11 December, 2009

Study and Placements abroad

This week our CMV year 2 students got detailed information about opportunities for studying abroad or going on a placement abroad.
For that purpose I had prepared a powerpoint presentation with essential information. Again it proved to be such a rewarding task to really delve into the materials I had stored on my computer about previous placements abroad. I'm still glad that all of the students that take the international jump compose a report or a PPT presentation for the next bunch of students. To read about their wonderful experiences was so enjoyable and really brings you in the mood to tell an enthusiastic story to the next group.
This time I had decided to literally take over some of the comments and advice that students had recorded after their experiences abroad. Who better to listen to than the students themselves? Here's the resulting presentation for further reference.

Encouraging call from the UK

Yesterday a mail in my in box alerted me to the fact that the UK is in dire need of social workers. A social work recruitment agency had sent out a mailing approaching me about recruitment of social workers: "Work in the UK" and "We help you" the brochure in the attachment announced.
In fact the agency which has been running for 6 years now recruits social pedagogues from Europe, predominantly Germany, as well as Austria, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands and Spain. What an interesting development ! Especially in the light of the internationalisation of our curriculum.
Although there is still some scepticism from different sides about how international developments are impacting on the social work field, there is no doubt that we live in a globally interdependent world and that some are already taking advantage of this by recruiting staff outside their own country. In the world of business this has been going on for quite a number of years, but it's still relatively new in the social work field.
John Dewey said: "If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow". Indeed higher education institutes have a responsibility to educate tomorrow's workforce and since the future is international, we simply must prepare our students for that globally interdependent world.
"When I started working at the Children and Family Services (CAFS) of a Scottish local authority, I soon learned from my international colleagues that Social Pedagogy is not very common in the UK, the USA or Australia. Whereas in Germany Social Pedagogues and Social Workers are employed in the same fields of work, Social Pedagogy, as an independent area within Social Work, with its own concepts, approaches and methods, is only now being discussed in Scotland," writes a German who packed his bags and started working abroad.
This is just one example of many ways in which lecturers can easily integrate international trends in social work curricula as a way of alerting students that there may be a world beyond the Netherlands waiting for them to work in. After all, social work competences do not stop at the border.