Training of Drohobych University students under Erasmus + Program

Sofia Rendzyniak, a third-year student at the Faculty of Psychology, Pedagogy and Social Work, shares her impressions of her studying in Belgium:

“I am a third-year student at Drohobych University, studying at the Faculty of Psychology, Pedagogy and Social Work to become a social pedagogue/worker. I have known about international connections and student mobility to Belgium since the first year. So, I had an even greater motivation to study hard to get this dream place. In my third year I was very lucky when I got this wonderful opportunity to be an Erasmus student. Despite the fact that our chances of leaving for Belgium were decreasing due to COVID-19, we followed all the rules of quarantine restrictions and still went to study for a semester. Many thanks to the former Dean of our faculty Ihor Hrynyk and all those who volunteered to help to go through the registration and application formalities with us. Special thanks to Hogeschool VIVES, the administration and all the teachers for their great support and invaluable knowledge. Thank you, Svitlana Musina, for a warm welcome and a wonderful tour of Bruges. We are infinitely grateful to you for your support and help. You really became our Belgian mother.

The program itself was called SPACE – Social Pedagogical Art & Creativity Exploration – VIVES, which combined art and creativity as part of socio-pedagogical activities. This program gave me the opportunity to gain valuable experience for my future profession. We had the opportunity to explore the way art and creativity can be used in socio-pedagogical settings. Creative development is extremely important for people with disabilities because creativity is the most accessible way of self-expression. In addition, with the help of creativity, people with special needs have the opportunity to realize their abilities, open up, become more confident, get rid of fears, adapt to society, undergo successful socialization and correct various types of deviations.

The program included theory and practice, work during classes and individual work. We took an active part in group work on projects, seminars, visited organizations and presented our own projects. The purpose of this program was not limited by the creative development of the individual. In my opinion, it is very important to be aware of the contribution of art and creativity to a democratic society and socio-educational space. S.P.A.C.E gave us an idea of ​​creative and artistic pedagogical approaches. We were able to learn to think more globally and critically. During the seminars, we overcame difficulties and obstacles, which prompted us to create interesting ideas where you could freely use your imagination. We were able to see how responsible and persistent the ability to work in a group or team is. Individual tasks allowed both to demonstrate one’s own ideas and to learn new and valuable information. Working on projects is also a great experience and an opportunity to create something exceptional.

Erasmus+ has a number of other possibilities. In addition to valuable professional experience, we could develop our own creative abilities even finding a new hobby or liking. We met new friends from different parts of the world, got acquainted with the cultures of other countries, shared experiences and borrowed the experience of others. Live communication was a good practice and an opportunity to improve the English language skills. We also found time for exciting trips outside of Belgium. Even during classes we were able to visit new cities and interesting places.

Semester training in Belgium was an incredibly exciting time, a period of great opportunities, valuable experience and unforgettable memories.”