Taking a look through an intersectional lens: gender, racial, ethnic, and national identity development in Latina/o students from the U.S. participating in an international social work internship in Costa Rica

As globalization and migration have become increasingly relevant, schools of social work have begun expanding opportunities for students to study abroad. International social work programs can foster personal growth in students by raising questions about their personal identities. Aspects of identity are important because they can impact how social workers view and interact with clients. Yet, research in this area is underdeveloped and has focused primarily on White students in short-term programs. This longitudinal mixed methods comparative study proposes to take an intersectional approach in examining gender, racial, ethnic, and national identity development in U.S. Latina/o social work students participating in an internship in Costa Rica. Results from the study may inform curriculum development for social work educators and may enhance pre-departure and reentry support for students in study abroad programs. Furthermore, study findings may highlight cross-cultural differences that can have implications for social work practice in Los Angeles County.

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