Danish trade student Linus Folke Jensen tells LSM what it’s like to discover on your own in the center of the mainstream Latvian instructional procedure as a foreigner.
I experienced no plan what to count on from the Latvian state school method when I 1st landed at Riga Airport last August. I had thrown myself head-1st into the problem of leaving driving my risk-free bubble of friends and family members in my property region of Denmark, to go on an experience to a foreign place of which I experienced no real prior knowledge – in the center of a world wide pandemic.
Terrifying, without a doubt, but also magnificently thrilling. The notion of getting the opportunity to dive deep into a new culture – to dwell, breathe and interact in culture together with my shortly-to-be close friends, and finding a distinctive very first- hand standpoint on a lifestyle incredibly distinct from my personal. Though this did not appear without having its share of hurdles.
At 16 many years outdated, I was now on my very own in a bizarre and unidentified country. Or so I imagined. It rapidly turned out that my Latvian friends were warm, welcoming persons, who had been just as curious to get to know about my tradition – and how to pronounce all the popular Danish swear terms – as I was to learn about theirs.
On September 1st, the to start with working day in my new 11th quality course, I was shocked by the clear formality of my friends. Classmates of mine had shown up in formal apparel – white shirts, dresses – and with flowers for the instructor a sharp distinction from the yawns and indolent attitudes that I am made use of to from my prior very first times of school back dwelling. Although it turned out that this, luckily, was not the day-to-day faculty outfit, this working experience established the tone for what would be a college setting that is a bit more stringent and conservative than what I’m employed to in my household state.
The very first issue the place I desired to master to adapt was when addressing academics. Even though obtaining to say “skolotāj(a)” – the Latvian term for ‘teacher’ – instead of working with their initially title when addressing them did not confirm demanding to me, I saw it as nonetheless a different example of the formality in Latvian culture. A classmate of mine had a tricky time believing that we Danes handle our academics by their initially names, and have accomplished so for many years, citing a presumptive ‘lack of very simple respect’ for their authority.
As I have grown up with merely utilizing initial names and been used to it from start, I have never truly questioned it until eventually now. In Denmark, the only time the place it is culturally proper to use formal pronouns is when addressing the royal family members but I comprehend where by my classmate’s amazement was coming from. Judging from my social encounters, I consider that Latvian cultural observe builds on far more standard and respectful manners than its Danish counterpart.
I was stunned when my classmates suddenly rose from their chairs when a single of our teachers entered the classroom. In Denmark, we would perspective these types of motion as an antique remnant from our grandparents’ time in university. Having said that, in Latvia, it seems to be common apply.
Obtaining done most of my schooling considering the fact that third quality on a computer system, it was pretty a obstacle for me to swap to a university 7 days with the only use of computer systems remaining throughout the two designated classes per week of informatics. The swap to on line, distant mastering in early October, on the other hand, rapidly reinstated my extreme daily use of the PC.
With the sudden transfer to distant discovering, I have sad to say missing significantly of the interaction with Latvian society I previously had. I think it is not controversial to say that meeting calls in which we all conceal guiding tiny, coloured icons with our initials are inferior to true in-human being lectures.
It seems to me that the Latvian instruction method is generally built on the idea of listening and memorising, whilst the Danish process is far more focused on interactive, pedagogical, and analytical instructing approaches. On a number of events in Latvia, it has happened that a teacher has absent into a two-hour monologue exactly where all we students had to do was to take note as much as feasible from their 50-slide PowerPoint presentation.
Although I believe that the Danish teaching philosophy adheres far more to my choices, there are definitely lessons we Danes can master from Latvia: here, the authority of the trainer looks more obvious- slash than what I am applied to from Denmark, and I would imagine that is normally a good detail.
The trainer desires to establish and maintain a degree of respect in get to train adequately – anything that is seemingly much easier in Latvia’s university method. Irrespective of what occurs with the Covid problem, my – albeit limited – practical experience in Latvia’s university technique is not anything I shall fail to remember any time soon.
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