The first graduate program at NYU Shanghai, the Master’s of Social Work partnered with NYU Silver, is beginning its third year this fall.
The third cohort’s fourteen students are spending a year in Shanghai and will finish the program in New York. “We have an excellent group of students here,” said Program Coordinator Qingwen Xu, noting the program’s two Peace Corps volunteers and the cohort’s diversity in undergraduate education.
Fanny Gutierrez-Meyers, the Student Services Advisor, connects students to resources on NYU Shanghai’s campus. “We teach from a global perspective and talk about Western models of social work and practice, as well as what is working here in China,” she said. The program follows the NYU Silver-designed curriculum to ensure students are prepared for the state-specific social worker licensing exam. “We also include Chinese culture and heritage in our teaching, to compare China’s experience and culture and other types of things with the US,” added Xu.
Ian Bjorge, 24, was impressed by NYU’s clinical reputation and chose the opportunity to come to Shanghai because of the international experience that could lead to a program like Doctors Without Borders or the Peace Corps. The students, of multiple nationalities, spend half of their week in the classroom and 26 hours each week in a community-based agency in Shanghai.
Qian Xie, the program’s Field Placement Advisor, is in charge of making these matches. She begins by ensuring the agency has a supervisor with a Master’s of Social Work. “Students have expectations for clinical training, but very few of the agencies in China are clinical,” Xie said, as social work is a growing field in China. So far, the program has worked with more than 20 agencies, Xie noted, including seven or eight that are English-speaking.
The program plans to grow to around 25 students. “We don’t want it to be huge, but we want it to be big enough so there is a variety of experiences coming in, but there is still a close community,” Gutierrez-Meyers said.
The first cohort graduated this past May with 100% job placement in their desired field, mostly at US organizations to gain their license. However, many plan on returning to China in the future.
This article was written by Allison Chesky. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
Photo Credit: NYU Shanghai