Posted by Sara Meers on August 21, 2012
Kristie Brendel, Assistant Professor of Social Work, was recently selected to be a part of a delegation of social work educators from the United States to travel to Cuba. The group stayed in Havana June 2-10, 2012, and focused their time on learning about social work education and practice in Cuba.
The trip provided the delegation with a wide variety of experiences and was sponsored by the Council on Social Work Education, a nonprofit national association representing more than 2,500 individual members, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education.
“I was through the moon that I was selected,” said Brendel. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I was very excited to be a part of.”
During her nine days in Cuba, Brendel had the opportunity to meet with social work faculty from the University of Havana as well as social workers in diverse agencies and organizations. She also visited research centers and community development programs to further understand Cuba’s social work practice.
“I wanted to learn about the realities of life in Cuba and how Cubans actually live. I feel I left Cuba with a thorough understanding of not only social work practice and education, but also how the society operates as an entity,” said Brendel. “It was surprising to see how closely communities worked. There is a lot that we can learn.”
Brendel left Cuba wanting to know more, but hopes by sharing her research and experience, she can enrich the education of Aurora University students interested in social work. She would also like to establish contacts for future collaboration with the Cuban social work community and possibly visit Cuba again with a group of AU students, so they can continue to learn about the culture.