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Sozial- und heilpädagogische Institutionen in Europa
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Students attending 2 years of ESPA vocational college of social affairs, concentrating on social pedagogy and social care, will be participating in the project. During the first two years these full-time school based educations include several weeks of internships in different social and remedial institutions. After 2 years of college education the students complete a probation year. Starting the first year of training our students already deal with their future occupational areas in education and remedial therapy in Germany and their professional roles. In the lessons they work on teaching contents like “the image of humanity”, namely image of the child in reference to educational practice and requirements of their profession role within the cultural and legal framework reflecting these considerations based on their own experiences and knowledges.. Especially students with migrant backgrounds and our advanced students’ reports about their practical trainings abroad share their experiences in order to better understand the cultural dimensions of educational practice. The individual and own internship abroad promotes these experiences. In particular it is important for educational specialists to take a differentiated approach to diversity. Against this background, a deep understanding for the people they are dealing with will be developed and they should be prepared to handle conflicts and differences in opinion in a constructive way. The studies abroad lead to own experiences of foreignness when separated from friends and families and familiar surroundings. In new situations they realize that educational workers in different cultures have different perceptions of their professional roles and might work in a different way. The students will be confronted with these experiences and will have to recognize and understand those compared to their own culture. All this leads to a profound self-reflection and communication skills which is especially important in pedagogical professions. As the students find their institutions abroad independently, establish contact and organize their travel and accommodation themselves, they are more willing to apply for a job in EU-countries after their education. Therefore every year ESPA vocational college as applicant organisation can establish new contacts. The cooperation has intensified since and is maintained regularly during and after the stay abroad by exchange of letters, emails, telephone calls and visits of teachers. At school groups of students with an accompanying teacher, who will also support the students during their stay abroad, prepare the project by doing independent research. After the project the students present their experiences to all teachers and students of the two training courses and submit their written results. These are: 1. Information about the group/institution and the social environment (documentation with additional digital photos). 2. 2. Information about the (practiced)concept of the institution’s concept by specific examples, legal, social- or educational policy or socio-historical backgrounds, interviews with the staff about their professional roles. 3. A closing comparison to the experience in German institutions including comments on The reasons for the possible differences. A discussion of advantages and disadvantages of the given conditions. 4. a reflection on their individual experience of foreignness. Furthermore we publish our findings in the local press, on the school website, in our ESPA letter and our advisory board. In that way we raise broad awareness about our Erasmus project and its results in a general public that is interested in these matters. This encourages more students from our school as wellas future students to take the opportunity to gain similar experiences. This supports our school's profile and shows the special skills of students who take such an internship abroad und thus improves their employability on the job market.
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