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Summer school: Refugee children and families in Europe, social work and counselling.

International Undergraduate Summer School organised by the University College Odisee Brussels in partnership with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Fachhochschule) Dortmund, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Platform Kinderen op de vlucht / La Plate-forme Mineurs en exil

25 June – 6 July 2018 in Brussels, Odisee, Campus Schaarbeek

Join us this summer for an international Summer School in the heart of Europe. Internationally acknowledged lecturers, experienced guest speakers, off-campus excursions to European institutions, (inter)national NGOs and facilities, and an interesting social programme make this Summer School informative AND fun. Classes take place at a small and pleasant campus in Schaarbeek in the North of Brussels. Public transport takes you in 15 minutes to the main attractions in Brussels.

Trauma and resilience

Persecution, conflicts and human rights violations continue to force people to flee their homes and seek safety in Europe. Many families with children or unaccompanied minors risk their lives to find a new life in European countries. These families and children do not only need a safe haven, housing, access to schooling and health services, many of them also need assistance to overcome the separation of their family and the consequences of violence and abuse, which they experienced in their country of origin or during the journey. Parents and especially children show a remarkable resilience in coping with difficult situations and trauma. Social workers and counsellors have the important task to strengthen this resilience and to support the recovery of families and children after forced migration.

This two-week summer course introduces key issues in social work and counselling for refugee families and children to students and professionals. Participants will get a thorough theoretical basis in lectures and workshops offered by specialized psychologists and social scientists. Field visits of organisations working with refugee families and children will confront the participants with relevant methodologies and how to apply them in this context. 



The summer school is composed of 4 modules.

  • Students need to take all four modules to obtain ECTS-certificates and need to deliver a reflection paper two weeks after the summer course.
  • Professionals can participate in specific modules and topics.

Module 1: General introduction

  • General introduction by UNHCR on Refugee children and families in Europe
  • Lecture on the position of human rights in social work  (dr. Hans Van Crombrugge, Odisee)
  • Lecture on superdiversity and transmigration in Europe (dr. Dirk Geldof, Odisee and University of Antwerp)
  • Keylecture  on trauma and resilience of refugee communities (Gail Womersley (Institute  of Psychology and Education, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Neuchatel, SwitserlandSwitzerland)
  • Visit toat the European Commission, meeting with Margaret Tuite, the European Commission Coordinator for the Rights of the Child
  • Discussion forum with several NGO’s

Module 2: Reception initiatives: counselling and social work with children and families

  • Lecture on counselling and social work with children and families in reception initiatives (prof. dr. Patrick Meurs, Odisee and Sigmund Freud Institut, Frankfurt)
  • Lecture on Trauma and resilience in refugee families
  • Visits to refugee centres in Belgium
  • Visit toat UNICEF

Module 3: Unaccompanied minors and separated children: counselling and social work

  • Lecture on problems and resilience of unaccompanied minors and separated children (Prof. dr. Ilse Derluyn, University of Ghent)
  • Discussion Forum on individual assistance of volunteers with guardians of unaccompanied minors, the EU Children’s Rights Commissioner, NGO’s, …
  • Visit to Missing Children Europe
  • Visits to initiatives for unaccompanied minors in Belgium

Module 4: Integration of refugee families and children in society: counselling and social work in a long-term perspective

  • Lecture on the integration of refugee children and families in society (Safoura Ghaeminia, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands.
  • Visits to reception an integration agencies and projects for refugees in Belgium
  • Workshops on methods of counselling and social work in the long term

Practical Information

Target group
Undergraduate students (2nd, 3rd and 4th grade) of social work, social sciences, applied psychology, anthropology, counselling, health sciences, education … who want to develop a broader view on social work and counselling work with refugee families and children, both on a theoretical and methodological level. The number of participants for the complete programme will be limited to 40 students.

Language: English


Registration fee: €350, visits and lunches included.

Students of Erasmus+-partners have special arrangements.

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Miet Timmers
Miet Timmers

Phone: 0032 2 240.68.40
Office: Campus HIG

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