Angelo State University students study socialism, culture and diversity on summer trip to Europe

SAN ANGELO – A group of social work students and faculty from Angelo State University had the opportunity to engage with a large group of Ukrainian refugee families on a month-long study trip abroad in Europe this summer.

ASU reports that the trip, titled “One Europe”, was designed for students to study the European welfare system, as well as European culture and diversity, and learn more about the origin of social services. social protection. It included stops at universities, social service agencies and cultural sites in the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands and Romania.

In Bucharest, Romania, the group met Ukrainian refugees who had fled the Russian invasion of their home country. Dr. Thomas Starkey, chair of ASU’s Department of Social Work and Sociology, led the study-abroad trip.

“I arranged with my contact and colleague in Romania the opportunity to visit the Innocent Foundation, the organization in Romania that provides services to Ukrainian refugees,” Starkey said. “There were about 50 families who were there and receiving services. Our ASU students and faculty were able to engage with the refugees on two separate occasions, primarily through activities with the children.”

Valentina Maghirescu, director of the Bucharest branch of the Innocent Foundation (Fundatia Inocenti), coordinated ASU’s visits with the refugees.

“It was a joy to have the group of students from Angelo State University visit our programs,” said Maghirescu. “They got to see what we do in our regular education program, but they also got involved in the work we do with refugee children. From the second they walked into the center, they were eager to help and they sprang into action. They brought big smiles to every face of the children, playing in the yard and teaching them how to fly kites. May I add that the students have chosen an excellent area to study and that they will become great professionals one day.

The ASU students participating in the “One Europe” study abroad trip were:

  • Madison Balladares of San Angelo
  • Charlene Cardenas of San Angelo
  • San Angelo Keegen Crane
  • Felicia Garcia of San Angelo
  • Bella King of Kerrville
  • Adrea Mont de Lorenzo
  • Jessie Superville from Smithville
  • Noelia Tovar from San Angelo
  • Madison Wallace of San Antonio

ASU social work faculty members Dr. Anne Scaggs and Ingrid Russo also helped lead the study abroad trip with Starkey. The academic component of the trip also involved professors from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the University of Frankfurt in Germany and the University of Bucharest in Romania.

Helen D. Jessen