Yes they can. Here are some accounts from youth work students who have done field education outside of Australia.
Bec Jacgung - USA
Where overseas did you do your placement?
I did my placement at an American summer camp, Called Camp Clifton which was in a small town in Ohio, USA called Yellow Springs. It was an hour out of Cincinnati.
Why did you choose to do a placement overseas?
In 2008 I went to this Camp and had the greatest time. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to do my placement here as It was working with young people and children, as well as experiencing a different type of culture and people. It was great to see a different culture and different young peoples perspectives on Australia.
What was the process for setting up the overseas placement?
I did my placement through a program called Camp America. Seeing as I had already been to the Camp which I went to, the process was a little bit different than usual. However the process the first time was:
i. Confirm with the Youth work field ed Tutor to confirm that this type of placement is suitable.
ii. Register on the Camp America website http://www.campamerica.com.au/
iii. Follow the process with Camp America, which included an interview as well as payment.
iv. Arrange project work to be completed with the Camp Director
v. Attend Camp America orientation - to help prepare with culture shock.
What did you get to do on the placement?
At Camp I was a counsellor. The kids came at 9 in the morning and left at 5pm. My camp was very unique and different to other camps. (most camps you sleep over night in cabins with the young people. Throughout the day I would facilitate group activities such as arts/crafts, soccer, basketball, archery, assist in high ropes and team building exercises & swimming as well as a variety of other activities. I taught the young people about the Australian way and culture. My project work was to facilitate activities on a daily basis with the young people.
What did you learn about youth work?
During my time on placement I learnt that young people can be very unpredictable and you must be prepared for anything! Having a snake dangled in front of you is an example [young Americans are fearless, especially when it comes to snakes] I also learnt that you must always be patient, and respect cultural and religious differences. Young people are honest and will tell you exactly what is on their minds. I learnt how to mediate between friendship groups who may be at war with each other and make young people gain respect for one another.
Would you recommend an overseas placement to other youth work students?
Definitely. Its a win-win situation. You get to travel and experience a different culture as well as complete your placement. Other students will also be more inclined to read your journals and respond as they are interested that your placement is unlike theirs.
Read more about Bec's experience with Camp America