The morning started by bus trip to Porvoo, the old wooden city about 50 km to the east from Vantaa.
Founded nearly 800 years ago, Porvoo is the second oldest city in Finland. One can feel its long history when walking on its charming streets. For centuries, the city has been a source of inspiration for many Finnish artists.
Finland is a Christmas country and that day happened to be the opening of a Christmas season. There was Santa Claus walking on the streets and all the Christmas lights were lightning. It really was beginning to look like Christmas!
On Friday we visited the capital city of Finland. We took a bus city tour around Helsinki followed by some free time walking around. Although the weather in the capital wasn’t very welcoming, we enjoyed the trip nonetheless.
The day started by visiting the
home economics lesson that is only found in Finnish school system. The students
baked ‘joulutorttu’, a Christmas tart. Some students were still working on
European cultural guide.
Meanwhile teachers participated in teacher training program consisted of a lecture on “ICT in 21st century schools”.
The theme of upcoming Christmas was brought up when all were welcome to participate in a music lesson, pick up an instrument and learn to play ‘Last Christmas’. A lesson that many appreciated, since the progress was experienced immediately.
Despite strike at Helsinki -Vantaa
airport all the participants were able to land
safely by the late Monday evening.
On Tuesday morning we all met at
the school canteen. We had coffee and some traditional Finnish sweet bread
called ‘pulla’. Then there was a welcoming party at the auditorium. The school
band called The Midnight Hobbits was singing about long, hot summer. We also
learned facts about Finland. After that we had a tour around the school and got
to know each other a little bit.
The activities started by each
country telling about immigration in their school. We saw presentations in
which the immigrants were telling about their experiences in moving to a new
country. They gave some ideas about what school could do better in helping them
to adjust to a new culture and environment.
After lunch the day continued by
visiting Haltia, the Finnish nature center
in Nuuksio National Park about 30 km from Helsinki. Nature from all over
Finland, from southern archipelago up till snowy hills of Lapland and all
Finland’s 40 National Parks can be experienced there. We also visited Reindeer
park which is the southernmost place in Finland where you can see
The last day before leaving Salzburg behind was dedicated to spending time with the hosting families and engaging in different sorts of activities. Some of us went for the trips in the nearby locations, some of us checked out the local marathon…
After that, unfortunately, it was time to start packing and say: ‘Thank you, to everyone in Austria for a fantastic stay, and to everyone else being part of the project, and see you in autumn 2019 in Finland!‘
On Saturday, Austrians have prepared to take us to their capital city, Vienna, and show us a big part of their country’s history. We toog a very comfortable high speed train to get there, and enjoyed the Austrian countryside through the windows during the journey.
We started off by visiting Prater and observing the city from high up. After that we took a mini guided tour through the city center and the most important sights like St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Hofburg.
Thereafter, students were allowed to explore the city on their own for some time, before embarking on the train back to Salzburg full of impressions.
This day was very interesting, and important, to all the participants. We met with twenty two young people between the age 15-25 from Minerva school in Salzburg who were willing to share with us their stories.
In spite of the language barrier, this was a very enriching day for everyone.
The students of participating countries were about to ask questions that they had prepared beforehand, but towards the end they also improvised and discussed whatever came to their mind at the moment.
It was wonderful to follow the process of the discussion. From when at the beginning the Minerva students stood little nervously on one side of the room, to the end, when all people were mixed together and sharing even personal experiences, hobbies and impressions of living in Austria in a relaxed way.
The results of this discussion will be published very soon.
Today, the students started by visiting the local lessons and then continued by presenting the results of questionnaires about improving teaching methods. All the countries had had their students fill in a questionnaire about what they thought would help the educational process from several different perspectives. We will share these results soon.
Teachers’ training program consisted of a lecture on ‘Inclusion in Austrian schools’ which naturally developed into an interesting discussion between the participating teachers.
After the lunch, we took a trip to the largest ice cave in the world Eisriesenwelt which happens to be situated very close to Salzburg. The trip was quite exciting and slightly physically demanding, which of course was necessary after all the work and sitting at school. Some of the students enjoyed the snow for the first time in their lives. 😉