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International Social Work: Cross-Cultural Supervision of Interns from the West in India
Social work practice in a global context requires an understanding of the cross-cultural nature of practice settings in local communities and globally. One step to developing this understanding of the internationalisation of social work education, including the student internship, is to incorporate supervision by local practitioners and educators. A qualitative interview study of fourteen social work students from Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the USA completing internships in the Southwest Indian state of Kerala revealed themes of increased practice knowledge, practice skills, understanding of cross-cultural values and ethics, critical reflection and research skills development as a result of reflexive supervision provided to them by practitioners in their internship agencies and faculty from their host and home institutions. This challenging of views within one’s own culture, promoted by supervision, leads to increased capacity to engage in critical anti-oppressive practice amongst social workers.