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Field Education

"One thing that I love about the Messiah Social Work Program is that the service learning and field experience is woven through the four years rather than only the last semester of senior year." - Sarah, '13

Field Education at Messiah Univeristy

Messiah received President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for service-learning and civic engagement. There are currently 7 required service-learning courses (SOWK120, SOWK221, SOWK250, SOWK360, SOWK475, SOWK485, SOWK490) which provide over 600 hours of community engagement for each student over the course of the major. Students are also encouraged to participate in at least one opportunity while studying social work, such as studying abroad in Uganda, Lithuania, Educador, or Chicago, and the third year curriculum is designed with enough flexibility to make this possible for students.  Each service-learning component is tied directly to curriculum:

  • First Year - Students volunteer in the community
  • Second Year - Students engage in preliminary practice through a field placement
  • Third Year - Students observe community groups and develop groups and programs on campus and in the community
  • Fourth Year - Students complete a community project and engage in 450 hours of social work practice during their senior placement

"During my sophomore year, I had the privilege of serving in two different field placements: Capital Area Pregnancy Center and New Hope Ministries in Dillsburg. While serving at the Pregnancy Center, I was given the opportunity to examine my own personal beliefs regarding the sanctity of life. Though I didn't know it at the time, this experience helped me to understand my own views and without it I probably would not know where I stand now. It was important for me to be able to examine my own beliefs to gain self awareness. When I began serving at New Hope Ministries, I was able to form and build relationships with several young teenagers who were experiencing difficult times in their lives. We formed deeper relationships by talking and playing games together each time I visited them. A fellow student and I were then able to plan a lock-in sleepover with the girls in the program, and I will never forget the good times we shared when we were able to walk alongside them in their hard times. I have never since doubted that I want to spend the rest of my life doing just that." - Kelsie Boyd 

"My experience at LCC in Lithuania has shown me what it means to fully embrace a culture different from one's own. I have been exposed to various cultural differences and ways of life in rooming with three Ukrainian students, as well as living on a co-ed floor with students from countries such as Syria, Iraq, Armenia, and Ukraine. I find myself asking others about their study abroad experience including others from my home university, and I am finding that LCC has provided me a much broader and deeper experience that I could have ever expected or imagined. It has pushed me to form a better version of myself, as an individual who will potentially be working with clients from such countries or groups of people. I believe that this semester abroad has provided me with a holistic view at working collaboratively with others and maintaining a greater self-awareness." - Cameron Walker