January 25, 2022


Through Education Matters

remaining an exchange pupil in Latvia / Posting / Eng.lsm.lv

Danish exchange student Linus Folke Jensen tells LSM what it truly is like to discover your self in the center of the mainstream Latvian academic procedure as a foreigner.

I experienced no strategy what to hope from the Latvian state school procedure when I to start with landed at Riga Airport very last August. I had thrown myself head-1st into the obstacle of leaving powering my risk-free bubble of pals and relatives in my household region of Denmark, to go on an experience to a foreign state of which I experienced no true prior understanding – in the middle of a world-wide pandemic.

Terrifying, indeed, but also magnificently thrilling. The plan of obtaining the prospect to dive deep into a new society – to reside, breathe and have interaction in culture together with my soon-to-be good friends, and receiving a distinctive initial- hand perspective on a society extremely unique from my have. Though this did not come devoid of its share of hurdles.

At 16 yrs outdated, I was now on my very own in a odd and not known country. Or so I imagined. It immediately turned out that my Latvian friends were being heat, welcoming men and women, who have been just as curious to get to know about my culture – and how to pronounce all the well known Danish swear text – as I was to study about theirs.

On September 1st, the initially working day in my new 11th grade course, I was stunned by the clear formality of my friends. Classmates of mine had demonstrated up in formal garments – white shirts, dresses – and with flowers for the teacher a sharp distinction from the yawns and indolent attitudes that I am employed to from my previous initial days of faculty back house. While it turned out that this, thankfully, was not the each day faculty outfit, this encounter set the tone for what would be a school natural environment that is a bit more stringent and conservative than what I’m applied to in my house place.

The 1st point where I desired to understand to adapt was when addressing instructors. Whilst owning to say “skolotāj(a)” – the Latvian term for ‘teacher’ – in its place of utilizing their 1st name when addressing them did not demonstrate difficult to me, I observed it as still yet another case in point of the formality in Latvian modern society. A classmate of mine had a tough time believing that we Danes handle our academics by their 1st names, and have accomplished so for decades, citing a presumptive ‘lack of basic respect’ for their authority.

As I have grown up with simply applying very first names and been utilised to it from delivery, I have in no way truly questioned it until now. In Denmark, the only time wherever it is culturally ideal to use formal pronouns is when addressing the royal relatives but I fully grasp the place my classmate’s amazement was coming from. Judging from my social encounters, I imagine that Latvian cultural observe builds on a lot more classic and respectful manners than its Danish counterpart.

I was amazed when my classmates instantly rose from their chairs when a single of our lecturers entered the classroom. In Denmark, we would see this kind of action as an antique remnant from our grandparents’ time in school. Having said that, in Latvia, it looks to be popular practice.

Obtaining executed most of my instruction since third quality on a laptop, it was fairly a problem for me to switch to a school 7 days with the only use of personal computers becoming all through the two selected classes for each week of informatics. The change to on the internet, distant mastering in early October, on the other hand, quickly reinstated my abnormal day-to-day use of the PC.

With the unexpected transfer to remote finding out, I have regretably lost substantially of the conversation with Latvian culture I previously experienced. I think it is not controversial to say that meeting calls exactly where we all hide driving tiny, coloured icons with our initials are inferior to genuine in-particular person lectures.

It seems to me that the Latvian education and learning technique is mostly crafted on the idea of listening and memorising, whilst the Danish procedure is extra targeted on interactive, pedagogical, and analytical educating methods. On various situations in Latvia, it has happened that a instructor has long gone into a two-hour monologue wherever all we students experienced to do was to observe as significantly as attainable from their 50-slide PowerPoint presentation.

Whilst I consider that the Danish educating philosophy adheres far more to my tastes, there are without doubt classes we Danes can master from Latvia: below, the authority of the trainer would seem more very clear- cut than what I am made use of to from Denmark, and I would consider that is normally a superior detail.

The teacher demands to build and retain a degree of regard in purchase to teach properly – anything that is seemingly less complicated in Latvia’s university process. Irrespective of what comes about with the Covid problem, my – albeit small – encounter in Latvia’s faculty method is not a thing I shall fail to remember any time quickly.

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