International Courses and Experiences

GSSW offers the opportunity to participate in internationally focused courses and experiences that include academic work followed by an in-country experience. All international courses are 3 credits and fulfill the Values for Practice course requirement for your degree. They can also be used as an elective.

See below for details and faculty contact information to learn more about each course. Availability of courses is dependent on international security risks as well as DU’s current public health protocols and are subject to change based on university risk assessments and/or public health protocol changes.

International Course Planning

Students must be enrolled in and attend all course sessions prior to the international travel opportunity. If you will finish your degree requirements prior to your term of travel, your degree will not be finalized until after the trip is complete. In addition to the course tuition, there is a separate fee for each course. Information about course fees and other anticipated out-of-pocket expenses will be provided by the lead faculty for the course.

MSW@Denver, Western Colorado and Four Corners students: Because the courses are based in the Denver Campus program, you must apply as a Visiting Student at least 6 weeks prior to the term in which the course is held in order to request to take the course. Approval is based on seat availability in the course. Courses will have a virtual attendance option available to visiting students.

MSW@Denver students:

  • If you are planning to take the travel course as your Values for Practice requirement, you will need to complete a Substitution Form to do so. Not sure which courses are Values for Practice courses? Check out your Course Planning Tool.
  • If you will be in a field internship when the travel opportunity is offered, you must have time away from your internship pre-approved by your agency. Connect with your GSSW Field Liaison first.

International Opportunities

group of students in Bosnia


Bosnia in Transition — The Social Work Response

Learn firsthand about the social work response in post-war, post-genocide Bosnia through a social justice lens. The social, cultural, historical, political, economic, religious, legal and ethnic characteristics of the former Yugoslavia are explored as context for studying the genocide that occurred in the 1990s against Bosnian Muslims.

In addition to the learning that will occur in the classroom at GSSW, students travel to Bosnia for two weeks in June/July. You'll be exposed to the local, national and international efforts toward rebuilding and healing through lectures provided by faculty at the University of Sarajevo School of Social Work, interaction with Bosnian social work students, visits to NGOs focused on post-war efforts, visits to sites important during the war, visits to war tribunal sites and exposure to current legal, economic and human service processes. A key element of the program is the time spent with survivors of the siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica genocide.

Open to all GSSW students, this course fulfills the Values for Practice or Elective course requirement. It also fulfills a requirement for the Global Social Work Certificate.

Travel Dates: June/July

A Spring Quarter class followed by travel to Bosnia for 2 weeks in June/July.

Social justice, human rights & resilience from a post-war, post-genocide perspective.

Learn More

Contact Ann Petrila if you have any questions

  • Course Planning
    • SOWK 4762: Bosnia in Transition — The Social Work Response
      • Coursework in spring quarter
      • The class meets on campus on three Thursdays from 6–8:50 p.m.
  • About Bosnia

    Bosnia is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture, turquoise rivers, charming hill towns and warm, welcoming people. This captivating place was ravaged by war and genocide in the 1990s. The Bosnian War, which took place from 1992–1995, was a conflict that illustrates issues of historical oppression and longstanding ethnic and religious clashes. The extent of genocide and other war crimes is still being determined. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, more than 100,000 people were killed (including 12,000 children), up to 50,000 women were raped and 2.2 million people were forced to flee their homes.

    Efforts to establish and maintain peace are ongoing. Work focusing on human services, reconciliation and recovery remains a tremendous need due to many factors, including pervasive PTSD, economic hardships, thousands of missing persons and casualties still unidentified, complicated legal and political issues hampering the investigation by the war crimes tribunals, and women’s issues related to the intentional and strategic use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

    The resilience of the Bosnian people will be explored through education about the efforts to move forward after the end of the war. Students have the opportunity, through a social justice lens, to gain insight into these issues that have implications for future work locally, nationally and internationally.

  • Self-Guided Bosnian Language Learning

    DU offers several Bosnian/Croatian language acquisition resources:

Bosnia Faculty Coordinator

Ann Petrila

Ann T. Petrila

Professor of the Practice, Coordinator of Global Initiatives, Director of Global Practice Bosnia

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students carrying sticks


Social Work in Kenya: Context, Empowerment and Sustainability

Offered in collaboration with the Africa Network for Animal Welfare, this course introduces students to the concept of One Health and the social, political, economic, cultural, geographic and conservation issues of Kenya and East Africa. This course is field based with strong emphasis on experiential learning and direct experiences.

Through the development of an integrated social science and ecocentric understanding of one’s place in the natural environment and a paradigm that acknowledges the interdependence and interconnection between humans and the more-than-human world, social workers practicing locally and globally can contribute to effective, strengths-based solutions to address the crises and issues facing our world. Local issues and community-based efforts that strive for socioenvironmental justice are highlighted to promote critical thinking around One Health, biodiversity protection, environmental awareness, land use, water use and the delicate balance of humane treatment and care of human and non-human animal communities.

PLEASE NOTE: This course will not be offered in 2024-2025 Academic Year


  • About Kenya

    In this course, you'll participate in an immersion experience that offers opportunities to participate in several communities in central and southern Kenya, where you'll explore the wonders of East African ecological systems. With our program partners, The African Network for Animal Welfare, we will live and learn from our mobile field camps as we meet numerous communities. We will examine the concept of One Health in person, looking at ourselves and our own communities and the then taking these observations into an explorative journey and study of the biodiversity of Kenya.


  • Course Planning
    • PLEASE NOTE: This course will not be offered in 2024-2025 Academic Year
    • SOWK 4758: Social Work in Kenya — Context, Empowerment and Sustainability
      • Coursework in fall quarter
      • 3 virtual class dates TBD
  • Learning Projects
    • Anti-poaching and de-snaring wire traps to reduce animal suffering
    • Interacting and teaching/learning in local communities
    • Working directly with wildlife guardian rangers
    • Community building, environmental conservation and sustainable practices.
    • Working with displaced persons and communities
    • Meet and work with women conservation leaders and community leaders
    • Learning about the political and governance issues facing Kenya
    • Protection of animals with Africa Network for Animal Welfare
    • Trauma recovery effort for orphaned elephants
    • Home visits in a rural community and Kibera’s urban slum with KGSA academy
    • Problem solving human-animal conflict issues
    • Visit the world’s greatest wildlife parks (Tsavo East and West)

Kenya Faculty Coordinator

Philip Tedeschi

Philip Tedeschi

Clinical Professor

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people dancing in a group

South Africa

Social Work and Social Justice in South Africa

This 3-credit course is offered in partnership with Educo Africa and takes place within the Black and Coloured townships of Cape Town, South Africa. There will also be a wilderness component with South African social workers to lay a foundation for understanding local and global issues.

  • Documentary film about the course (45 min): Please note that this film represents the flavor of the course, but the actual agencies involved will differ from those depicted.

Travel Dates: November and December 2024- Specific Dates coming soon.

  • 2024 Travel Details- Coming Soon
    • This course travels for 2 weeks at the end of November and returns at the beginning of December.  Travel dates and details coming soon. 
    • Course fee: Approximately $4,000, which covers most of your expenses while in South Africa. It is charged along with tuition.
    • Additional costs: flight (approximately $1,600 or less), about 10 meals ($5–$12 per meal), day-off excursions, souvenirs

    Program includes

    • Four days/three nights in the wilderness backpacking with South African social workers
    • Two nights home stay and tour in the Langa township and day trips to other townships to visit social work agencies
    • Four days job shadowing with South African social workers who you were with in the wilderness
    • Group excursions to Robben Island, Cape Point and the Winelands
    • Day off for your own excursions
    • Group reflection time to process your experiences
  • Course Expectations
    • SOWK 4763: Social Work and Social Justice in South Africa
      • Coursework in fall quarter
      • 3 predeparture class dates: TBD, 6–8:30 p.m.
  • Funding Resources
    • The Lauren Project
    • GoFundMe
    • Additional financial aid loans: You may increase your financial aid budget by the amount of the course fee and your airline ticket. This may or may not give you access to additional federal loans or a Grad Plus loan. Contact the Financial Aid office with questions.

South Africa Faculty Coordinator

Karen J. Bensen

Karen J. Bensen

Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work, Coordinator of Dual Degrees

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