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Forging international links through University Erasmus programme

29 July 2015

Abyd Quinn Aziz

Abyd Quinn Aziz, Lecturer at the School of Social Sciences, recently returned from an Erasmus trip to Austria.

Professor Johanna Hefel, University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg, Austria, hosted an event for undergraduate social work students where academics from Lapland, Wales and Estonia presented papers looking at social work in a global context.

Abyd Quinn Aziz was invited through the Erasmus Programme after meeting Professor Hefel on her visit to Cardiff University in 2013 where she presented a paper on sex workers in Austria. Tutors on the Social Work Master's programme are involved in developing links with European Social Work programmes to share learning and teaching on global social work themes.

Almost 50 students attended from the University of Vorarlberg Bachelors and Master's Social Work programmes as part of their module on Intercultural Social Work, which is taught in English. Abyd presented on the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and its impact on social work practice in Wales. His talk focussed on recent developments with the aim of creating a cultural change in methods and perspectives of social work and well-being Wales.

Abyd was joined by Ms. Arja Kilpeläinen, University of Lapland, and Mr. Erik Rüütel, Estonian Academy of Security Sciences Justice College, Tallinn. Their presentations looked at social rehabilitation in Estonian Prisons, providing insight to the organization of the penal system in Estonia, and insight into rural social work, considering the extremely sparsely populated Finnish Lapland.

This visit facilitated an exchange of expertise and ideas of other possible collaborations between the academics and was very well received by students and host academics. Their time with the students was balanced with excursions into social institutions such as Die Faerhre (The Bridge - an addiction rehabilitation centre) and trips which provided an insight into the country and culture which contributed to the success of the international exchange.

Following the visit, Abyd and colleagues from the three universities represented are hoping to host a joint event to mark World Social Work Day in March 2016.

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