Manuel Roche studied the German-Romanian double degree programme in Social Work at BTU and has been working in Romania since 2021. He recently presented his experiences on Romanian radio. You can find the interview online on soundcloud from minute 24. We also spoke to him about it again.
Hello Mr. Roche, how come you studied the German-Romanian study programme in Cottbus?
After graduating from high school in 2018, I completed an International Youth Volunteer Service (IFJD) in Romania. I worked in a social canteen in Botoșani. On site, I gained an insight into how people on the margins of society live, but above all how Social Work can help people in a sustainable way. That's why I wanted to study Social Work. When I discovered the double degree course in Cottbus, I knew I had to do it. It was just great that I could continue and professionalize my experience from the IFJD, which kept me busy there, by studying at BTU.
What was your study experience like in Germany and Romania?
I started my studies in winter semester 2019. So the first semester was a normal course of study. But the second semester was shaped by the coronavirus measures. The course was online and therefore different. I personally got on with it, although I would have preferred to be physically at the university. Then came the study abroad phase in Romania in the third and fourth semesters. Although this was also very much determined by contact restrictions, I still see this time as very enriching. In my opinion, this is exactly what Social Work is all about: adapting to the circumstances in times of crisis and uncertainty. To use the circumstances in a way that is best for the recipients of Social Work and to change circumstances where possible. So studying during Corona helped me to learn and apply this in practice.
You are now working in Romania, what exactly are you doing there and how did this come about?
During my time abroad as a student, I got to know people in Romania who were setting up work for children and young people. I visited the facility during my studies and joined the project. I was also able to spend my last two semesters in Romania through online lectures and seminars and get involved in the children and youth work there. I am currently working as a social worker in a small day center and am involved in further developing and professionalizing the social services. We are working on the formal and informal education of the local children.
Who would you recommend the study programme to or what should prospective students be prepared for?
I would recommend the study programme to people who are open to learning new things and are willing to leave their comfort zone. The double degree course helps you to think outside the box. This doesn't just happen during the study abroad phase, but also in the time beforehand, when you are being prepared for this adventure. In my opinion, it's worth the experience because you not only gain new impressions for your professional life, but also for your personal life. An experience abroad is formative.
What do you miss most from your periods of study?
What I miss most is discussing the content of my studies with my fellow students; exchanging ideas with them about how to apply a certain theory and what the challenges are, or talking about the social problems of our society in general. In general, I miss being able to learn the course content by exchanging ideas with others.
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