March 2, 2016

Through the Participant's Eyes: A German Social Worker in the U.S.


Uwe StabBackground on CIPUSA's Relationship with the German Society for International Cooperation

CIPUSA has been hosting German social workers for the past 50 years through a special partnership with the German Government that was formed by our founder Henry Ollendorff.  CIPUSA is now working with a new German partner, Deutsche Gesellschaft fu¨r Internationale Zusammenarbeit— GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation), who has replaced our longtime partner organization Arbeitsgemeinschaft fu¨r Kinder- und Jugendhilfe— AGJ (Child Welfare Alliance).

GIZ now manages the program for the German government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation.  GIZ solicits applications from social workers throughout the country. 

For the past few years, CIPUSA's Director of Programs, Kate Cohen, has traveled to Germany to help interview and select German social workers to be placed at training sites throught our affiliate offices across the U.S.


What life was like in the United States for German Social Worker, Uwe Stab

Mr. Uwe Stab works in Child Protection & Family Support Services in Germany.  He is 52 years old and is married with two teenagers.

Uwe was placed though our affiliate office in Kalamazoo, MI, Colleagues International.  From August to November 2015, he worked with the Kalamazoo County Department of Health & Human Services (child protective services falls under this department in Kalamazoo).

Uwe really enjoyed his time in the U.S.—He had actually participated in a year-long high school exchange in Colorado when he was just a teenager and was able to meet up with his Colorado host family during his stay this past fall.

Uwe made the most of his experience—He joined a soccer league in the community, got a bike and rode it 700+ miles (wow!) in and around Kalamazoo, and met lots of interesting people both personally and professionally.

Uwe noticed that Americans are very informal and easier to communicate with than Germans upon first meeting.  He liked the opportunity to have informal exchanges at his U.S. training site with colleagues before and after meetings, at lunch, etc., and found that these communications actually helped with the work he was involved in.

Uwe was impressed that each social worker at his agency had agency-issued laptops, phones, and even cars that they could use when needed to go and meet with clients—this is not the case in his work in Germany.  Many of the U.S. social workers texted with their clients to set up meetings, etc., and Uwe thought it was a much more efficient way to communicate on certain work matters.

"Through the Participant's Eyes" is a serial piece highlighting the experiences of past participants.

Posted by Lindsey Walsh on March 2, 2016 at 4:25 PM in Participant Permalink
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