Added value of an international perspective to social work students
We struggle with how to encourage our students to take the possibility to go abroad and get international experience about how social work is conducted in other countries. We need to gain more knowledge on advantages and disadvantages for the profession when it comes to Social Work students going broad.
In 2015 we started a small-scale research on the experiences of social work students who went abroad during their studies. We have conducted 12 focus-group interviews in each network member country. Each focus-group consisted of a:
- manager from a social work organization
- young professional social worker
- social work student, who recently has been abroad
In form of problem-centred guided interviews we asked about the following topics:
- Social Work knowledge, skills and competences
- Personal skills and competences
- Encouraging future students
"Experience abroad … is like a bonus in soft skills."Manager social work organisation
So far we have conducted 12 focus-group interviews in each network member country. We have presented the outcomes at the SWSD conference in Dublin (2018) and the EASSW conference in Madrid (2019). Soon we will start to invite former social work students from our universities to fill in our questionnaire. We have the ambition to analyse the data and to publish about the outcomes.
01 January 2015 - 01 January 2021
2015: Plan of Action and focus group interviews at VIA University College, Denmark
2016: Focus group interviews at School of social work at Lund University in Sweden and HU-University of Applied Sciences Utrecht.
2017: Focus group interviews at ASH-Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Germany and School of Social Work at Linneaus Unvirsity, Sweden.
2018: Analysis interviews and presenting the first outcomes at the SWSD2018 conference in Dublin.
2019: Preparation of the questionnaire and presenting the first outcomes at the EASSW conference in Madrid and pilot of the questionnaire.
2020: Inviting the former social work students who have been abroad to fill in the questionnaire.
2021: Analysis questionnaire and hopefully publishing about the outcomes.
"People with international experiences have as a rule, and don’t hold it against me, are more able to find solutions and more willing to think outside of the box"Social worker
Utrecht, the Netherlands
Share your international experiences with us!
Are you a (former) HU-Social Work student who had been abroad during your studies? Please contact our research team, if you are interested to share your international experiences with us.
Collaboration with knowledge partners
We are four long-term partner institutions in three European countries with a tradition of educational collaboration, student exchange and co-curriculum development: School of social work at Lund University and Linnaeus University in Sweden and ASH-Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Germany.
Unfortunately, VIA University College, Denmark left the network in June 2018.