Michigan State University: Finland - International Social Policy & Social Service Delivery in Finland

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 This short-term, graduate study abroad program is designed for students in social work and those interested in related fields such as health sciences, public policy or law.  This 6 credit hour summer program combines a ten week on-line course wit... read more

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 This short-term, graduate study abroad program is designed for students in social work and those interested in related fields such as health sciences, public policy or law.  This 6 credit hour summer program combines a ten week on-line course with two weeks of study abroad in Finland and a day trip to Estonia. Study will include history, economy and government as it is relevant to understanding Finnish social policy development; trends and shifts in education and policy regarding social work especially as it is affected by the European Union and professional organizations; and service provision to those who need physical and mental health care—either institutionally or in the community—from infants to elderly.

Located between Sweden and Russia, Finland has a total population of about 5.3 million with 1.3 million living in or around the capital, Helsinki.  Finnish and Swedish are the official languages although only about 5% of the population is native Swedish speakers and most people in Finland speak English.  One-quarter of the country’s surface area lies north of the Arctic Circle which means in summer it is light almost 24 hours a day.  Finland is a Nordic democracy and welfare society and has been a member of the European Union since 1995.  This makes the comparative policy focus of this class particularly interesting and relevant for MSU students of social policy.  The Finnish social services and health care system is characterized by universalistic principles and financed mainly through general taxation—access to public care is considered a universal benefit rather than that based on an ability to pay.  Poverty rates in the Nordic countries have consistently been the lowest in the world and they have shown that it is possible to combine equality, a welfare state, and high levels of taxation without compromising economic growth.  We believe students can learn valuable lessons from the Finnish system about alternative ways of structuring health and social services and the pros and cons of this system.

Program Type(s):
Study Abroad
Program Length(s):
  • Summer
Instruction Language(s):
  • English
Relevant Study Subject(s):
  • Social Service Professions
Minimum GPA:
2.0
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