Guiding Foreign Students in Practical Placement – Sharing Ideas and Good Practices

Tag Archives: mentor

What is the value of our work?

We aim to help our teachers and mentors encourage you (the students) to take an active role in developing yourselves as professionals, domestically and internationally. Different countries offer students different perspectives and approaches in their field of study and allow for creativity in one’s academic and professional work by combining knowledge into something completely new to bring back home or to your place of work for the benefit of everyone around you.

To that extent we decided to talk to teachers, mentors and students and found a discrepancy in teacher and mentor multicultural competencies as well as underlying processes and infrastructure in higher education institutions as well as practical placement institutions in different countries. This, of course, directly impacts the students learning experience at university and when doing practical placement; the way teachers and mentors relate to students is key to providing a safe and encouraging learning environment to ensure best learning outcomes for future professionals.

We aim to improve competencies of teachers and mentors to help students along so they spend less effort and time and still have a great time studying and learning new skills for their profession.

This leaves more time for travelling around and hiking a mountain peak, soaking in a different culture, sightseeing historical monuments and having a taste of the local cuisine.  This also encourages students to learn how to cope and deal with cultures different from their own, a very practical skill for later in the professional career. Putting it all on a scale, it’s a win-win situation.


What is Soulbus?


Soulbus is the answer to the current and future challenges of multiculturalism. People migrate from country to country for many reasons: seeking new educational or professional challenges, marrying into another country or simply looking for a temporary change of scenery. Some countries advertise a labour shortage of a particular profession and offer enticing incentives to migrants to fill these gaps and help the economy move on. In most cases, in order to sustain themselves these migrants seek employment.

Experiences faced by these migrants, professional and otherwise, do not reflect solely on the difference between culture in the host and home country but also on gap between the professional and educational standards of the two countries. In many cases, after degree’s have been evaluated for recognition, migrants are encouraged to take differential courses to match the qualifications of the host country so they may work. The EU is dealing with this issue through the Bologna process by making university curricula comparable.

Soulbus takes this agenda one step further and brings together a consortium of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Working Life Partners (WLPs) from seven different countries to identify and address issues in degree programmes and the compulsory practical placements that may interfere with international students getting the best out the degree programmes they are enrolled into due to a culture gap between them and the host country. In history we learn that culture is represented by artifacts around us left by civilizations; it is also represented today all around us by intangibles such as language, customs, beliefs and behaviours. Misinterpretations in all these mentioned above may lead to misunderstandings, tensions or even altercations  which represent challenges when trying to integrate into another culture.

Soulbus will address these between the partners and find a formula to effectively manage these issues for the benefit of teachers teaching at Universities, mentors training students in practical placements, students already studying who are in classes with foreigners as well as foreign students dedicating their time and effort to study in another country to obtain a degree. The expected results are more effective learning in a culturally aware environment and better professionals coming out from universities to the labour market; contributing effectively to the economy. The European Commission understands the importance of this project and provides funding through European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme.

At the moment Soulbus focuses on the fields of education, rehabilitation and social & health care, it is a stepping stone for having an answer to issues in other professional fields such as economics, architecture, art, music, law and so on. So, hop on! Next stop – Multicultural awareness and competencies for everyone!