International Social Work

A career in international social work can take place in the home country (working with refugees, for example) or abroad. If you are interested in such a career path, look for entities such as the United Nations, international NGOs, and international corporations.  Learn more about international social work here (pdf).  These are some examples of social workers doing international work:

Jaelah Kuemichal

“As a health extension volunteer for the Peace Corps I worked the local clinic, schools, and community groups to bring up issues such as HIV/AIDS, family planning, hygiene, and nutrition. In the Peace Corps, there was no typical day. Things didn’t always go as planned and I just had to roll with the punches. I would wake up in the morning not knowing if it would be a casual day doing chores and holding a meeting, or if some celebration was going to happen and I would spend the day taking part in traditional rituals and music. Anyone who is up for an adventure and has an interest in other cultures, languages, and people will absolutely love the Peace Corps! I won’t lie, it’s one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, but I actually extended my service by an extra 6 months and it was rewarding because I was really able to connect with people there and be part of a great exchange of culture and knowledge.”- Jaelah Kuemichal


Sally Dauger

“I am a case manager for the Caritas of Austin Refugee Resettlement program. I provide case management services to newly arrived refugees with the goal of successfully integrating them to their new communities. I work with a diverse group of individuals from various parts of the world; currently the populations most served are from Bhutan, Iraq and Burma. I have always been drawn to working with immigrant populations, my fascination with the acculturation process comes from both my academic and personal interest, as I come from a long line of immigrants who have settled in both the U.S. and Mexico. The most valuable tool the School of Social Work gave me was the ability to develop my practice around the use of the strengths perspective. The word ‘refugee’ for most people is synonymous with the word ‘victim.’ A person doing this work must possess the ability to look beyond the barriers that a refugee faces and to recognize the strength required to make a long journey to a new country and to retain the drive to rebuild one’s life after so much loss.” – Sally Dauger


Karin Wachter

“I was as a women’s protection & empowerment senior technical advisor at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a large organization responding to humanitarian crises such as war, conflict and natural disasters. My role was to design innovative programs that effectively mitigate the consequences of sexual and physical violence and seek to reduce women’s and girls’ vulnerability to violence. I also provided technical oversight to IRC’s programs in a number of African countries. I traveled extensively to Africa to visit the programs I was supporting. When I wasn’t traveling, I was on Skype or on the phone with our programs to problem-solve and monitor quality. I sought this type of work because of my awareness that women and girls are systematically exposed to violence, and my love of travel and immersing myself in other cultures. I got a Master in International Education from the University of Massachusetts, but if I could do it all over again, I would do a combined degree in social work, public health, and/or public policy. A lot of the problems in humanitarian work come from the fact that there are not enough humanitarian workers trained in social work. This field requires social workers!” – Karin Wachter