Location: Osijek, Croatia
Learn more about this program »
Term Abroad: Summer 2017
Major: Master of Social Work
Program Name: Croatia: International Concentration Placement
Best Memory from Abroad
During my practicum, I had to go to the coast and participate in a youth work seminar that lasted six days. One night, we all gathered and had an intercultural night. It was an amazing experience because I got to sample food from nine different countries and learned about their different customs and traditions.
The program fulfilled my coursework for the requirement of completing a 640-hour practicum. The practicum in Croatia allowed me to finish all 20 competencies that are required to complete a leadership concentrated practicum placement in the MSW program.
You learn more about yourself when you are challenged and you will build strengths that you can draw from to help you overcome adversity in the future.Sam Stuck
Initial Thoughts on Arrival
When I arrived in Osijek, Croatia, I was amazed by how healthy the river was in the city. The rivers in the United States are often polluted and can be hazardous to the public’s health if they venture into the water. However, in Osijek, the rivers are healthy, and it is a local custom to swim in the river during the summertime. It was not uncommon to see at least four or five people fishing while I was walking to my practicum in the morning.
I stayed with one of the employees from the practicum. The location of my housing was perfect because I could easily walk to the practicum and explore the city without worrying about finding alternative forms of transportation. However, it's worth noting the trams and taxi services were cheap and affordable in the city, too.
The program is expensive, but it was worth the cost. There are several different scholarships to consider: Wallace International Scholarship, the International Experience Scholarship, and grants from the campus in Bloomington. You should meet with your academic advisor and the administrator of the program to find out your options for making this program more affordable.
Leisure & Travel
I went to many different restaurants and cultural events. The city was lively, and it always had venues to see and experience. It was also easy to travel to the coast from Osijek!
The people in Osijek were friendly and I was always able to find somebody to answer a question or point me in the right direction of a location I was trying to find. The youth were especially excited to use their English with me too!
Adjusting to the culture in Croatia wasn’t very difficult. While you should learn as much Croatian as you can, you can also get around by just using English too.
Effect on Career Goals
The experience has allowed me to further develop and refine the competencies established through the MSW program. Specifically, this program has allowed me to advance my skills in research, program evaluation, and organization and community assessment of capacities. Furthermore, this practicum has given me the confidence to work independently by allowing me the experience to design and implement activities and strategies designed to enhance the capacities of stakeholders in the arena of youth work. It also provided me the opportunity to network with multiple organizations from different nations and to learn about social services in different countries and how they operate.
The most important advice I can give is that you need to be flexible and try to remember that studying abroad is an adventure. Things will not always go as expected and that’s ok. You learn more about yourself when you are challenged and you will build strengths that you can draw from to help you overcome adversity in the future.