Global Practice Latin America

A Lifelong Learner

One of the greatest preocupaciones that I had coming into this trip was how little I knew about Costa Rica. As social workers, we always place such great emphasis on learning from and working al lado de la comunidad. Whenever someone asked me what exactly I would be doing in ...

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Machismo

    Machismo es un tema muy interesante para mi porque es un problema en la cultura latina en una manera muy abierto. He oído las mujeres acá se refieren machismo muchos veces, entonces las personas aquí hablan sobre eso con frecuencia, pero parece que sea muy lento para cambiar. No he oído ...

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Costa Rican Spanish

I have always has trouble pronouncing “r” and “rr” in Spanish. For example, “caro” and “carro” are two very different things. However, I pronounce them the same. To say car I usually opt for “coche” or “auto” to hide the embarrassment of my poor pronunciation. I also like to say ...

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Cultural Competency (Part Three) – Why Am I Here?

“A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggles, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust. Trusting the people is the indispensible precondition for revolutionary change.” – Paulo Freire What was my intention in taking this trip ...

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Cultural Competency (Part Two) – Why Are You Here?

“If students are not able to transform their lived experiences into knowledge and to use the already acquired knowledge as a process to unveil new knowledge, they will never be able to participate rigorously in a dialogue as a process of learning and knowing.” – Paulo Freire Human rights, ecology, gender, ...

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Example of Systemic Oppression: An Unjust Legal System in Guatemala

The Guatemalan census claims that 16 million people live in this country. In reality, it is closer to 18 million. Indigenous groups under-report in the census because they are afraid the government is trying to control them. For example, if ten people live in their home, they will state that ...

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Cultural Competency (Part One) – Colonialism

What is cultural competency? How does one become “culturally competent?” Is it ones understanding of the music in a certain culture? The food? The clothing? The customs? The traditions? Maybe… Pop Wuj (http://www.pop-wuj.org/) is a Spanish Immersion School in the heart of Guatemala in a quaint town called Xela (also known ...

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A Student Perspective on the Certificate for Social Work with Latinos/as

The certificate program consists of 4 mandatory classes and a field placement that includes at least 30% time in Spanish. The four classes are: 1. Critical Perspectives in the Latino Context: taught by Oscar Samoza, this class is a great way to get a taste for using Spanish academically and to draw ...

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Defining social work…

If ten days ago you had asked me to define “social work” or “social worker”, I would have given you some textbook definition filled with big words and academic jargon.  Today though, my definition is very different, very simple, and much more human; and I have two amazing social workers ...

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