Internationalization of Bachelor's programmes in social work in Europe

Authors Raymond Kloppenburg, Peter Hendriks
Published in Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice
Publication date 2016
Research groups Living and Wellbeing
Type Article


This article presents the results of a survey on the internationalization of Bachelor’s education in social work, which was carried out at 33 schools of social work across Europe. Many universities are seeking to “internationalize” their social work curriculum. However, although many social work educators are convinced of the importance of cross-border exchange, others are sceptical about the added value of internationalization for a professional career in social work. The aim of this study is to contribute to the discussion about the significance of internationalizing the curriculum of Bachelor’s programmes in social work. Since internationalization in itself is an ideological endeavour, educators must reflect on and formulate their own ideological motives and aspirations. To this end, representatives of schools of social work completed a questionnaire concerning the aim of internationalization, the structure of the curriculum, student and staff mobility, international policies and challenges. This study demonstrates that all universities have added an international dimension to their curricula. Many educators believe that internationalizing the social work curriculum contributes to qualitatively better future professionals “at home”. However, most of the respondents are dissatisfied with what has actually been achieved in terms of their universities’ international ambitions. This is due to a lack of language skills and facilities. Above all, we think, that this dissatisfaction is related to the underlying debate on universalism and indigenization in social work practice and education.

Language English
Published in Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice
Year and volume Volume 26 issue 1
Page range 28-46

Raymond Kloppenburg