Poverty Amidst Plenty in Florida, USA

Ref: 10003192


Second year Youth Work and Community Development enrolled on ASCS 2801, second year Work with Communities & Young People students enrolled on ASCS 2415 (both called Politics, Policy & Practice, and and third year Work with Communities & Young People students enrolled on ASCS3409 are eligible to participate in this opportunity.

The maximum number of places is 40 and the minimum the trip will go ahead with is 10. DMU staff will be accompanying the group. DMU students are only eligible to receive one academic-led trip bursary per year. Please check our eligibility criteria for further details.


Florida, known as America’s Sunshine State, is a major destination for British tourists and yet seldom is it thought of as a poverty stricken and deprived area. However, perhaps surprisingly, central Florida has higher rates of poverty, unemployment and other health and social problems than the rest of the state and levels way above the national average for the USA. This trip will give students the opportunity to look beyond the facade of the “American Dream” and to analyse the reality of American society, contrasting conditions, community responses, ideology and culture with the UK.

At the University of Central Florida (UCF), students will participate in interactive classroom teaching and learning about youth work and social policy in the USA.  They will be given a tour of the UCF campus, including a visit to the “food pantry” provided by the local students’ union. They will see some of the impacts of poverty first hand with visits and volunteering opportunities at a foodbank and a homeless shelter, and, a visit to a secure mental health unit and a halfway house for recovering alcoholics and addicts.

A tour of a trailer park and of the mansions of the rich and powerful in Winter Park will contrast the wretched living conditions of the poor with the opulence and extravagance of the wealthy. Evans High Community School will provide valuable evidence of the academic capabilities of black youth from the disadvantaged community of Pine Hills and challenge the assertions of Charles Murray’s adherents that the poor are to blame for their own plight.

Meeting union reps for Disney employees will shake notions of Disney as “the happiest place on earth” and reveal the true nature of this global employer, whilst providing hope and inspiration that change is not only possible but underway. The icing on the cake will be the inspirational visit to the “Sin Fronteras” project for Latino/Latina youth, run by a Marxist Nun. This is true youth work, empowering participants and challenging oppression. The study visit will concludes with students presenting their findings to the original UCF class.

Cultural activities

During free time there will be options to enjoy an airboat ride (£25) to view alligators and other wildlife at close quarters, a canoe trip (£25) to see dolphins and manatees, and a visit to one of Florida’s many theme parks.

Travel and accommodation

Accommodation for this opportunity will be booked by the Faculty. Students will be responsible for booking flights to Orlando, Florida.

Contact details

Visa information

To take part in this trip you must meet US immigration requirements. All students will require an ESTA or some kind of visa to travel to the USA – all accepted students will get more information and advice on how to apply. If you have any questions, email dmuglobal@dmu.ac.uk. You are responsible for checking processing times and meeting all application requirements to ensure you receive your visa prior to departure. Please be aware that immigration decisions are made by individual embassies.

Key Information

  • Departure date: Saturday 2 November 2019
  • Return date: Sunday 10 November 2019
  • Estimated cost of travel and accommodation: £938 (£538 after bursary)
  • Students will also be required to pay for: UK and in-country travel, food and drink, cultural visits, and visa (if applicable)
  • #DMUglobal bursary: £400
  • Deadline for application: Wednesday 31 July 2019 9am