The experiences of three students of the Social Worker Bachelor’s degree returning from Senegal and Canada

Late December 2023, three students in the 3rd year of the Social Worker Bachelor’s degree in Mons returned proudly from their 3-month internship abroad. It is with emotion that they shared the memories they have gathered during the time spent over there. 

In the 3rd year of this Bachelor’s degree, interns have the opportunity for 12 weeks to further develop their autonomy, initiative, and take on more challenging tasks: assisting more vulnerable or endangered populations. When these opportunities are combined with a journey abroad, the experience becomes extraordinary for our students. 

Three diverse internships 

  • Paul joined the NGO Sentinelles in M’Bour (Senegal), specializing in Child Aid: “I mainly worked with young people aged between 5 to 20 who live in extreme conditions. We tried to help them  in the best possible way: medical care, professional training, and activities to bring smiles to their faces. It was frontline work where the lives of children and families are sometimes at stake. 
  • Adèle, on the other hand, went to the Center for Social Pediatrics in Gatineau (Quebec, Canada), specializing in helping children from vulnerable families: “I led children’s groups, conducted individual follow-ups, wrote notes, etc. 
  • Armelle joined her in Gatineau at the Belvédère: “My commitment to Youth Aid led me to this temporary housing center for homeless youth. I conducted individual follow-ups and organized activities to enhance the autonomy of young people in various aspects of daily life.” 


A significant step towards the job market 

During this internship, our future graduates acquired the skills and knowledge required at the end of the program. Adèle explains, “I learned new intervention techniques with children.” Armelle reveals, “I deepened my understanding of the Quebec system and refined my social work skills.”

Behaviorally, the goal of autonomy was achieved. Armelle adds, “On a personal level, I strengthened my autonomy by adopting a proactive approach to achieve my goals.” Adèle shares, “During my internship, I was considered a social worker like my colleagues because I carried out several activities alone… I managed to find my identity as a social worker. 

Grown-up students 

Doing an internship and getting closer to the profession is one thing, but living a life experience alongside  is another one. Paul  confides, “This return to the essentials was one of my best memories. Even though some moments were more challenging than others, this personal adventure made me evolve a lot. Experiencing a culture where life practices are completely different was absolutely incredible!”

An experience abroad that leads to self-reflection, as Armelle confirms, “When you are abroad, you must be ready to recognize and accept cultural differences because the rest of the world operates differently from Belgium.” Besides this self-reflection, the experience also allows our students to become responsible adults. Adèle proudly notes, “It was the first time I lived alone. This experience allowed me to be more independent and improve my adaptability. 


Published on 21 February 2024

HELHa Social