We exchange students and knowledge

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BA of Social Work in Holstebro, VIA University College, offers a Double Degree, in which students take a year of their training at an educational institution in another country. They end up with a diploma from both places of learning.

BA of Social Work in Holstebro sends students abroad to study in Romania. They also receive Romanian students who have chosen to take the final year of their study in Denmark. A Double-Degree course. 

At the beginning of September this year four Romanian students started in their Double-Degree in Denmark. According to Trine Holck Grundahl, associate professor and coordinator of the Double Degree, a stay in another country strengthens the students' intercultural competence. 

"They can use these skills if they want to work abroad. But social workers need intercultural skills when working in Danish institutions as well. Especially when working with people from a different ethnic background than Danish. Intercultural skills are also important in many other educational situations. Educationalists should always familiarise themselves with the other's way of experiencing the world," says Trine Holck Grundahl. 

Danish pedagogy as export

She tells that BA of Social Work in Holstebro cooperate with Romania because they both have a good knowledge of the University of Bucharest. And because Europe has been watching Romanian social work carefully since the many orphanages were shown on Danish television screens 15 years ago. 

"There are many EU funds we can seek in Romania. But our relationship is primarily due to a good working relationship over many years with the teachers from Bucharest University. We are a very skilled team" says Trine Holck Grundahl. 

She explains that Danish education is very popular at the moment and that VIA export pedagogical knowledge to several countries. Including both Romania and China. 

Inability to connect theory and practice

According to Trine Holck Grundahl the foreign students are very skilled and find it easy to learn a lot of information by heart. But in their education system the emphasis is not on linking theory and practice. 

"We can give them all the knowledge, and we will. They work hard and know it all by heart. But in our educational system, we require that students reflect on theories and learn to apply them in practice as well. That’s normally a new concept for the foreign students. It is a challenge for them" says Trine Holck Grundahl. 

According to her the Double Degree project balances financially because there are equal numbers of students exchanged by both Denmark and Romania. 

Translated by James Doherty, Cambridge