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Social Work exchange with Beijing Normal University

30 July 2018

Students from Beijing Normal University standing outside Glamorgan Building, Cardiff University

For the third year running, students from Cardiff University and Beijing Normal University (BNU) completed a summer school exchange to study social work and sociology.

A group of fourteen students from BNU spent two weeks studying with social work and sociology lecturers at Cardiff University.

During their stay, the students were given lectures on international social work; sociology; migration and immigration and preparing for practice by Programme Director Abyd Quinn Aziz and Professor Ralph Fevre.

Students from Beijing Normal University studying at Cardiff University Social Work Summer School

The students also paid a visit to London, St Fagan’s and enjoyed a walking sociology lecture through Cardiff with Dr Robin Smith, Senior Lecturer in Sociology.

During their time in Cardiff, the group visited local organisations to discuss their work including Diverse Cymru, the Refugee Council and the National Assembly.

To finish the summer school, the students each produced a presentation on what they had learned during their time in Cardiff, along with a farewell video from the group.

Student Zhai Daoyue said of her visit: “I had an absolutely wonderful time studying and playing with the teachers and students from Cardiff University. The social workers and social service organisations in Cardiff made me feel so optimistic about our society which is being supported by these social workers little by little.

“I was so in love with the experiences and feelings that Cardiff brought me. People in Cardiff are always warm-hearted and treated us just like family. Cardiff is a great place to learn and live.”

This month, Dr Alyson Rees also accompanied three social work students from Cardiff University on a visit to BNU for their Social Work and Sociology Summer School.

During their five nights in Beijing, they attended lectures, seminars and workshops, along with participants from Spain, the USA and China, studying comparative systems of social welfare between the different countries

Students from Cardiff University visiting Beijing Normal University

They also paid visits to social care organisations as well as the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and The Temple of Heaven.

Abyd Quinn Aziz, Programme Director of the Master’s in Social Work at Cardiff University, said of the exchange: “I think that there is a real value to this partnership as we aim to maintain a global view of social work alongside our work with the International Federation of Social Workers. The exchanges allow our students to visit China and explore their fledgling social work practice in the context of fast growing industrialised nation and to see first-hand how social policy affects older people and urban communities.

“The students who visit us say they gain insights into social work theory and practice through teaching and visiting practice placements. But, there is also a valuable ‘cultural exchange’ and my abiding memory of this recent visit was Zhou Zepeng being thrilled at the colour of the sunset from his bedroom window at Aberdare Hall and all the BNU students rushing into the sea at Barry Island for a paddle, many having never seen the sea before!”

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