Success Story

Natalja Pyro

B.A. Social Work

Part-Time Studies


"IU studies adapted to my lifestyle and not the other way around."

From nurse to a street worker: IU graduate Natalja Pyro completed her studies alongside her full-time job in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry. After completing her degree in Social Work, she is helping homeless people and addicts as a street worker for the Diakonie Rhein-Kreis Neuss.

I got the idea to study Social Work at IU International University through my voluntary work and my part-time job: I already worked in the social sector during my school years. I looked after groups of refugee children and helped to organise integration festivals. Especially my part-time job in an office for legal support sparked in me the desire to work in the immediate living environment of the clients. That's why I consciously decided to work in the field of "Street Work".

Before my studies, I worked as a certified nurse at the LVR Clinic in Bonn: initially in general psychiatry, then in child and adolescent psychiatry, in each case on a protected acute ward, and finally on an open ward in child and adolescent psychiatry with a special focus on school absenteeism.

Regular study group is helpful in preparation for exams

To combine my old job and my studies, I used every free minute. In the mornings, I got up very early and studied for several hours before my late shift. On quiet nights, I could often read the scripts while the young people were asleep. I was part of a regular study group, which was very helpful for sharing ideas and reviewing before the exams. Fortunately, I always had a lot of support from my husband, who gave me a lot of space to learn.

Fast graduation, relocation and change of job

The change from my job as a nurse to my current job as a street worker at the Diakonie Rhein- Kreis Neuss accelerated our relocation: In May 2018, we bought a house in Mönchengladbach.

As I was not keen to change jobs twice in quick succession, I decided to finish my studies sooner than planned and start looking for a job as a social worker right away. So I applied for several jobs in the field of "Street Work" and homeless aid. In the end, I chose Diakonie because I was fascinated by the project and the fact that I was helping to build something completely new from the very first hour.

Street Worker: Gratefulness and the feeling of making a difference

My job is to make contact with homeless people and addicts in the city of Grevenbroich. To do this, I introduce myself to the individual groups in the neighbourhood, build relationships there and offer people to contact me if they have any problems. I also help clients on a case-by-case basis. This can be support in finding housing, accompanying them to authorities, arranging therapy, support with job applications and anything else that is on the client's mind. No case is like the other and the clients show an incredible amount of gratitude. Every day I have the feeling that I can really make a difference. One of the future projects we are planning is to open a café for the clients – a place where they can find peace and feel safe. Besides that, of course, it would be great if we would be able to offer a housing project.

Social Work at IU: Perfect combination of theory and practice

Studying at IU has improved my time management, which is very beneficial to me as a street worker because every day is quite different. I also really liked the fact that I was able to perfectly combine theory and practice through my studies. In the end, the high flexibility was the decisive factor why I decided to study at IU: I was able to adapt my studies to my lifestyle and not the other way around.

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