Pandemia – no mobilities. Does it mean no internationalization during 2020-2021?
Absolutely not, we needed to rethink the international skills. What are the international skills we have promised to teach our students? Language skills, cross-cultural, communication skills, networking abilities, collaboration, adaptive thinking, resilience, curiosity. Those skills are possible to reach without mobility periods in other European country.
We English teachers have always had occasionally some smaller projects with the colleagues of partner colleges but since spring 2020 the teachers have found out even more different kinds of virtual methods to contact foreign students and colleagues.
In Samiedu there are eTwinning projects going on, e.g. in Social and Health Care with French and Croatian colleges and in Logistics with Belgian and Danish colleges. In eTwinning projects the participants have to make a detailed plan with schedule and the project can be started after it has been accepted by the national eTwinning agencies.
In these projects the students introduce themselves, their college, hometown and Finland and tell about their studies with videos and pictures and probably meet online students from abroad. There are also professional teachers involved in these projects and we are going to arrange later some online teaching.
In addition to these eTwinning projects we have multiannual cooperation with a German partner college and at the moment we have together a project, in which forestry students make presentations about Finnish forests and forestry working methods for German students. This partner college also invited us to join a series of online lectures in their global network. We are going to invite the members of this network to a virtual visit in Samiedu.
The aim of all these small projects with foreign colleges is not only to improve the English skills but also to have international contacts for the students. A great benefit is that the whole group is able to attend the project. Some students are more interested and active than others but however, everyone is involved in the project.
Live meetings are always important but a positive result of this difficult time is that it has led teachers and other staff members discover alternative ways for internationalization. Hopefully, these good practises will continue after the pandemic is over.
Päivi Uusitalo, English teacher in Samiedu