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Social Work

Exchange courses in Social Work

An English-taught programme for international exchange students who have obtained at least 120 ECTS in social work, at bachelor level.

You should select courses from this list for a minimum of 24 ECTS. You can't combine them with courses from another programme. 

AUTUMN 2024           




93SMW3210 The internationalist*


90ERA9010 Applied research


90ERA9020 Sociology of the family


90ERA9030 Social Policy in international perspective


90ERA9040 Social methodology


90ERA9050 Integrated Social work


93SMW3150 Wilderness & Adventure Therapy**


*This course is obligatory for all students.

** Organised 2nd week of september. Participation fee approx. €250. Official teaching language is Dutch, but translation will be provided.

Language courses 


Summer School English (4/9-13/9)


80ERA9031 Survival Dutch 3
80ERA9032 English for eXchange  3

Course content 

For official course catalogue information check the course catalogue: Course Catalogue 2024-2025 (available from june 2024).

Below you can find a description of the course contents.

The internationalist

Developing intercultural competence is becoming increasingly important in today’s globalized world. Communicating with people from different cultures is central to our lives in the global context.

This course is designed to explore culture (self)awareness, acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes that will increase your intercultural (communication) competences.

A variety of teaching methods including lectures, discussions, group work, exercises and creative modalities will be used to obtain the objectives in this international classroom.

Applied research

In this course, students learn to apply the basic tenets of social work research. In the first part of the course, we will go (inter)actively through all the important steps to be taken in the research process: formulating and writing a problem statement, distilling a clear research question, making choices as to the correct study design, defining the population and making a sample, choosing your data collection methods, and devising a data collection instrument. Throughout the process, attention will be paid to potential caveats that might negatively affect the quality of your study. In the second part of the course, a research proposal has to be written on a topic that can be chosen from the domain of family and society with strong relevance for social work. A research proposal is a complete description of an intended research project. Through the full proposal, the student needs to demonstrate convincingly how the study will make a contribution to the literature by describing all the different research steps mentioned above.

Sociology of the family

Social changes in the Western world have led to changes in the traditional family structure and to the emergence of new family structures. The course provides an overview of the field of theories and research in family sociology with some additional emphasis on partnership, parenting, generational dimensions of family life, the relationship between family and work and dysfunctional relationships. We discuss a number of important topics such as transitions in young adulthood, union formation (occurrence and timing of marriage, unmarried cohabitation and living apart together), union dissolution (causes and consequences of divorce and separation), repartnering dynamics, parenting, intergenerational solidarity, work-life balance and family violence and abuse. The course literature consists of theoretical explanations as well as recent empirical research.

Social Policy in international perspective

This course aims at providing basic knowledge with respect to social policy in its widest sense, to familiarize students with relevant primary and secondary sources, and to interpret these sources critically. Potential topics include healthcare challenges, social security and assistance, the different welfare systems, asylum policies, and the connection between social security and poverty. Each topic will be discussed with attention given to the social, economic, and political factors present and with a focus on European trends.

Social methodology

We are born into families. Our first relationships, our first group, and our first experience of the world are with and through our families. We develop, grow, and hopefully die in the context of our families. Family members share the past, present, and future.
Families exist in a context of multiple factors that are frequently beyond their control- including communities, labour markets, …- yet it is within the family that there is an opportunity to deal with the effects of these broader systems.
As social workers we are often confronted with family functioning in moments of family crisis. Interaction in families is influenced by several factors, such as the individual, the family life cycle, the extended family, society, … . This makes working with families a complex matter.

In this course, students learn how to approach families methodically. Basic theoretical knowledge will be supported by practice.

Integrated Social work

In this course, students will learn how to use their position as a future social worker to politicize the issues they are observing or running into. Many problems social workers and their clients deal with, are not only personal problems but also problems linked to broader social mechanisms requiring social and political change. The course will first give a sound theoretical background on important concepts and challenges about the politicizing role of the social worker, interwoven with real-life examples of organisations putting this role into practice. During a two-day field visit, the student will also have the opportunity to have a closer look at some of the strategies used by such organisations to reach their goals. As part of the course, students are also asked to apply the acquired knowledge themselves by way of a group paper, either by analysing the politicizing strategies of different organisations working on the same issue (from an international comparative perspective) or by developing a series of politicizing strategies themselves about a topic of their own choice.
Mandatory field visits are scheduled and will cost approximately 75 euros.

Wilderness & Adventure Therapy  

This international summer school is an intensive programme (one-week camping in the Belgian Ardennes) that aims to develop three different competencies:

  • coaching and guiding techniques build on experiences (wilderness & adventure), communication, therapeutic and coaching models, and a therapeutic relationship
  • organisation skills to create specific therapeutic and coaching programs.
  • therapeutic transfer skills to help in transferring skills learned by clients to their real-life environment.

Students will learn how to work with clients wanting to focus on a change in their behavior, improving their self-control, their resilience, and their social and emotional skills. The clients can be children and adults, with mental health problems, learning disabilities, ...
Students will develop skills by learning techniques from experiential therapy, wilderness & adventure therapy, reflective communication, ...
There will be assignments before and after summer school.
The fee for this course will be approximately 250 euros.

Find out more!

Summer School English

An intensive English language course (held before the start of the other courses) for incoming and outgoing PXL students (45 hours divided over 7 days, not on Saturday and Sunday).

In order to determine your level you'll have to complete a written intake and an oral intake interview before the start of the Summer School on 4/9 on campus in Hasselt. The written intake can also be done online in advance.

Using authentic material, this course gives you the best possible chance of making the most of your educational opportunities and it provides help in developing essential skills for your career. You'll also make a field trip to get to know Hasselt and your fellow students.

With the focus on general English you will be given the opportunity to practice on:

  • Writing reports, essays …
  • Giving presentations, seminar discussions …
  • Taking notes on the main points of a lectures …
  • Understanding main ideas in paragraphs and longer texts …
  • Brief recapitulation of the main grammar items…

Survival Dutch

You will learn the basics of the Dutch language so you will be able to take the bus/train, find your way in Hasselt or order a pint in a pub.There is a strong focus on communication, listening to conversations by native speakers and understanding the (basic) contents. 


  • Meeting and greeting, on the road
  • In town: shopping - eating – drinking – washing clothes
  • The alphabet, pronunciation
  • Numbers, time, dates
  • Going out, making an appointment
  • Health, going to the doctor and pharmacy.

The lectures will take place during 9 weeks (sept-dec), this with a frequency of 3 hours (evening) a week. 

English for eXchange

In this course, students learn how to communicate in an international (professional) context. Students work on their general language skills as well as improve their language competences so that they can function in an international working environment.

This course is designed to practice the four communicative skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking by e.g.:

  • reading newspaper articles and short stories and understanding the (basic) contents;
  • deriving the meaning of selected vocabulary items from a text;
  • writing formal/neutral (professional) and informal emails or letters;
  • listening to conversations by native speakers and understanding the (basic) contents;
  • watching short movie fragments and understanding the (basic) contents;
  • expressing one's opinion about topics of general or professional interest;
  • having everyday (professional) conversations/performing role plays.

The exact contents of the course is subject to change and is open to suggestions by students. Students extend their vocabulary by reading real life texts, listening to conversations by native speakers and by having conversations and playing role plays.

They study grammar items by doing exercises and will have to put these grammatical items into practice in conversations and in writing.

The lectures will take place during 9 weeks (sept-dec), this with a frequency of 3 hours (evening) a week.