Social Work on a Global Scale

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Social work is often thought of as a domestic career, but the reality is that a number of job opportunities exist for social workers on an international scale. Earning a Master’s in Social Work online can position you to take one of these jobs, bringing relief to an international community.

In general, the role of a social worker remains the same no matter where the work is taking place. However, international social work can be slightly different. In many ways, an international social worker is more of a “global change agent,” working across cultures and borders to bring positive change. Here are some ways that working as a social worker internationally can be different from working locally.

Social Work on a Global Scale

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Unique Challenges of an International Social Worker

In addition, social workers in international locations will need to navigate a different governmental system. Some areas may be more lax than the United States, while others may be more stringent. The amount of red tape necessary to perform an assignment can be overwhelming in some areas, while in others the lack of governmental oversight can allow for needy populations to be taken advantage of. In order to be an effective global change agent, a social worker must learn to navigate these various governmental structures.

What Is the Role of a Global Social Worker?

An international social worker can be helpful in a number of industries. Some common areas where they are needed include:

  • Facilitation of international adoptions
  • Aiding and counseling refugees
  • Assisting with disaster relief efforts after a natural disaster
  • Staffing service delivery programs, such as the Red Cross
  • Performing research into global issues in order to find ways to improve quality of life and remove injustice

What Is the Demand for Global Change Agents?

As wars, famines, and natural disasters continue to increase in number, the demand for aid workers continues to grow. However, competition for paid positions is intense. Earning a Master’s of Social Work online can help position you for improved career opportunities. Learn more about Case Western Reserve University’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences online social work program.