International Professional Exchange Programs (PEP)

CIF-PEPs are offered to professionals in social work and closely related fields with at least two years of work experience and the necessary language skills. Usually this is English, but there are PEPs in Spanish and French too. A typical PEP’s length is between two and five weeks, but in the USA up to 18 months. It offers             

  • an introduction to the culture, and the social, and economic conditions of the host country;
  • professional and personal exchanges between the participants and representatives of the host country, and also among the participants themselves;
  • insight into various different agencies of social services;
  • depending on the country and the language, a smaller or larger part of the program is customised to individual professional needs;
  • a stay with host families is a crucial part of the philosophy of CIF.

Are you interested? An overview of the exchange programs can be found here and the application form to participate in a foreign program is here.


The Swiss CIF PEP

Since 2009 CIF Switzerland has organized PEPs for participants from all over the world. More than 30 professionals from 15 countries took part. We work in close co-operation with the Swiss professional association of social work, AvenirSocial, the Fédération Internationale des Communautés Educatives FICE, Universities of Applied Sciences, Department of Social Work, specialists and agencies of social services.

Program outline, visits and host families

Our PEP takes two and a half weeks and has a modular design.

Module 1, Introduction: PEP participants live in a youth hostel, they get to know each other and the Swiss CIF team.

They receive an overview about living in Switzerland, its social and political system, social welfare and education systems. Every participant presents a description of the socio-economic situation and cultural trends of her/his own country. This facilitates cultural exchange, cross-cultural training, and sharing of ideas and skills. After introduction they are accommodated by their host families. There they get a unique insight into Swiss culture and daily life.

Module 2: Over 5 working days during the second weeks particular attention is given to specific fields and working methods in social services. Participants get an overview from specialists, visit different organisations and share views with their professional colleagues.

Module 3: Over 2-3 working days during the third week, an individual program is organised, focusing on the specific needs of each participant.

After each module a reflection session of 2-3 hours is organized. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on their experiences, clarify ambiguities or questions and share their experiences from their own professional field.

Module 4: Here the overall evaluation of the PEP takes place in the whole group.

Would you like to participate in an International Professional Exchange Program in Switzerland? Do not hesitate and sign up today.

Number of participants, language skills, financial conditions

CIF Switzerland will select 4 to 8 participants from all the applications and inform them within a month after the deadline. The working language is English; participants have to be competent to be able to fully participate and gain from the experiences.

Participation demands full commitment. Therefore it is not possible to bring along family members or friends. CIF Switzerland disclaims any responsibility in this respect.

The participant’s fee is 400 Swiss francs which are used to cover the costs related to the organization of the program. The fee covers accommodation in the whole period: in a youth hostel for the group of participants together in the 4 first days; all travel costs in Switzerland, honoraria for specialists, and so on. Host families take on the responsibility for board, breakfast and dinner. Travel costs to and from the country, as well as visa, insurance and some lunches are the responsibility of the participant. Confirmation regarding the insurance cover is to be presented upon arrival. Participants are also responsible for any living expenses which are not related to participation in the actual program. These include expenses such as toiletries, gifts, souvenirs, personal travel etc., their own long distance communication costs, and all expenses before and after the period of the program.



Intercontinental exchange of experience on the impact of Covid-19 in social work

Taiwan, Sweden, Argentina or India: Covid-19 is spreading, and social work has to find a way to deal with the impact. In a digital conference, female experts shared their experiences and used case studies to show what currently matters.

Article in Curaviva 11/2020 (only in German)