Monday, July 19, 2010

Out to explore Helsinki!

I have no idea what to expect.  I know their education is great (often #1 in world rankings).  I watched a few travel shows, but since our society is not saturated with information and images from Helsinki, I'm not sure what to expect.  I think it's so much better to explore a place without preconceived notions.  Everything is new and exciting.  I felt a little like that in Oslo, and even more so here.

I do know that I spent a lot of time blogging today and catching up on other work I had planned.  I really need to see this city from outside my hostel room. (This hostel is very nice, beautiful and clean by the way.  Although it does seem harder to meet people than in other hostels.  That's sometimes a characteristic of the Hostelling International chain, although it seems to be the best and cleanest hostel with the best location for my needs).  We'll see.

Also, a fellow teacher friend just wrote to me, "Enjoy! Just read that Finland is one of the happiest countries in the world according to poll."  I replied, "Very cool! I'm going to try to see why . . . and also learn a bit about their culture. The hard part is finding teachers who are in town so I can research and talk with them. (That was what I planned in my proposal). But there is so much to learn besides that. :)"

I have contacted both the Department of Education and the University of Helsinki Faculty of Education -- but since it is summer, it's hard to find people.  I was told many are on vacatation.  While I was in Oslo, I was unable to see a school in session because there was no summer school at that time of midsummer.  I did, however, feel like I was a part of many classrooms from Norway to Italy since our excellent and well-travelled professors showed us images and videos of sessions in classes in these countries.  It's been very helpful.

My friend just wrote back, "I hope you get a chance to talk with teachers! I love hearing about your stories about education and travel. 

If you are interested in reading the poll, here is it. Norway is ranked third, I believe."

Anyways, this city is calling for me to explore it!  Let's see what I learn.  :)

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