Placement Educators’ Experiences and Perspectives of Supervising International Social Work Students in Australia

Bella Ross, Binh Ta, Averil Grieve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


International social work students in Australia have reported difficulties in finding quality placement opportunities and dealing with issues such as language and cultural barriers. While placement issues have been mostly investigated from a student perspective, this study explores the experiences and perspectives of placement educators towards supervising international social work students. It draws on an online survey of 83 placement educators working for an Australian university. The majority of placement educators reported that they supervised international students differently to domestic students. These differences were negatively framed as challenges involving students’ language competence, their understanding of cultural norms, and knowledge of Australian welfare systems. This framing implies that cultural and linguistic differences between international students and placement educators are viewed in terms of student deficiency rather than as a positive opportunity for mutual learning and professional development. IMPLICATIONS Enhancing international social work student supervision practice involves a focus on supervisor interaction with international students and professional training for placement educators. An inclusive approach towards cultural and linguistic diversity in supervising international social work students is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-205
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Social Work
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


  • Social Work
  • Field Education Placements
  • International Students
  • Student Supervision
  • Social Work Supervision
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Field Education

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