We visited Jyskän koulu (Jyskä’s elementary school) on 8th of November with a group of 6 students. We came from Greece, France, Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan and Finland. We went around the school as pairs and gave presentations on our home countries to 5th and 6th grade students. Here are some experiences from three students:
Csaba Páli, Hungary
I was really interested to visit a school in Finland, because I have been told that the education system here is remarkably good. After we had arrived to the school and introduced ourselves to the teachers, we formed pairs and the English teachers lead us to the classrooms. We started our presentations. I was a bit annoyed how the children will understand my English, because I never presented anything in English to chilrden. But, my fears were unnescessary, because the kids were great in English, they understood, mostly everything, and they wanted to take part – so they asked questions! Very clever ones like, „Do I have a car?” or, „Do I live in a big house?” or „Do I play ice hockey?”. Yes, no, and no, were my answers. I didn’t prepare any games, but I showed them how to speak a bit Hungarian, and actually our teacher was really amazed by how well we could read in Finnish. For me, it’s always pleasure to think we are somehow related, even if it was a really long time ago!
So after several years of learning – I can easily state that the future depends on the young generations, so far the well organized classes of the elementary school are doing a great job not just to make a better future, but also for showing a great interest in obtaining skills.
Kaori Tsubaki, Japan
This school visiting was a great experience for me because through the visiting, I was able to know what Finnish elementary schools are like and understand how Finnish children learn in their schools. I was very glad that children had strong interests in my presentation about my home country Japan, especially Japanese elementary schools and cultures and asked me a lot of questions on them. Also, I was very glad that they said to me “Arigato” which means “Thank you” at the end of my visiting. Children and teachers there were so nice. I really want to recommend that you take part in this program. You definitely will be able to have a wonderful experience as I had.
Emmi Seppälä, Finland
I joined the programme as Finnish peer. I was really excited to visit a school with an exchange student, but to my surprise I got the chance to visit Jyskän koulu with 5 exchange students, all from different countries. It was wonderful to meet everyone! Even though I knew Finnish elementary school already, I still learned new things. I was most surprised by the level of English and the fact that the students were not afraid to ask questions in English; this made me feel really good as a future language teacher. I recommend the programme for everyone because it was such a nice experience. For exchange students it’s a great chance to get to know Finnish education system and meet Finnish students. For Finns it’s an opportunity to get to know foreign cultures and maybe something about the Finnish school system too.