LONG TERM MOBILITIES
Long term mobilities (LTM) play a big part of the Erasmus+ Project as presented in the following workshop by Mag. Josef Brunsteiner.
(Click on the text above to access the file.)
Students that take part in these mobilities gain a wide range of experiences. One of the students was Gerwin Swoboda, that talks about his stay in Mellilla in the following video:
Austria will be a member of the European Union for 25 years next year. For this reason, the Federal Chancellery in cooperation with Europe Direct- (europedirect.at) created an exhibition. Within the framework of this exhibition, various personalities present their opinions on the European Union and European programs.
Our school (BG Nontal, Salzburg) has the longest experience in Austria with long term mobility of students and was therefore chosen to nominate a student to report his/her experiences. For this reason, Gerwin Swoboda (7A) presented his experiences during a 5-month stay abroad in Melilla, Spain. Together with 2 other students (Selma Saclier and Sophie Erhart – both 7B) Gerwin visited the partner school IES Enrique Nieto for 5 months.
One of the Polish students that has taken part of the LTM program has been interviewed for the school magazine. In the following interview she describes her experience with attending the school in Finland for three months:
Finland 2019/2020 – a little bit about a three-months cultural exchange
By Mirella Derewecka
A person’s curiosity is one of the most significant elements of our nature. Most of us desire to explore unknown places as well as making new friends and learning more about the culture of people from other countries. Malwina Dąbrowska, a third grade student, is that way. She decided to share some of the experience that she gained while being on the exchange program in Finland. It lasted from October 26th until the end of January 2020.
What motivated you to take part in an Exchange program?
Primarily, the possibility to visit a country that I had never been to before at almost no cost- all I needed was provided by the host family that I stayed with.
Was a two-month exchange the only way for you to participate in this project?
No, I could have chosen a shorter option, lasting only one week. In this fairly short period of time students get to know the country, it’s traditions and culture, but all of this is happening very intensively. For me, the main goal was to slowly accommodate to the local standards and see what every day life looks like. This way, I got the opportunity to attend Finnish school and make some friends.
How did you manage to prepare well for the high school graduation exam? Your long absence from school certainly made it difficult.
Honestly, I was hesitating for quite some time, if it’s worth going there, but it might have been my last chance to get an experience like this, so I made a difficult decision to go. Fortunately, due to the fact that I was in a partner school, I could skip some classes and do homework assigned by my Polish teachers at that time. I will catch up soon!
What does a typical day in a Finnish school look like?
I was waking up at 7:30 to be able to get to school at 8:10, the school was located very close to my temporary home. Weekdays look much different than the ones in my mother country, Poland. Between the first two class periods, you don’t have a break and only after the second period ends there are 15 minutes to relax. The school provides lunch for every student, you have 45 minutes to eat or hang out with friends just after the third period ends. Breaks between 5th/ 6th and 7th/8th are also 15 minutes. School has only four grades, four groups each, and you study with fewer people in a class, on average 23 people in a group. Students have a wide variety of subjects to choose from, and many extra activities- personally, I was in a cooking class. PE classes are different too, first you notice that the sport equipment is much more professional and encourages participation in classes. Similar to Poland, in elementary school students learn the basis of each subject and later, when they go to High school, they can choose their way, then more emphasis is put on what they want to be a major in in the future.
How can you describe Finnish school teenagers?
I really got along with them well, I attended many different classes, so I got to know most students in my grade. When in school, they walk in socks or flip-flops, it is normal over there. Their school is very tolerant and multicultural. A Girl with colorful hair does not stand out from the crowd. I knew a lot of muslims and students that came from different countries like Italy, Estonia or Singapore. To my surprise, I also met a Pole, we immediately liked each other. I was glad that even in Finland, I would not forget my native language (laugh).
How was your relationship with your roommate?
At the very beginning of my exchange experience, my Finnish host sister came to Poland. Unfortunately shortly after that she started missing her family and her everyday lifestyle and decided to go home. To be honest, it didn’t surprise me too much – after all, she is 5 years younger than me, only 14 years old. Then it was time for me to visit her. However, even then I was not able to have conversations with her. I think it’s a matter of different personality types. My impression of the exchange remains very positive – I acquired a lot of knowledge related to culture and traditions of the country, and I also visited many places, even abroad. I took a two-day trip to Estonia and found out that Finns often visit this country to buy alcoholic beverages, as they are cheaper there!(laughs)
So what can be said about the culture of Finland?
First of all, I noticed that a lot of Finns have dogs at home. It might be one of the reasons why I spent so much time outside in the fresh air, but most of the Finns do the same. For instance, they prefer to walk or cycle to work or school instead of taking a car. I could do this, cause as I mentioned before, my school was very close to the neighborhood I lived in.
Finland is known as a country of lakes, indeed there are over 1000 of them on its territory. Interestingly, in each
Family house or block of flats, on the level -1, at least one sauna is located. Every Saturday all Finns “jump” into the sauna and relax after the whole week. It’s worth mentioning that one day, when I was swimming in the pool, my host family made me aware of the fact that it is not permitted to wear a bathing suit there, and it is best to bathe completely naked. I was surprised..
On Independence day, December 6, I watched a 6-hour long ceremonial ball with my host parents during which the most important people in Finland hold hands together – quite an unusual form of celebrating!
What are the most famous dishes / snacks you remember?
There were lots of them … but I will certainly not forget the delicious chocolate called “Fazer” that is sold in the form of pralines (I recommend Geisha the most). It is the equivalent of our Polish “Wedel” -brand of sweets. At school, me and my friends were preparing delicious French dough cookie stars stuffed with plum jam. As for snacks, the best of all is the Leipäjuusto Cheese (“creaky curd”) made out of cow, reindeer or goat’s milk most often eaten with raspberries. It is a bit like polish “oscypek” , but it is not smoked, but cooked. The main Christmas dishes are ham and a casserole with purée. During Easter time, tasty Mämmi, dark pudding is often prepared. Finland is also famous for mulled wine Glögg, that originated from Sweden, served with almonds or raisins.
Thank you very much for the interview and the huge amount of interesting facts!
And some photos from their stay in Austria.