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Seven BSc (Hons) Social Work students have returned home following the programme’s inaugural Southeast Asian Summer School delivered in collaboration with University of the Philippines, Los Banos and Singapore University of Social Sciences.

This summer school, led by Dr Denise MacDermott, provided transformative learning experiences for students. This included fieldwork in local communities focused on innovative and creative development initiatives to combat malnutrition and support capacity building.

Students spent time at Singapore’s first inclusive pre-school AWWA Kindle Garden reflecting on the significance of inclusive education and how they apply this knowledge in their professional learning.

Ulster University students also spent time in a refuge for women and children in the Philippines and met social work staff responsible for rehabilitation and resettlement support for teenage boys and young men involved with the criminal justice system.

Dr Denise MacDermott, Subject Lead and Course Director PgDip/MSc Professional Development in Social Work, said:

“This was a life changing experience for our social work students. They were exposed to transformational learning exploring multi-cultural contexts and inclusive practice that seeks to challenges intersectional oppression and support citizens and communities to thrive.”

Professor Sven Schottmann, Associate Dean (Development and Partnerships), said:

“AHSS is committed to providing more of our students with international immersion opportunities such as Dr MacDermott’s Southeast Asian Summer School.  These extraordinary experiences are only possible because of Ulster University’s strong partnerships in the region. 

“Being able to provide tomorrow’s Social Work professionals with a broad-ranging introduction to their future field and chosen profession in Asian contexts is a privilege, and an incredible value-add to their degree.”

Student testimonials:

The Ulster University students all had a life-changing experience and shared their feedback on the experience on their return.

Paris Kosky said:

“I had the most unforgettable two weeks on the social work summer school. I learned so much about the different cultures and the way social work is practiced on the other side of the world. I gained confidence, cultural competence, and amazing friends for life. I will carry the skills I acquired into my career in social work, and I will treasure the memories forever. Thank you to our Dr Denise and everyone at UPLB & SUSS for this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Jill Young commented:

“This experience has provided me with a new outlook and new skills to make me a better practitioner. The summer school offered professional and personal growth for me, giving me the confidence to want to explore more countries and their social work structures.”

Jonathan Little said:

“We made friends for life and memories and learning that will last a lifetime! Thank you to Dr Denise, Ulster University Go Global and the staff and students from UPLB and SUSS for this amazing opportunity.”

Dr Jennifer Hamilton, Head of School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences, said:

“This was an amazing experience for our Social Work students, and I am delighted that they gained so much from this trip that will help them with both their degree and future careers.  

“Thank you to Dr MacDermott for her dedication and commitment to the students and for co-ordinating this on behalf of the School and the Faculty.  The School are committed to continuing these partnerships and building on the already strong relationships.”

This programme was a faculty led initiative delivered in partnership with the Office for Global Engagement who secured external funding to support with programme costs.

Mehvish Ashfaq, Assistant Director and Head of Global Opportunities and Experience, explains:

Faculty-led global opportunities programmes such as this are invaluable. These programs provide students with immersive learning experiences that go beyond traditional classrooms, guided by expert academic staff who bring the curriculum to life through real-life context. The personalised mentorship and hands-on learning opportunities create a transformative journey, preparing students to navigate and contribute to an increasingly interconnected world.”

Find out more:

Academic colleagues interested in delivering their own Faculty-led Go Global programme can contact for more information on programme development and funding advice.