Overview of 11th International Spring School of Social Work for Master’s and PhD Students from the perspective of Rwandan student

The European Research Institute for Social Work (ERIS) and Faculty of Social Studies (University of Ostrava) offer annually an opportunity for Master's and PhD students in Social Work to present their thesis or other scientific works in a genuine European academic atmosphere and students get feedback on their ongoing work from social work academics based in different countries. Local students also exchange views and ideas with other international students, to extend their knowledge of social work in Europe and in the world and to contribute to a new European research network.

11th International Spring School

The 11th International Spring School of Social Work for Master's and PhD Students was held in Ostrava-Poruba, from 4 -7 April 2017 where academic staff and social work students from Ostrava(Czech), Lodz(Poland), Eichstaett, Landshut, Bremen(Germany); Hertfordshire(United Kingdom); Lille(France); Trnava (Slovakia); Vorarlberg (Austria); Kuopio(Finland) as well as Erasmus students from France, Italy, Portugal , Romania, Russia, and Turkey met. The ongoing master and doctoral works and presentations of research findings in a 10 to 15-minute ppt and feedback and recommendations from the participants have been presented. The discussion has been facilitated by one of the talented academic staff Dr. Anita Gulczynska from the University of Lodz, Poland. Different discussions consisted of critical evaluative analysis and debate which generated ideas for the further development of the work.

The spring school was well organized and participants arrived in Ostrava city on 4th April. and and some attended a workshop for PhD students from University of Ostrava as it was open for participants from partner institutions as well. Prof. Mariusz Granosik (University of Lodz) taught us Social Work Research and introduced us on Grounded Theory during 3 hours course. We had opportunity to explore 5 philosophical questions (what, why, who, where and how) in applying grounded theory on our thesis/dissertation research projects. On 5th April 2017, at 9 a.m the Spring School was officially opened by the Rector of the University of Ostrava, Prof. Jan Lata who welcomed all participants and wished all a fruitful meeting and a nice stay in Ostrava. Dr Anita Gulczynska introduced the plan of the day. After all participants divided in two focuses group and discussed the presented works. With critical analysis and feedback from attendees, students learned what needs to be corrected and adjusted in their projects.

The second day we continued with a lecture by Prof. Detlef Baum on Urban sociological accesses to social work. The third day was the last day of students' presentations. In a nutshell, taking account on how the world is changing and nations are industrializing, expanding, warring, oppressing, and people within those societies are adapting to changing ways of life where social ills are escalating, issues such as social justice, human rights and dignity are violated, substance and drug abuse, social consequences due to HIV/AIDS and other diseases, orphans and unaccompanied minors, children protection, migration and refugees issues, excluded minority people, troubled families, gender issues and so on are to be faced. There is strong need for social workers to remain interconnected academically as well as practically towards helping vulnerable groups and focus on handling social injustice and challenging human rights violation and other social issues. Research is important for social work because it helps us to be effective . ERIS and Faculty of Social Studies (UO) recognized that it is highly important to link up social work practice with scientific research by providing opportunity to have an international spring school, where students and academics from different countries gathered together to exchange ideas on social work profession, challenges they are facing and to elaborate coping strategies at international social work level. It was precious opportunity for students to express themselves in public speaking which prepares them for their future career in social work profession.

Gonzague Isirabahenda
Erasmus student at FSS OU

Foto: Pavla Nemethová