The project which ran for more than a year dealt with social inequality, poverty and also partly with the housing problem. The spatial focus was on the two cities Essen and Bochum in the Ruhr area.
The aim was to combine the approach of community-based research with the approach of service learning. The students worked together in three project teams and developed research and service ideas for community partners.
Students should be given the opportunity to combine professional, methodological and social learning. Through the project work in three student teams and the cooperation with community partners certain skills have been trained that fall into the area of social competence, methodological competence as well as individual competence. The following skills are worth to be mentioned: respect and tolerance, time management, working in teams, project management, communication strategies, persuasive power, self-discipline, emotional intelligence. These are all key competencies and skills that are important for later professional life and for working in interdisciplinary and international teams.
The intensive substantive discussion of very complex socio-geographical as well as methodological questions and the preparation of proposals should also promote a deeper interest in scientific work and the adoption of a research-oriented behaviour at an early stage of study. In addition, the overall aim was to raise awareness of social issues and of different dimensions of diversity in society in practical action and theoretical approach.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to the Institute of Geography for the additional support of the project, without which it would not have been possible to complete the accompanying research activities during the Covid-19 pandemic.