Posts Tagged ‘interculture


#343 tearful farewells

343/365 tearful farewells, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

At the busstop, seeing the Singapore exchange group off. Hosts and guests got caught in an emotional hysteria of farewells – not unusual after exchanges like these. These two girls were lucky to do a reciprocal visit to each other’s homes – the Finnish student went to Singapore last May.

Despite all the modern technology to keep in touch, the prospect of possibly never meeting each other face-to-face again is devastating, after all the fun shared together.


#342 friendship across borders

342/365 friendship across borders, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Sharing Finnish Christmas carols and traditions with our Singaporean guests. My small contribution towards peace and harmony in the world, is to bring together young people across linguistic, religious and cultural borders, to collaborate and learn with each other.

After initial shyness and distance, towards the end of each exchange, there is a heart-felt connection between the students. For the few students and teachers involved, it is very rewarding and enriching – for some even life-changing. I wish more people were willing to participate!


#147 mementos

147/365 mementos, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

The Daily Shoot assignment drew my attention to this gift from our Indian guests last week, placed on a shelf in our staff room.

Shiny things attract attention. Make a photograph of a shiny object and post it today. Focus in on the reflections.

The ceiling light gives it a beautiful shine, and brings out all the details on the plate. If you look carefully, you can also see the reflection of the orange, white and green Indian national flag, which is standing next to the plate.

The Indian group reached home safely today, and our school seems very quiet after the departure of the lively bunch. A lot was learned about intercultural collaboration by us teachers, the visiting students, their hosts and their families. I am sure the visit will have far wider repercusions than can be seen inside the school. When people from very different cultures meet at such a personal level, there is always a certain amount of friction, surprise, culture shock even, but my hope is that with careful reflection and debriefing with teachers, students will, in time, learn invaluable lessons about the importance of understanding and appreciating different perspectives and behaviours.

Some of my colleagues categorically refuse to interact with any of our foreign guests in any way – for reasons I cannot possibly guess. For them, these mementos on the shelf are nothing but irritating, dust-gathering kitsch. For me, looking at the many souvenirs from different colleagues around the world who have visited us, opens up a wonderful world of opportunity, friendship and learning that I honestly feel is essential for the future of our world.


#30 hearts to the world

030/365 hearts to the world, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Today I went to the largest Finnish educational fair in Helsinki, EDUCA 2010. Apart from looking at the hundreds of booths of different vendors and educational organizations and voluntary groups, I also had the pleasure of listening to Professor Andy Hargreaves from Boston College. His talk on educational leadership and ‘The Fourth Way’ was truly thought-provoking and inspirational in terms of the future of Finland’s praised educational system.

The global and intercultural issues booths interested me the most. In one of them, I placed my pink heart on the world map, with a promise of setting my heart on global awareness issues in all my teaching. I really liked the symbolism of the world map covered in the pink hearts – as if it was love spreading all over the globe. It could also be seen as a symbol of all the dynamic networks and collaborative efforts of educators from all corners of the world.

This time my heart was placed in Singapore, where wonderful students and teachers in our partner school are getting ready to welcome our group in only three weeks’ time.


#11 cottage evening

011/365 cottage evening, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Tonight we took our international course students, with our special guests from Spain plus our Itaian exchange student, to this lovely cottage in the middle of a forest, for an evening of games, a flaming fireplace, sausages and pancakes (typical Finnish cottage food). It is really nice that our town has these recreational facilities that schools can use at an inexpensive price. Whenever we have foreign visitors at school, we always take them to this cottage for an evening. Unfortunately, tonight the traditional wood-burning sauna right by the seashore was out of bounds, because it’s been so cold for so long, which freezes the water pipes. What a pity that we couldn’t introduce these foreign youngsters to rolling in the snow in your swimwear in between sauna sessions! But it was a fun evening anyway!

The picture features the orange light flooding out of the windows into the dark night – my favourite colour that I suddenly remembered, thanks to the Daily Shoot assignment.

The inviting and warm orange here is a good symbol for the beautiful, intercultural atmosphere we shared.


November 2020

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