25 March, 2013

Celebrating World Social Work Day 2013

Here's a 15-minute video showcasing how a number of social work departments have celebrated World Social Work Day around Europe and how their students benefited. This event usually takes place mid-March and it's an ideal opportunity to draw attention to the bigger social picture beyond our borders.
May this inspire you for the coming years !

23 March, 2013

the importance of an international perspective

 "Whether we like it or not the world is more globalised and we have to adapt to that." And: "seeing how things are done in a different country can really open your mind." Just two quotes taken from an article posted by the Guardian journalist Mary O'Hara in the Social Care section  here .
This week World Social Work day was celebrated around the globe. It also prompted a flurry of posts and articles on the web. This particular article caught my eye: it focused on the benefits of an exchange programme between social work students from Northern Ireland and their counterparts in India. Especially, the stress that was placed on global professional development struck a chord with me.
As a university of applied sciences educating the future workforce it is crucial that students are well prepared for a global society once they enter the labour market.
"Within social work, it is particularly important to try and understand other contexts as the social work project is one with a global vision. When we do not engage with others, we become trapped in our own ways of thinking." Another quote and how true !
Learning how issues and problems in social work can be tackled and resolved by different interventions around the world can open up new perspectives. "The reality is that [in social work] you can no longer work in your own little world," say academics Janet Carter Anand and Chaitali Das from Queens University, Belfast, the driving forces behind the exchange programme. "Social workers need to be comfortable with diversity and also be able to deal with uncertainty."
International exchanges where students observe everyday social work practices in other countries for one or two weeks have distinct benefits. "Once students are taken out of their own environment they begin to examine their assumptions about social work." This is an essential step, it is the start of true critical reflection. Naturally, there are other ways of attaining such a much-needed international outlook, but going on an international exchange is a particularly enriching and effective way: it provides hands-on experience, face-to-face contacts, opportunities for sharing thoughts and surprises, for developing international competences but above all an unforgettable experience."  There is such a lot to be learned from studying and discussing the various responses to different problems (or different degrees of problems in other countries). This practice (not yet fully integrated in the social work curriculum in Belfast) instills an "internationalist" view of social work that is going to be essential in the future, as one of the participants in the programme stated.

22 March, 2013

International week in Rotterdam

Last week had an international flavour: all year 4 students of the programme in social work & services focused on the global theme of human rights.
The week kicked off with lectures by Hilary Jenkinson Lydia Sapouna and Mary Wilson from our partner university, the Applied Social Studies programme at University College Cork, Ireland.

All week discussions of articles from the universal declaration of human rights took centre stage, in relation to the contributions a social worker can make. All this inspired by the global agenda.
The week was rounded off by individual one-minute elevator pitches in which students expressed their personal views on the value or the principles of human rights.
Here's one example of such an elevator pitch: (posted and shared on a tumblr site kept by one of the lecturers involved) : http://socworkrotterdam.tumblr.com/post/45699975857/glenda-roseval-on-social-work-and-human-rights
or to be watched here: