The Social Work programme of 30 credits is organized in the spring semester and aims at offering higher education from an international, intercultural and interdisciplinary point of view. Studies have shown that exchange experiences have long-lasting positive effects on students. Collaboration, networking and connection are important action tools for every social worker to win the battle against social inequity. Therefore as a future social worker it is very important to stimulate international awareness and exchange to understand and address global social issues.
The programme is open for Belgian and international students and aims to develop international and intercultural competences facing current and global topics for social work. The programme stimulates exchange and collaboration between social work students from different countries, offering field visits, guest lecturers and study trips abroad.
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In this course we reflect on the role(s) and function of the social worker. This is done on the basis of current themes that also influence the practice of social work. Belgian and international students can exchange the experiences, challenges and opportunities for social work(ers) to cope with actual and international questions. The aim is to strengthen the student’s vision in this way so that he/she can better position himself as a professional social worker.
(Guest) lectures, workshops,(international) study visits, field
During this course, students will:
Learning methods include lectures, article readings and study visits, including a thematic visit of European Commission and a visit to good practice organizations in Brussels.
Globalization challenges social work with constant social change, making the profession of a social worker more complex and uncertain. During this course Flemish and international students will work together in small groups to explore and question global topics in Belgium and Europe.
This course consists of the following contents:
The course consists of plenary lecturers, guest lecturers, (international) study visits and field visits. Through a group paper Belgian and Erasmus students will collaborate to explore a global social topic.
Visiting social work field practices in Belgium or another European country are part of this course. A study trip abroad in another European country will be an optional part for this course. Erasmus students are free to join, but should be aware of the extra costs.
More information on the study trips abroad will be communicated at the beginning of the Erasmus programme in a study guide manual. Teachers will be available to answer questions by mail or during class.
Plenary, (international) study visits, field visits, guest lectures
Our world is a globalized and globalizing world. This does not only mean that we have access to an increasing amount of information of the world and that it is much easier to travel nowadays. Globalization also implies that, more than ever, people from other parts of the world come to our country, not only as tourists but also to try and build a new (and better) life. A globalized society is composed of a diverse set of cultures. A global understanding of this diversity, or even superdiversity, is thus necessary.
This course wishes to contribute to the development and establishment of a platform for learning about other cultures for students without the need to travel to a distant country. Modern electronic and digital means, such as videoconferencing, Skype, Facetime, ... allow home based learning of other cultures.
After a thorough introduction to the subject of Global Understanding, Flemish students will participate in a discussion with Erasmus students who have also joined the course on global understanding. In a second phase, the group will join a discussion on selected subjects with students from Universities of Applied Sciences and Arts and universities from different parts of the world.
Important questions and topics include:
Important decisions on whether and how to prevent drug abuse, criminal behaviour and violence are too often made based on shallow grounds.
Social workers and health promotors need to have a grasp on the science base of prevention. They need the capacity to translate it to the floor of practice addressing not only youth in schools, but also adults in the workplace or people in the community.
Peer van der Kreeft leads a European network of researchers and practitioners establishing a standardized training model on prevention.
The robust training is delivered to the students in an interactive way.
The classes correspond with the chapters of Edwin Hoffman’s book “Interculturele gespreksvoering” and his TOPOI model. TOPOI is the abbreviation of language, structure, persons, organization and effort.
These are the five areas in which cultural differences and misunderstandings can take place.
The TOPOI model includes a practical analysis and intervention framework to detect and deal with these cultural differences and misunderstandings in an intercultural contact.
There will also be room for dialogue and exchange with Flemish social work students.
Alternative teaching method