When you change yourself, you change the world
Being part of the summer school was definitely one of the most eye opening experiences of my studies. It wasn’t only educative, but also made me reflect on my own mind and thoughts about different cultures and prejudices. At first I was a bit unsure about how I will succeed in the course, because I’m not so confident about my language skills. When I think it now, I couldn’t be more wrong. After a first day it felt like everyone were friends with each other and people were so curious about other countries, that there were always lots of issues we could talk about. Nobody could care less about how fluently you speak English. Sometimes it felt almost like it was easier to talk to people from different cultures, because there were so many thinks you could talk about.
When I think what summer school gave me the most is that I know myself better now and the thought process that happens in my head, when I am with people from different countries and cultures. I can also see now how important it is to social workers that they can communicate with different cultures because of the globalization and issues that comes with it. For the first time it really felt like social work can make big things happen in the world, if we just can work together. Lectures were very inspiring and interesting. Also working in groups was very good way to not only know each other better, but also hearing things from different perspectives.
’Pot Luck’ dinner was one of the best meals in my life. It also seemed to connect people and we went after the meal to the beach to spend time together. Time seemed to have stopped when we talked about our own experiences and our cultures. By comparing our cultures and countries we also found lots of similarities. I also really felt that I got some new friends around the world. I also started dreaming about travelling and the desire to explore new cultures grew even more.
One of the most interesting debates was the debate about refugees. During the debate it appeared that many have prejudices against refugees, but they rarely speak about it. One reason for this seemed to be the fear of being stigmatized as a racist if raising their own feelings. I think feeling can never be wrong. We should think about what makes different feelings and how to interpret our own feelings. As the world is changing and different cultures meet, I believe it is important for people to understand that adapting to a new world may also require exit from our own comfort zone. It is hardly easier to prevent and resolve the various problems of globalization by highlighting cultural differences and people's differences.
My favorite lecture was about death and dying from the perspective of social work. Death is really little spoken issue in our society and I haven’t thought that it is also important element when thinking about social work. I think that everybody thinks about death once a while but rarely ever speak about it. It opens different kind of feelings in people’s minds and when we talked about it in the workshop, it was interesting to see how different cultures have different ways to relate to death and dying.
It is hard to summarize all about the summer school. First time in my life I thought that I could participate in the same course again. Not only because of the wonderful people and super interesting lectures, but also because it made me think so much about my own behavior and attitude when I meet people from other cultures. I feel like most of the social work students have same kind of drive to leave some kind of positive mark in the world and I remembered the words of one song where it is said ”When you change yourself, you change the world”. After the summer school those words make me so much more sense.
Social work student, University of Lapland