The Department of Child Welfare and Social Work at the UiT The Arctic University of Norway (Alta) had the pleasure of welcoming a delegation of 10 students and two teachers from Murmansk Arctic State University (MASU) for the participation in a joint intensive course «Social Work with Children and Youth in the Barents Region».
The one-week long course was organized in the first week of April and 10 students and 4 teachers from Norway took part in it in together with the Russians guests. It was the first time Norwegian and Russian students studying Child Welfare, Social Work or Sociology at the bachelor level met each other after a long planning process in form of skype-meetings and numerous e-mails.
The joint intensive course was aimed at gaining mutual knowledge about each county’s working methods within Child Welfare and Social Work. Lacking today across the Barents region, this kind of knowledge is highly prized by the national, regional and local institutions working with youth and children at risk. The course, which was financed by the Barents Secretariat’s scholarship program for higher education “Barents Plus”, enabled students from Norway and Russia to get acquainted with each other’s culture and understanding of the field, as well as to find solutions to common challenges that youth and children in the Barents region face nowadays. The teaching process of the joint course consisted of traditional lectures given by teachers from both institutions, student workshops and group projects with the use of interactive and digital tools. Comparative and intercultural approaches to the teaching enriched and enhanced the whole process, as the students reported in the end of the course.
Anne Charlotte Solheim from the Department of Child Welfare and Social Work at UiT campus Alta was the driving force behind the successful organization of the joint course. Inspired by the feedbacks she can proudly say that both universities have again applied for funding for a new joint intensive course, now organized on the Russian side. The plan is to send 10 Norwegian students and their teachers to visit their counterparts at Murmansk Arctic State University in spring semester 2017, and hopefully make this course as a part of the ordinary program at both institutions in the future.