On 16-20 November 2015, the International Week took place on Arcada University of Applied Sciences. The event provided an opportunity for students in the fields of social services, occupational therapy, and nursing to meet and together reflect on a number of issues related to the ethical dimensions of their professions. It also offered the participants an opportunity to practice in English the terminology connected to their specific professional field. The intention was to make all students practice their English skills and also to have them get into contact with people from all over the world.
There were six separate topics during the week. The lectures were given by teachers representing the different educational programmes participating in the event as well as by guest lecturers from both Finland and other countries. Each lecture elaborated on a specific theme related to the course’s overall theme, namely different ethical issues that are connected to the professions in question. Tied to each lecture was a workshop, in which the students (that had been divided into groups) were to work on some given assignments. Ira Jeglinsky-Kankainen held a lecture about guidelines when planning buildings and other premises according to the standards of Universal Design. Somewhat related to that topic was Anna Colden’s lecture on the question of independence for persons in need of continuous personal assistance. Lena Knudsmark presented the theoretical understanding of reality in terms of social constructions and the relevance of this theory for practical professions focused on care. In relation to these lectures students were to discuss questions of stable knowledge and whether there is a need for narrative resistance in the specific professional fields in question. The two remaining lectures both dealt with the question of diversity: whereas Nabaz Baki shared his experiences as a refugee in Finland, Denise Villikka talked about diversity in care encounters and the importance of moving away from a perspective of tolerance (where differences are tolerated) towards an attitude of acceptance and love in the way we encounter people within the context of our professions.
Apart from the lectures and workshops, the programme included introductory sessions as well as a so called Cultural awareness-game. It activated the participants by structuring the programme around workshops with different tasks and time had also been reserved for the preparation of the presentations to be performed on the seminar day. The programme of the International Week was rich and provided insights into many aspects of the professions of people working in the field of social services and care.
//Audelina Ahumada, student at the programme for social services