What students’ Facebook posts teach us about the identity challenge in field placements abroad

Rebecca Ranz, Orit Nuttman-Shwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Facebook is a common tool that enables students to publicly express their emotions, thoughts, experiences, and knowledge. On the assumption that the personal narratives of students can provide deep insights into their learning processes during practical training programs, the article presents content analyses of Facebook posts written by Israeli students who participated in an international social work field placement program in India. Content analysis of the students’ posts reveals that they grappled with their personal and professional identities as part of the learning process that occurred while they were formulating their professional identity as social workers. The analysis elicited three main themes: (1) awareness of the national identity; (2) exploration of other identities (personal, professional, and global); and (3) an attempt to contain multidimensional identity. The students discussed the main challenges they faced in the process of formulating an identity that will enable them to engage in international social work, and they described the fluctuations that occurred in those identities. The results show how public Facebook posts can be used as a tool to shed light on the contribution of social work education in international field placements, and provide insights into the learning processes that students experience in field placements abroad.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-150
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Facebook
  • field placement
  • globalization
  • identity
  • indigenous
  • international social work
  • social work education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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