What Brought me to Social Work

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By Haojie Wang, Chinese International Student

As an old saying goes “experience is wealth.” The experience that brought me to my social work journey is that I experienced two devastating earthquakes when I was 11 and 16 years old in my home country of China. The disasters caused enormous damage and numerous casualties, and that was the first time I was exposed to the social work of the local government and many social organizations. The government provided sufferers of the earthquake with evacuation support after disasters, prevention and treatment of post-disaster epidemics, and post-disaster reconstruction. The charitable organizations offered psychological counseling to surviving children who lost their houses and parents in the disasters and helped them get rid of the sorrow and misery that might last for years though mental therapies. During this whole process, I perceived the close connections between individuals, families, and society, each playing its own part in building a better world and became increasingly concerned about government projects and charitable events in my life. Witnessing the whole process made me realize social work is everywhere in the life, and I made up my mind to begin my social work journey. I have more interest in micro social work, especially about the non-profit funding, management, programming skills, and Corporate Social Responsibility issues.

From my personal view, the priorities of social work are social justice and empathy. The social justice is for the whole social system. No matter what the focus is about micro, macro, and clinical level, social justice should be the basis of any field of social work. Since social work aims to help people get out of their tough situations and to make a positive change for the world, I believe keeping justice first can always be a crucial prerequisite of improving things for the better My second focus on “empathy” refers to being empathetic to your client and to a problematic situation. This goes for social workers, which requires social workers to immerse themselves in every circumstance that they deal with. We as social workers cannot provide a good solution if we just stand by. However, empathy differs from the sympathy. Empathy can help us understand a situation without being overly bias.

I have learned that social work is not easy an easy profession, but leading with love, justice and empathy fuels my passion for a better society and a more inclusive world.

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