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Social Work as a Human Rights Profession course brought together twenty social services’ students from Lappeenranta, Finland, and Saarbrücken, Germany, in spring 2019.

The course was organized for the first time. It started as an online course, and in April, students from HTW Saar University of Applied Sciences spent one week studying at the Skinnarila campus in Lappeenranta together with students from Saimaa University of Applied Sciences (SAIMIA).

“Before the seminar week, we had pre-reading materials and Skype meetings, so we learned to know our topics and our groups”, Karoliina Pesu, student at SAIMIA, said.

Students worked in groups, and prepared presentations that focused on human rights and ethical questions in social work in four different cases: homeless people, refugee work, disability work, and child welfare.

Karoliina Pesu and Fabian Hamm from HTW Saar worked with the sub-topic homeless people.

Hamm found the course interesting, because human rights is a big topic. “We have a lot of dilemmas and crisis”, he said referring to the situation worldwide. “And it was interesting that the course connected human rights and homeless people. I had studied both themes before, but not connected.”

According to Hamm and Pesu, the course gave information about Finnish and German societies as well.

“We have learned to know the social systems in Finland and in Germany. For example, the ‘housing first’ principle is common”, Pesu said.

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Karoliina Pesu and Fabian Hamm described the seminar week intense. “I feel like I remember the things better”, Pesu said. “And using English makes one focus more”, Hamm added.

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