How can a student provide social services

Report by Alice Wuschech from August 2015: My dual study program "Social Services"

Hello dear readers, interested parties and your prospective dual students,

I would like to share my experiences with you and at the same time give you an insight into the application process, the theoretical and practical time as well as the course content and personal requirements.

I, Alice Wuschech (27 years old), study dual studies through the Cottbus city administration - until then it was a long, but exciting and challenging path. Now I am at the end of the second semester, the exams are imminent and I have already completed almost a year out of a total of three years of study. The course of study is Social Work / Social Pedagogy with a major in Social Services and, after my degree (Bachelor of Arts), opens up a wide range of opportunities for me to work, among others. in the following fields of work:

  • Advice (addiction, debts, applying for help, etc.)
  • Child and youth work
  • Educational work
  • Healthcare
  • Intercultural work
  • Youth and family court assistance (youth welfare office)
  • Social administration
  • migration
  • Prevention and rehabilitation
  • Street work / mobile youth work
  • Crisis intervention
  • …and much more!

How did I come across the city administration of Cottbus? What is a dual course of study? How does theory and practice work during my studies and what personal requirements do I have to meet?


During the last time I was employed, there was an opportunity for further development that I wanted to take advantage of. The time was right to start studying, but not just any. I immediately thought of a dual course of study and went straight to the search. Here I asked “Google” about a dual study program in the social field within Brandenburg / Berlin. Then, surprisingly, I discovered that the city administration of Cottbus has been offering this course for 2 years in my home country. Enthusiastic and highly motivated, I dared the challenge, at the same time accepted it and applied for a dual study place at the city of Cottbus. It is important to mention that the application period ends almost a year before the start of your studies - usually in the autumn / winter of the previous year. You can find out more about the application criteria and school requirements at

One thing is certain, who after the application round, first starting with the pre-selection from all applications (attention: handwritten cover letter!), Then follows an aptitude test (questions on different areas, e.g. general education, historical-political facts as well as mathematical and linguistic competence) and later on after the interview (with a 10-minute presentation) you can rightly be proud of yourself.

But don't worry, you can do it too! For those who have finally been awarded a place at the City of Cottbus: Congratulations! Now an exciting, but also challenging and time-consuming study period begins. But as the saying goes, studying means: make an effort!

Why a dual degree?

First and foremost, a dual course of study combines theory with practice and is therefore varied. The knowledge from the theoretical time can be applied or consolidated in the practical time, but it can also be expanded. Furthermore, a dual course of study offers me an initial financial security or support during the entire period of study. Without any savings or family support, the already very good training allowance is not enough. In addition, and that is probably the decisive criterion, the course gives me the opportunity to get a taste of many different areas during the practical period, both within and outside the city administration. In this way I find out more about my strengths, but also about my weaknesses, and at the same time I can orient myself which area is more or less my favorite. Added to this are the many practical experiences, the structured course of study and the alternation between theory and practice, which a full-time course at a college / university cannot provide in this form.

How does theory and practice work during my studies?

The course always begins on October 1st of the same year and begins with the practical phase in the Cottbus city administration. This is about getting to know a certain area and the employees for the first time and getting to know the individual work processes. Not only running along, but also getting involved and being active is in the foreground for a student. The entire practical time is used for personal development and the acquisition of knowledge (important for the theoretical phase for better understanding). In addition, the student can present himself to his practice partner during this time and prove his knowledge and skills.

After the first three months, the first theoretical phase takes place at the vocational academy in Gera. The seminar groups are divided into a maximum of 35 people per course, which facilitates the transfer of knowledge and enables the best possible exchange with professors and students. In theory, content such as B .:

  • Professional identity formation
  • Upbringing, education and socialization
  • Communication and interaction
  • Advice and case management
  • Health sciences
  • Social benefit law, social security
  • Child and youth welfare law and criminal law
  • Family law and administrative law
  • Planning, organization and management
  • Group and community work
  • Clinical social work

and a lot of other knowledge (see

This is followed by the last and also decisive question, whether the interest in the above. Areas that include a degree in social work / social pedagogy are available and what personal requirements must be brought along? I have to say that the content is very broad, which confirmed my decision. Due to this diversity, I have many possible uses after graduation and I am not tied to a specific direction. In addition to social skills, which are not enough on their own, there should be an interest in some commercial as well as legal focuses. Both patience and perseverance (required when working with people), empathy (i.e. being able to empathize with other people) as well as open-mindedness, creativity, good communication and interaction techniques, flexibility and resilience to other personal characteristics. A positive image of people, optimism, the joy of dealing with people, enjoying working with people who find themselves in difficult life situations, advising, supporting and accompanying them, are other notable requirements and personal attitudes.

Ultimately, social work is an affair of the heart that focuses on people with their questions, needs and problems. Interested parties should feel that they are being addressed, among other things. meet the requirements mentioned and / or know and appreciate the importance of social work. But also those who curiously listened to the experience reports in exchange with the family or friends and / or were able to gain experience themselves, perhaps even helped or supportive in coping with a difficult life situation and experienced a lot of joy for themselves as well as giving joy could.

Tip! The most important thing and what should always come first when deciding on a profession and in working life is the personal motivation behind it, as well as the joy in performing your work!

With this in mind, dare to take on the challenge, apply and experience a diverse and exciting degree program at the Cottbus city administration.

I look forward to you all,

Your Alice!