Queens’ Social work Students and Staff in India

14 Feb

The School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, QUB is actively developing links with the Karve Institute of Social Services (KInSS, affiliated with the University of Pune, India), with the aim of promoting the internationalisation of social work education and research in Northern Ireland.

Two lecturers of Social Work, Dr Chaitali Das and Dr Janet Carter Anand, together with three first year social work students, Lauren Donnelly, Naomi Ferguson, and Clair Doherty completed an intensive exchange program hosted by the Social Work facility of KInSS. Both Dr Das and Dr Anand have international experience as social work educators and were keen to promote the benefits of sustainable social work initiatives across borders.

The exchange program received initial funding under the QUB’s Internationalisation Strategy and was supported by school management. “This Indian connection has become quite a talking point amongst students and staff in the School. The way Chaitali and Janet got it off the ground in such a remarkably short time shows just how much interest and energy there is for internationalisation amongst our staff and students” commented Professor John Pinkerton, who has responsibility in the School for  promoting and coordinating internationalization. 

During their visit students and staff explored  the  varied roles and scope of social work in India through classes and visits to a range of  services . They experienced first hand the effects of globalization on absolute poverty, homelessness, unorganized labor, exploitation of women and the degradation of the environment in the Indian context. They also got an opportunity to observe Indian social work strategies such as community development and participation in civil society movements through people’s movements, government, non government and multinational corporate organisations.

In their reflections on the visit the students emphasized the practice relevance, the experiential learning and their discussion with fellow students.

“India was a fantastic opportunity to be a part of a cross cultural learning experience. I have already been able to put into practice some of  the learning I did out there. I would advise any student to get involved in a project such as this”

“ I was  constantly aware of my skin colour, my gender, my culture. That perhaps afforded me a brief glimpse of the experience of members of minority ethnic groups here in Northern Ireland.”

“It  gave us valuable insight into Indian students’  thoughts of social work in the West and social work as an international profession. I would highly recommend an international social work exchange to anyone”.

A presentation on the outcomes and experiences of the International Social Work Exchange Program was made at the SSPSW Seminar Series on 23rd February. Building on that a Colloquium on International Social Work Exchange is to be hosted by the SSPSWin April involving delegates from NI, UK, Australia and Ireland. Then in October a delegation of students and faculty members from KInSS will be visiting Queen’s to undertake a similar exchange program hosted by the SSPSW staff and students.


For enquiries about the project or colloquium please contact Janet Anand or Chaitali Das on 00 44 (0) 28 9097 5117 or c.das@qub.ac.uk

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