This summer, 13 Boston College Social Work graduate students toured four Italian cities as part of a course designed to tackle the challenges of immigrant integration.
“Italy is the Texas/Arizona of Europe, in that it bears a disproportionate level of responsibility for the continent’s undocumented,” explains course professor Westy Egmont. In fact, a recent report found that Italy has surpassed Greece as the principal gateway for undocumented immigration into the European Union.
Throughout two weeks, the class visited with social workers, academics, and government officials in Venice, Verona, Milan, and Rome. They also met with U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, BC alum Ken Hackett.
“This trip provided us with a great opportunity to see first hand some of the efforts being made to integrate refugee populations into Italian life,” says BC Social Work student Kaitlin Porter. “We spoke with people who are on the ground, doing the actual work necessary to make the transition to a new country a smoother process.”
Upon their return to Boston, the cohort presented findings at the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI). Those in attendance included representatives from: ORI and other immigrant integration organizations, the office of Mayor Marty Walsh, and the Dante Alighieri Society.
We invite you to learn more about the cohort’s experiences at BC Social Work’s website. In addition, MSW candidate Josh McNeil tweeted throughout the group’s travels in Italy; you can check out his tweets @BCGSSW (#bcsocialworkinItaly).
To learn more about the work being done at Boston College on immigrant integration, visit the website of The Immigrant Integration Lab (IIL), an applied research lab exploring the intersection of social work, social policy, and immigrant inclusion. Professor Egmont leads the lab team.