Meet our Students
'In Conversation' / Master of Social work
Two former and one current student sit down for an open and honest conversation about social work, life at Monash and their careers.
Episode 1 /|
Why Social Work?
Episode 2 /|
Studying Social Work
Episode 3 / |
A Career in Social Work
Master of Social Work
“I chose Monash because of the way the University presents itself, not only to students, but also to the wider community. I felt confident that Monash genuinely wants to attract students with a passion and progressive attitude to studying social work. Additionally and importantly, Monash takes an inclusive and flexible approach to part-time and off-campus study which meant I could continue working while studying my Masters.”
Since commencing the Master of Social Work, Siobhan has moved into a leadership role at work and feels that her course and the connection to Monash have already made a big difference in her career and skill development. “I have received feedback from professional connections that my practice in the field has strengthened significantly since I started my Masters. Each unit I have completed so far has enhanced a particular skill set and everything I have learnt has been relevant to becoming a professional and proficient social worker.”
Making the most out of every available opportunity, Siobhan applied for the Monash Global Discovery Program 2017 and successfully got in. Together with six other students from across faculties, she travelled to London to meet with international leaders to discuss new innovations, their pathways to success and what they believe it means to be a good leader. “This was a life changing experience and has hugely influenced my thinking not only about social work, but about what I can do as an individual.”
Master of Social Work
I’m originally from Zambia and moved to Australia in 2011. I studied media and public relations in my undergraduate degree but when it came to my master’s I wanted to do something different, something I loved and would reflect who I am and what my passion is. I took a year off to really think about what I wanted to do and social work stood out.
All my life I’ve seen how disrespectfully women have been treated, and growing up in a society where it is seen ok to be abusive towards women affected me and made me want to be the voice of the voiceless. I believe women and men should have equal rights and no one deserves to be treated with disrespect because of their gender. Being a social worker will help me make a difference to society, as it starts with me.
Studying the Master of Social Work has made me more empathetic and I look at life differently to how I used to. The opportunity to do placement while studying has expanded my knowledge and helped me put theory into practice, preparing me for the future. I hope to eventually work with women and men that are victims of abuse.
Master of Social Work
I chose to study social work at Monash because of its reputation. We get 1,000 hours of supervised professional practice and receive national accreditation.
Each week we have experts from various professional fields across Victoria come to our lectures and share their real-life experiences, as well as some contemporary issues within the field.”
As part of the course, Cam is currently completing a placement with the prevention division at the Cancer Council Victoria, which focuses on reducing preventable cancers with an emphasis on high-risk populations. “I’ve gained experience with a number of programs such as Quit Victoria, PapScreen, SunSmart, as well as the Obesity Policy Coalition. This has given me a valuable insight into advocacy for evidence-based policy reform and educating the community about ways to reduce cancer risks as well as further understanding support available to cancer patients, their families, and to various diverse groups (including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, culturally and linguistically diverse populations, and LGBTIQ community).”
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (specialising in Social Work)
As an international social work student, I think culture is the most amazing thing I have experienced. Social work is a human science. All human beings live in cultural environments. To be a good social worker, you need to understand human behaviour in certain cultural environments. The most helpful thing for me when I first started the course was to identify myself first: analysing my experience of being a human being, analysing how family, cultural background and society contexts foster me, and how these things guide my behaviour. Identifying myself helps me lessen the confusion of studying social work in a unfamiliar social context, and helps me understand my strengthens and disadvantages of how I can serve the Australian society or how I can learn from Australian social work to serve the Chinese society.
As social work is an applied/practical science, all the theories and practical methods I learned give me a belief that I can achieve my dream of helping people and making society better step by step. And it is a wonderful exploration to apply the theories and methods into practices. During this exploration, it is amazing to perceive the uniqueness of individuals, and to explore the interacting network among human beings that interweave in different cultures and societies.
Master of Social Work
I decided to enrol in the course after working in the human services sector for a few years, and becoming frustrated about how systems within this sector operate. I had realised how important the role of a skilled advocate can be for disadvantaged members of the community, and wanted to develop the skills and knowledge to make a bigger contribution in this diverse sector.
The course is delivered by excellent academic staff, with a wealth of practice experience. Throughout the course, strong emphasis is placed on the ways in which the social work profession can support social justice and sustainable communities. After the challenging and intensive experience of completing the theoretical and practical components of course, I now feel equipped with the knowledge and confidence to pursue a career that I love, and that can positively affect others. I would encourage future students with a passion for people to consider this course.
Having worked as a social work practitioner, and then later in a junior university-based research position, I wanted to pursue a PhD to investigate my own research interests, improve my skills and to continue a career in social work and policy research. I chose Monash based on the reputation of my supervisors and their commitment to educating graduate research students, as well as their enthusiasm for my research topic.
My research is a case study of residential care and child protection in a provincial city of the Philippines. Residential care settings, also known as orphanages, are widespread across the Philippines, and form a major part of approaches to children and young people’s welfare and protection. However, the reasons for this type of care are largely unclear, as are their practices, characteristics and models. Utilising a case study methodology, my research incorporates interviews with 52 young people with experiences of living in residential care, and 29 policy and program actors with expertise on residential care and child protection in the Philippines.
My PhD has been a rewarding experience, particularly the challenge of conducting fieldwork overseas and engaging with diverse and interesting people. My advice to someone considering pursuing graduate research would be to focus on finding the most suitable supervisors for you, especially researchers with overlapping research interests and approaches to research.