Taisekwa Sigobodhla is a second-year student in the Social Services programme taught through English at Laurea University of Applied Sciences. For Taisekwa, who grew up in Zimbabwe, studies in the Social Services programme were not something she had planned.
- Originally, I came to Finland some 10 years ago to do business studies in an English Bachelor’s programme at the university, she explains.
- However, I could not find a job after my graduation and ended up being employed in children's day-care services in Helsinki. I worked there for a total of four years in different tasks and then decided to continue my studies to become a qualified kindergarten teacher.
Working together with an extensive network of professionals
Social Services students at Laurea can select a study path that leads to a kindergarten teacher’s qualification, and this is what Taisekwa intends to do. However, she has discovered many other interesting possibilities during her studies.
- Working with children is great, but you also work with the entire family at the same time and become familiar with the whole cooperation network around day-care: the child health clinic, the school and so on, Sigobodhla describes.
- This is what is so interesting about social work in general; diverse cooperation with an extensive network of professionals. The extensive scope of this work is something I find really interesting.
Projects that familiarise you with practical work with different customer groups are an essential part of Social Services studies at Laurea. So far, Taisekwa Sigobodhla has participated in projects that involved informal carers, immigrants and older people among other things.
- The best part of the projects is that they open your eyes to see areas of social work that you never even thought about before, she says.
- One course, for example, which we took together with nursing students, focused on mental health patients and intoxicant abuse. It was a real eye-opener.
Forging links between the theory and practice
Taisekwa Sigobodhla finds studying at Laurea very different from her previous experiences of university studies. Rather than just attending lectures and classes, a large part of the learning now takes place in projects.
- I felt a little bit nervous at first about studying at Laurea, as doing projects was completely new for me, she says.
- However, now I really appreciate project learning, as it allows you to apply what you have learned in authentic practical work and teaches you to work with different people and partner organisations.
Taisekwa has noticed that, in particular, project work teaches you to see the big picture. In the projects, it is the students’ responsibility to ensure that all tasks - both small and large - are completed on schedule.
- On the other hand, the projects - and especially writing the reports that are part of them - allow you to forge strong links between the theory that you studied and the practical work, Taisekwa explains.
Read more student stories from Laurea.