We are five vocational trainee teachers from Hessen in Germany. We came to Jyväskylä in the end of September 2017 to get to know the Finnish vocational school system.
From our point of view, JAO is a huge school with a lot of educational departments and opportunities. From the beginning onwards, we felt very welcomed and everyone was helpful.
As we all have different subjects, we were able to get an overview of the different locations. Milena, who has nutrition and biology, was mostly at Primus working in the hotel, catering and service classes. For biology, she was able to go to the Schildt Upper Secondary School. Silke was mainly located at Viitaniemi in hairdressing and went to the Secondary School at Harju with Religion. Nicole went to Kukkula working with the practical nurses in health care and English. Nadine mainly worked with bakers in Viitaniemi in nutrition and with chefs and high school students in English. Kristin was in the business department with her subjects business administration and English, and among others, got to know about visual merchandising and entrepreneurship at Viitaniemi.
For us, it was especially interesting how the system of individual learning is implemented into the Finnish vocational system and we are able to take lots of ideas home to our classes. Moreover, the programms VALMA and OKSA were very interesting for us.
In the beginning, the students were very shy, but they opened up a little after seeing us around more often. Especially in the practical lessons, it was easier to get into contact with the Finnish students.
The Finnish Language
For most of us, the Finnish language was something very new when we arrived and it still seems extremely difficult. But we were eager to learn some Finnish and therefore visited a foreign class that taught us some Finnish. In return, they wanted to learn some German and decided that Finnish is the easier language for them, which made the teacher very happy. It was a very funny lesson, as there were so many different languages and cultures in the classroom and we still managed to communicate with one another.
Impressions of Finland
During the three weeks, we used our weekends to travel to get to know different sides of Finland. Firstly, we arrived in Helsinki. Then we went to Rovaniemi to visit Santa Claus, the reindeers and the arctic circle. Our last weekend, we spent in Turku to see the archipelago and to have a traditional sauna with jumping into the Baltic Sea.
We are very grateful for being able to enjoy this great opportunity and learned so many new things. Thanks to everyone who helped to make our stay as special as it is.
Milena, Silke, Nicole, Nadine and Kristin
Rea Tuominen, Jyväskylä Educational Consortium
Ralf Hölzer-Germann, VET teacher training institute in Hessen