social work

Beware of stereotypes: world saviours sitting in a circle

There are wild rumours and prejudices about many professional fields and courses of study. André does away with these stereotypes about social work, once and for all.


Prejudice 1: You’re not interested in disdainful mammon. You work solely to make the world a better place.

It is true: Those who are at home in social work have no intention of conquering the seven seas with their yacht. The pedal boat on Lake Phoenix is just as fine. A look in the refrigerator confirms that wealth is not at home here. My idea of a model student of social work fell apart early on. Because instead of organic vegetables, chia seeds and soy milk, it’s rather cheap affordable products. A big thank you to Dr. Oetker and the invention of the frozen pizza! But that’s something you don’t mind accepting. At least during your studies. Afterwards, a bit more is in order. But of course without losing sight of reality. You cannot put a price on the joy and twinkle in the kids’ eyes. You also cannot put a price on all the great deeds that you support people with. This may not fill your wallet, but the wealth accumulated in this way cannot be paid for with all the money in the world.

Prejudice 2: Honestly, though – your studies can’t really keep up with the demands of a MINT course, can they?

Of course not. I’m only sitting here anyway because I didn’t make it into Business Studies and didn’t know what else I would like to be one day. But things didn’t work out too badly: Painting by numbers and kids’ games are only a few highlights on the semester plan. Only I imagined painting by numbers to be a bit different: The paragraph symbol is quite hard to draw. And this picture. It’s huge. As a child, the fields didn’t reach up to §1009 ff. And those people, who think it’s all just like a kindergarten, are in the wrong: In fact, there are whispers in the specialist field that Social Work has even become semi-professional by now.

Prejudice 3: Corners are too aggressive for you – that’s why you like sitting in circles.

Right. We sit in circles with children, parents or other clients and plan how to save the world. Of course we can’t forget candles, incense sticks, a pot of tea and a blanket for discussions, too. Sort of like at grandmother’s for lunch on Sundays. But only sort of. While Jonas tries to ask Peter, sitting opposite him, using sign language whether he has time today, and little Jessica braids Franziska’s hair, you can’t finish your point, because little Oscar constantly thinks he knows everything better and interrupts you. But then you finally finish. After 17 minutes you were able to convey your eight sentences on the subject of behaviour in the institution. After less than five minutes, the misbehaviour just mentioned starts up again, while you try to pull the glue out of a girl’s hair. Good thing that there are social workers. Goals such as resocialisation or integration do not work by themselves and require much more than just a cosy meeting by candlelight. And I will have to disappoint anyone who thinks that social work is basically paid tea time.


André is 23 years old and has been studying social work at the IUBH Dual Studies Programme in Dortmund since the summer semester 2018. In his spare time he enjoys football, darts and comedy. He also loves foreign languages, is fluent in Dutch, and his next goal is to speak Spanish fluently.

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