Fellmanni Campus, Lahti, first CASO meeting. We had a formal introduction to the staff and what the programme would be for the next two weeks. The tutor/tour-guide was introduced to the SA students where she gave us a tour of the campus, explaining why the campus was designed in certain ways which was very different to our campuses in South Africa. Later that day the CASO group went on a bus ride to a lake house. Here everyone split into their work groups and went for a forest walk while discusses their various work packages. After which, we had a sauna and lake dip – part of Finnish tradition so we were told. After the sauna-lake team building experience, everyone got together in the conference room, where we got the chat with everyone, and get to know the group better, with everyone coming from a different part of the world and culture, this was a great experience on its own.
The inter-cultural workshop was a new experience for us as it was our first time connecting with the huge amount of international students based at LAMK. Working with the other students in group work projects was a bit challenging as the communication was difficult to comprehend. Nonetheless gathering the thoughts and opinions of the others was insightful as their concepts were completely different to ours and it was intriguing to see their train of thought, cultural influences etc and how our thoughts could be adapted to think on the same wavelength as theirs. The workshop itself was a good experience, however, the lectures were a bit too long for the students to sit and pay attention to, and also an introduction to the workshop of why all the students were gathered should’ve been mentioned so that everyone could have an idea of what their purpose was. Overall it was a good lesson as CASO aims to build communities and this will mean coming into contact with people from different cultural groups.
The tour to the ski museum was exciting in the sense that in South Africa(SA) we do not have a sport such as skiing and in Finland it is one of the main sports and everyone gets involved in supporting the local team. This type of sport was used as part of physical education in schools and this just shows the level and type of PE and how it differs to SA school sport. We also saw how skiing and the equipment evolved over the years. The afternoon saw us visiting the Faculty of Nursing, at LAMK (Lahti University of Applied Sciences). Their clinical stimulation programmes are different to nursing sectors and trainings in SA. This just indicates how SA is lacking in educational methods of training and interventions. The stimulation rooms allow for “real life” scenarios to take place and for students to get real life practical experience. The University and Education system in Lahti has progressed more than South Africa’s.
Going to one of the local primary schools in Lahti was a good experience. The manner in which physical education is incorporated into the schooling system is a unique concept in order to keep the attention of the children. In South Africa these kinds of programmes are not used at all and therefore I think it is a good idea to use, especially to maintain the focus f the children and to be able to do well at school. The use of physical educational equipment within the classrooms makes learning fun and enjoyable together with being able to stimulate different aspects such as mental abilities and health. Schools in SA that I know of do not implement any anti-bullying programmes which I think is should be. At the LAMK University of Applied Sciences a gathering was held between SA students together with international students. The differences in culture were discussed and that was really intriguing in the sense that by discussing these differences, we were able to see and respect one another for their way of doing things. The exchange of thoughts, ideas and opinions and the main concept of communication is exactly what I think each university should, especially those that are a part of the CASO society. It was great to learn about the different traditions, rules and regulations and to see how others operate in their culture. These experiences were exactly what I wanted to learn on this trip. It was definitely an eye opener.
Having gone to the ice hockey game was a different atmosphere than what South Africans are used to. Normally the Finnish are introverts but it just shows that once sport is being played everyone becomes loud and cheerful. It was quite fun experiencing the game amongst the locals.
2017 – 10 – 09
We joined the physiotherapy/nursing students for a lecture. It was very interesting to sit in on a lecture, hearing different thought processes, etc. We find many students from different countries so it was definitely an international learning experience. Attending Tuula’s international class of nursing and physiotherapy was different as well in the sense that their university classrooms are small in compared to UWC’s large lectures. The international students were very welcoming which was really sweet and being able to speak to them about our South African culture and governance was a great opportunity to compare to other countries.
After this, we met up ay Fellmanni Campus, and cycled from there to the harbor/lake in Lahti, which were only a few miles from campus. Although it was very cold and wet, the scenery and experience was still amazing. The orchestra and children’s concert was an amazing experience. To be able to witness how musical ability is nurtured from a young age was great to watch. We also got to see some recreational activities where children made musical instruments from recycled materials.
2017 – 10-11
We started the day going to two museums (a Russia/Finland History Museum and the Radio & TV Museum). The history museum was quite a dull experience, but the radio and TV museum sparked up our day. The museums were an eye-opener. Later that evening we went to Mamma Maria, which was an Italian restaurant close to the hotel that we stayed at, we loved experiencing different Finnish foods and restaurants.
The staff from Lahti, on the CASO project were kind enough to take us students out for supper at a Nepalese restaurant called Pikku Kakula, where we got to talk about our entire experience in Finland, as well as enjoy some great Nepalese dishes. This was a lovely send off from staff members from Finland, which was also a part of the CASO goup.
Since this was our last day in Finland, we were able to have a free day to do last minute sight seeing and collect souvenirs. Later that night, we met up with our Tour guide, as well as a few other friends we’ve made in Finland, and went to a Karaoke bar. We used this time to give everyone a proper goodbye, as well as entertain ourselves to some karaoke.
Narrative and Photos: Charl Jordaan, Trudy Gibbons, Teneille Venter, Chante Johannes