International field training in social work education: beyond colonial divides
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSocial Work Education. 2018, 37 (7), 895-908. 10.1080/02615479.2018.1461823
This paper examines the influence of and need for a critical and global-oriented social work education on students’ learning and developments in the context of international field training. The study uses mixed methods strategy of web survey, focus groups and document review of field reports. Participants in the study are social work students from social work programs in Norway and Sweden who have conducted their international field training in the Global South. The results of the study show that in order to obtain a critical and postcolonial understanding of global inequalities and the role of social work, students need to be truly prepared for international field training by critical and postcolonial knowledge, which will challenge many students’ West-centric perspectives and facilitate them by a self-reflective positioning throughout their field training. The imagination of traveling to and ‘learning about the others’ should be then replaced by a move beyond ‘us-and-them’ divides in line with the ethical principles and values of social work.