violation documentation programs. They will also have an opportunity to visit with the staff and volunteers of JMS-MX.
- Desarrollo Integral de la Familia: The students may have an opportunity to visit some of the programs of DIF, the public human service agency of the Mexican government. DIF programs attend to issues of poverty, abuse, neglect, child labor, domestic violence, health, education, and nutrition.
- $1300. Includes housing at Casa Emaús Retreat Center, meals, local transportation, field trips, hop-on-hop-off tour bus, museum entrances, and group receptions during the stay in Mexico City.
- $300 (nonrefundable), which goes toward your program fee. After submitting your application and being accepted, you can make your deposit here.
- Airline ticket, tuition, and health insurance purchased through Cultural Insurance and Services International at a Loyola University group discounted rate, find more information here.
For the past eight years, Loyola University Chicago students have been involved in intensive summer block-field placements with the people and communities in Mexico. These field-work placements have challenged students to apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations that transcend borders. These transnational opportunities also facilitate comparative and complementary understanding of social issues, social work interventions, and the role NGOs and the public sector can play in addressing social problems and promoting human capabilities. The Mexico internship can be used as a 1st or 2nd year placement (except for students pursuing a schools specialization - the 2nd year internship must be taken in the U.S.) Interested students will need to complete the application materials and be interviewed by Dr. Maria Vidal de Haymes.
- Access application form here Mexico Field Application 2019.
- Minimum conversational Spanish is required. Students must have a conversational level of Spanish to participate in the Mexico fieldwork option. Students are placed in field placements that match their interests and Spanish fluency.
- Students will be assisted by Loyola University to secure housing. Cost is approximately $250 per month for shared housing options. Housing cannot be finalized until the group size is finalized. Price may or may not include all utilities.
- Not covered. Students can buy food and cook, depending on their living situation, or eat at local restaurants.
- Dr. Vidal de Haymes co-facilitates the orientation in Mexico with the Mexican fieldwork agency supervisors. Students will remain in contact with Dr. Vidal de Haymes throughout their placement period and complete written reflections and supervisory conferences through email, phone, and Skype. Students also have a local supervisor at their placement site that provides weekly supervision. In addition, students may also have several in-person supervision and check-in sessions with professional staff or faculty from the Universidad Iberoamericana or ITESO - the Jesuit University of Guadalajara, during their stay in Mexico.
Deposit & Program Fees
- $350 (nonrefundable) deposit. Do not make a payment until after you have been interviewed and accepted into the program. Make your payment here.
- Airline ticket; housing (including utilities); local transportation; food, leisure; health insurance (purchased through Cultural Insurance and Services International at a Loyola University group discounted rate, find more information here. All program costs (other than program fee) are paid directly by student to local providers, not to Loyola.
Field Work Dates
- June, 1 to July 27, 2019
Important Dates for Courses & Field
- Applications will be accepted until the courses are full. ALL DEPOSITS are due by January 30, 2019. Last day to pay in full for internship and courses is February 28, 2019. However, students are encouraged to apply early. Note: the courses fill quickly and often have waiting lists. Your spot will not be held until application and deposit is completed (and mandatory interview for field placement completed).
Meeting Dates For Courses Pre- Departure Sessions
- Once the participant group is established, two pre-departure sessions will be held in April. The dates and times are to be determined.
Meeting Dates for Field
- Students will participate in several pre-departure sessions to prepare for the internship experience and to connect with field site supervisors. Once the group is finalized the dates for these sessions will be set.
Social Work 502: The Intersection of Oppression, Privilege & Diversity:
- Allows students a visit the Arizona-Mexico border for an immersion course that examines oppression, privilege & diversity in relation to immigration and border communities. The class is comprised of several pre-departure sessions held in Chicago during the 2019 Spring semester, followed by a six day immersion in Tucson and Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, during the 2019 spring break. A valid passport is required since part of the immersion takes place outside of the United States.
- This class can be taken by both undergraduate and graduate students as either SOWK 370-010(BSW) or SOWK 502-010(MSW), Intersection of Oppression, Privilege & Diversity taught by Professors Ivan Medina and Maria Vidal de Haymes. Students also have the option of taking the course as an independent study.
Dates of Immersion Component
- Sunday, March 3 - Saturday, March 9, 2019
- A detailed course schedule will be posted to Sakai in the Spring of 2019. Students must attend four half-day pre-departure class sessions in in Chicago.
Sites of Interest
- Kino Border Initiative/ Initiativa Kino para la Frontera: Kino has a functioning comedor or soup kitchen, that provides breakfast and lunch daily for migrants, as well as a hub to access multiple other services, such as basic health care, financial services, a shelter for women, clothing, backpacks, toiletries, phone calls, and consular access. Class participants have an opportunity to serve migrants and support the Kino mission of migrant social and pastoral accompaniment. Visit https://www.kinoborderinitiative.org/ for more information.
- Desert Walk: Kino Border Initiative staff guide class participants on a walk in the desert to familiarize students with the desert terrain and conditions. The aim of the walk it to provide students with a small approximation of the perils and difficulty experienced by irregular migrants in transit through the Arizona desert.
- Border Patrol: The United States Border Patrol (USBP) is the American federal law enforcement agency with the mission and authority to detect and prevent the entry or "unauthorized aliens", and contraband. Visit https://www.cbp.gov/border-security/along-us-borders/overview for more information.
- Operation Streamline— According to the NGO No More Deaths / No Mas Muertes: Operation Streamline “is an initiative of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice begun in 2005 with the intention of establishing “zero-tolerance” immigration enforcement zones along the U.S.-Mexico border. Under Operation Streamline, unauthorized migrants face criminal prosecution and potential prison sentences in addition to formal deportation and removal from the United States. Operation Streamline has drastically increased immigration prosecutions, making ‘Illegal Re-entry’ the most-commonly filed federal charge. In Arizona, Operation Streamline annually costs some $120 million in court proceedings and over $50 million for detention and incarceration.” http://forms.nomoredeaths.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/nmd_fact_sheet_operation_streamline.pdf).
- $900. Includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, local transportation, field trips, site seeing trips, and group reception.
- $350 (nonrefundable), which goes toward your program fee. Please make payment here.
- Airline ticket, tuition, and health insurance purchased through Cultural Insurance and Services International at a Loyola University group discounted rate. For mre information go here.
Important Dates for Courses
- Deposits and General Mexico Study Abroad Application 2019
- Students will be enrolled in LOCUS by Dr. Vidal, after submitting application materials and the deposit.
- Final payment for program fees is due January 15, 2019.
Meeting Dates for Course Pre-Departure Sessions
- Once the participant group is established, four pre-departure sessions will be held in Chicago. Dates TBD.