It’s been a hectic couple of weeks at our school. For the past two weeks our school has hosted exchange students both from Italy and China. For many people this has just meant some new, peculiar students roaming the halls, but for those taking part in the exchange it has been a big commitment and there’s been a lot of work to do.
The Italian exchange was a part of our ”Music and Networking” course that was done in collaboration with Nykøbing Katedralskole and Liceo Scientifico Euclide. During the course, we shared our views on culture and music by writing a blog together. Music was also the prevalent theme during the exchange week in Finland. In fact, we went to observe the final practices of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in the Music Center of Helsinki and studied different genres of music and their effects on our culture as a whole at Hakasalmi Villa.
Though music was a huge part of our exchange, not all we did was related to it. We also got to show Helsinki to the Italian students via Seppo, an online programme for creating educational games. In groups of four we played this Scavenger Hunt game by using an app on our phones, walking around the city and doing different kinds of tasks. This way we’re given the chance to teach Finnish history to the Italians sometimes even learning something new ourselves. We counted the windows in the ceiling of the Church of the Rock (Temppeliaukio Church), sent in some funny selfies showing our teachers our whereabouts wanting to make them laugh their heads off. The game was a nice way of showing the city and getting to know our Italian friends a bit better.
Naturally, many other things happened during the exchange week, too. Not only did we spend both our school days and also our free time with the Italians, but we also celebrated the Fist of May with them. Would there be a better way to experience Finnish culture than to be thrown in the middle of our “Vappu” celebrations? De facto, the Italians were all extremely excited to party and to see what parties are like in Finland. Luckily, a miracle happened and the weather was on our side unlike most years.
The whole experience was a great way of getting to know people and facts about other cultures and even learning a bit about our own culture since we had to think about things when explaining our weird ways to our guests. All and all, I think we’re all eagerly looking forward to having our turn to visit Italy in autumn.