The CARE conference took place in April 2022 in Leiria (Portugal) and was assessed by all visiting students plus the participating host students and all the teachers taking part in the project via Edkimo Surveys (https://edkimo.com/de/)
(6 Polish, 30 Portuguese, 6 Dutch, 12 Finnish and 7 German participant students and 12 teachers).
All participants felt welcomed by their host families in Portugal. The vast majority of them found the welcoming ceremony interesting and saw it as a good kick off for the conference. The icebreaking activities (speed dating and dancing) were considered fun and seemed to have helped them to get to know others in the group. Only a few did not think these activities to have had an important impact on them.
When it comes to students’ presentations about the research done about local institutions, this activity was regarded as quite valuable.
The tour around the school, as well as the visit to the castle in the town were enjoyable experiences for the vast majority of the students.
In addition, they clearly saw the visit to the institutions (kindergarten and care homes) as very interesting and helpful to understand the different problems care workers face.
The workshop experience at the higher school of health seemed to have impressed most of the participants. In addition, students rated the workshop about social services at the higher school of education as fairly valuable.
As for the cultural visit to the monastery and the afternoon at the Nazaré beach, this was highly appreciated by all of the students who considered it to have been interesting and fun.
When it comes to overcoming prejudices or inhibitions on working with old and young, the results show that almost all of the students felt they did. Their statements on what they would like to add show that this was a valuable experience. For example, “It was a really important experience in order to become much more aware of how important the jobs are in the social sector and I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to have this experience with so many different nations and wonderful people.”
All in all, the week in Leiria was an extremely valuable experience to the participants. The benefit of taking part in this conference was also meeting new people, making friends, and getting to know a new culture. They also clearly felt that it enhanced their awareness of what is implied in social workers’ jobs, and, above all, their awareness is seen through statements such as: “I have learned valuable things for life in general. About care, about cultures and about myself”.
The participating teachers all felt welcomed, and they regarded most of the activities in the program were valuable for the conference (opening ceremony, ice breaking activities, the presentations of the pre-task, different visits and trips, farewell party). Both the workshops (at the higher school of health and at higher schools of education on social services) were well seen and the visits to the different institutions were considered as helpful for students to get a deeper insight into the work of caregivers.
Overall, the greatest benefits referred to by teachers were gaining new insights, getting to know more about social jobs and institutions, meeting people and exchanging ideas with them. Furthermore, seeing students change for better during all the mobilities as well as visiting new places.
The fourth CARE conference took place in March 2022 in Helmond (the Netherlands) and was assessed by most visiting students plus the participating host students and teachers taking part in the project via Edkimo Surveys (https://edkimo.com/de/).
Almost all participants felt well welcomed by their hosts in the Netherlands. Most of them found the welcoming ceremony interesting and enjoyed the icebreaking activities afterwards. We did miss a link to the topic of the conference, addiction, in the opening ceremony though.
For the students, several points in the programme were particularly valuable and positive:
They extremely liked the ‘active’ workshops, like the creative one (expressing feelings related to addiction in art), but also the guest speaker, Laurens Veltman, who did a workshop on addiction and the cooking workshop.
The other workshops also got good rating, however these were more theoretical and had less practical parts, so the students thought that all in all there were too many presentations and they would have preferred to have more free time to be able to do fun activities with their hosts and to get to know the country a little bit better. Hence they liked the tour through the city of Helmond and Amsterdam a lot. They all indicated that meeting new people and making new friends was one of the greatest benefits of taking part as well as improving their English and learning about other cultures. Most students also stressed that they got many new insights into taking care for people suffering from addiction. They concluded the programme was a bit too full, but they really enjoyed it.
The participating teachers were also extremely pleased with the conference and felt welcome in Helmond. They enjoyed the presentations the students prepared. The presentations about the schools’ support-teams were more interesting for the teachers than for the students though. They missed a visit to an institution which deals with addicts (which was impossible to organize because of the Covid-restrictions) but were very pleased with the conference overall.
The second CARE conference took place in October 2021 in Torún (Poland) and was assessed by all visiting students plus the participating host students and all the teachers taking part in the project via Edkimo Surveys (https://edkimo.com/de/)
(11 Polish students, 6 Portuguese, 6 Dutch and 6 German participants, 6 teachers).
All participants felt well welcomed by their hosts in Poland. They all found the welcoming ceremony interesting and particularly praised the subsequent workshop, which was designed to help them get to know each other and was also prepared by the visiting students.
For the students, several points in the programme were particularly valuable and positive:
They liked the visit to the invisible house because it helped them to change their perspective and understand people with disabilities better. They were also enthusiastic about the experiences they had while visiting different social institutions. These gave them a good and varied insight into the everyday life of people with different mental as well as physical disabilities. The students found the exchange with a disabled woman, who came to the school for an interview followed by a discussion, particularly interesting. All these activities contributed to the fact that all pupils stated that they had reduced prejudices and taken on a new perspective by participating in this project week. They rated the time spent as valuable.
Some workshops did not get such a good rating: these were more theoretical and had less practical parts. These should be planned differently for the next meetings.
The participating teachers were pleased especially with the feedback meetings with the students. It was important for them to learn what the students had experienced and how these experiences could be useful for them.
In addition, the teachers were happy to be able to exchange ideas about the project with each other in the meetings that took place in parallel. These meetings were evaluated as effective and helpful in order to evaluate and plan the project.
Overall, however, there was criticism that not all the contents of the programme were concretely focussed on the topic. For example, although the invisible house was an interesting experience, it was not directly related to dealing with people with psychological problems, which was supposed to be the focus of the CARE week in Poland.
CARE in Lübbecke January 2020 – Evaluation of Edkimo-Survey
The first CARE conference took place February 2020 in Lübbecke (Germany) and was assessed by almost all students and teachers taking part in the project via edkimo Surveys (https://edkimo.com/de/). (44 German students?, 6 Portuguese?, 7 Dutch and Polish participants and 8 Finnish participants???)
Most students were very pleased with their German host families and felt very welcome. Both students and teachers also enjoyed the official welcome ceremony and found the speech delivered by Mrs Hölscher very helpful. The wheelchair-basketball and the goalball/obstacle course were also rated highly and enjoyed by all participants. It helped them to empathise better with handicapped people and
Likewise, the visit of the Lübbecker Werkstätten and the social day on Tuesday helped to overcome prejudices and inhibitions and were rated to be valuable experiences. Many of the individual answers showed that the students learned that disabled people 'are the same as normal people' or that they are 'very nice' or 'sweet people' who deserve respect.
The Bowling night on Tuesday was clearly considered to be a fun activity.
The tour to Bielefeld on Wednesday was also regarded as an interesting and impressive day by everybody except for three participants. In their individual answers the students stated that they particularly found the information about the internship-programme 'Betheljahr' interesting and that they were impressed by the size of the organisation. They also reflected on the impact that social laws and the money provided by the public or health insurance have on the well-being of handicapped people. However, some students wrote that doing a longer internship would be better than just visiting another institution.
About the last working day of the conference it was said by everybody (except for 4 participants) that the presentations prepared by the guests were interesting and that working together on the films and interviews etc. was also interesting and efficient and that the farewell ceremony was a valuable experience, although the comments showed that it should have ended later.
All inn all, 93% of the participants totally agreed (++) to the statement that the week in Lübbecke was a valuable experience and 7 agreed (+) that it was a valuable experience.
When asked what the greatest benefit of taking part in this project has been so far, most students wrote that it raised their awareness of how important it is to care for others and for disabled people in particular. Other answers included aspects, such as 'meeting new people' or doing a 'social day'.
Ideas for improvement:
• less 'chaining to hosts' – more opportunities to work in mixed groups (workshops) like on Thursday
• Having a German tour guide was difficult because not everything can be translated (Lübbecker Werkstätten) → there should always be English-speaking guides
• more social day/internship experiences / more actual interaction during the social days → less visiting of institutions (like Bethel) → but more own experiences
• longer farewell parties / too short in general!