By Christina Metz, MSW candidate ’15, in India as a visiting student at Delhi University
During our second week in India, I attended orientation week for the MSW classes at the Delhi University Department of Social Work, where me and my classmates Sarah and Dawnette had a chance to attend seminars and become friends with other second-year MSW students.
I was especially moved by the beautiful and inspirational orientation ceremony for the incoming first-year MSW students. This year marked the highest number of students – totaling 94 – that the Department of Social Work has ever admitted. The Admissions Chair explained that each applicant was scored according to a point system, and rather than capping the number of admitted students at the usual amount of around 70, they ended up admitting every person who earned the requisite number of marks. While they do not have adequate space or resources in the Department – the department occupies an old building with two classrooms and no access to computers – they wanted to provide every student with the opportunity to be there. Such is their dedication to the field and to the students who wish to make an impact on India. Then came formal introductions, during which all faculty, all second years (including us three visiting second-year MSW students), and all incoming first years all had the opportunity to stand up and introduce themselves to the audience. It was a beautiful and inclusive way to recognize each individual and let their voice be heard, and the spirit and determination of the scholars was truly moving.
We’ve since begun our fieldwork at our actual agencies – Sarah and I are working at Kat-Katha with commercial sex workers in the red light district of Delhi, and Dawnette will be working with homeless children at the Aman Biradari Kilkari Shelter for Homeless Girls. I feel our real work is just beginning.