Study abroad: London

June 8, 2016 | 11:32 AM

A group of 13 students and four faculty members from MacMurray College completed an eight-day immersion trip to London, England from May 10-18.

“London was a life changing immersion in culture, new experiences, and social work,” said Jordan Gill, of Jacksonville, IL. The junior social work major continued, “The relationships and connections I had the opportunity to develop while in London will last a lifetime.”

The trip included an exchange with the University of East London’s Social Work department, in which professors from both colleges presented research to each other’s students and faculty. The students took a full semester course titled “International Social Work” in preparation for the trip, where they learned international policy, cross-cultural communication, fundraising skills, and basic skills like filling out forms to obtain a U.S. passport.

Dr. Joseph Squillace, director of Social Work at MacMurray College, said, “This immersion trip truly changed the students’ perspectives on the world, deepening their understanding of global issues, the breadth of cultures in it, and strengthening their professional competencies in serving diverse populations.”  

While on the trip, the group visited social service agencies, including a homeless service agency and a community-based family service agency that serves the African-Caribbean population in north London, and an economic development and planning agency.

The immersion also included free time to take in all that London has to offer. Students visited the historic Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, British Museum and Brick Lane. The students’ cross-cultural experience included trying out many international foods the city has to offer.

Sophomore Chancey Sturgeon, of Alsey, IL, said, “I thought the trip was an amazing experience and has really made me realize how important it is to get out of my comfort zone, especially as the professors brought us to diverse restaurants to experiment with international foods.”

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