This practicum was definitely challenging and frustrating at times but everyday had experiences I could grow and build from. A lot of patience was required from both me and from my students. I think it was an eye-opening experience to not understand the primary language in a community and classroom environment. I know this will allow me to relate to many of my future students may they be indigenous, international or refugee students.
~Teresa Baldin, 2013 BEd Graduate, travelled to Jokkmokk
I think the biggest thing that I have noticed in my perspective on the world and cross-cultural understandings is that we are all similar. People are people and kids are kids all over the world. Maybe I didn’t have that much of a different cultural experience being in Sweden but I think I would have come to the same conclusion wherever I was. Before going on this experience my perspective on the world was pretty limited to my imagination. It has been an interesting experience to immerse myself in another country, culture and school environment.
~Jennifer Fortosky, 2013 BEd Graduate, travelled to Varberg
This program has reinforced my feeling that although cultures do differ around the world, there are more similarities than differences when it comes to the human race as a whole. Obviously there are some exceptions to this in every culture, but generally people respect one another and they want to learn – even if they are teenagers who think they are literally “too cool for school”.
Sweden is not greatly different from Canada in any way other than the language. I think that the climate and the economy is similar between the two countries, which probably yield more cultural similarities. If either of these were different, then maybe I would notice a bigger difference between the two cultures.
Education is necessary in every culture, however it does not look the same everywhere. Since Sweden is similar to Canada, the education system here is quite similar, because our countries have similar needs. Throughout the program, we learned that education looks very different from culture to culture (e.g. Kenya vs. China), but that difference is not evident for me during this particular practicum experience. I do however feel confident that if I was placed in a setting in which the education system was completely different, that I would have the skills and knowledge required to engage the students in some form of learning.
I am now highly motivated to learn another language, and travel more to learn about other places. I really do admire how global perspectives are valued in this country. I would love to reflect these values in my own classroom in the future and pass on all of my own global knowledge to my students in any country I may find myself teaching in.
~Kelly Aylward, 2013 BEd Graduate, travelled to Varberg