Between the 18th and 25th of February 2018, four Year 6 students from the Gozo College Sannat Primary & Special Unit had the unique and incredible opportunity of visiting the marvellous city of Oulu in Finland and attending one of its finest schools, the Oulunlahden Koulu School. This visit was part of the Erasmus+ Programme TNT (Together Now for Tomorrow) and is one of the many Erasmus+ and eTwinning Projects that the school participates in on a regular basis.
The aim of the transnational programme TNT is to develop the students’ well-being and to raise them into citizens who are able to work together, be resilient and adapt to the demands of an ever-changing Europe. The students, Darryl Apap, Mariah Camilleri, Aaliyah Heite and Luke Vella, were accompanied by the Head of School, Ms. Pauline Grech and their class teacher, Mr. Philip Cachia. The Maltese contingent was joined by teachers and students from Portugal, Germany, Latvia and the Netherlands. The group was hosted by the Oulunlahden Koulu School which caters for around 300 students and which is also participating in this TNT programme.
The Gozitan students had the exclusive opportunity of joining Grade 3 and 4 classes (equivalent to Year 5 and 6 classes in Malta) for a whole week and being immersed in what is widely considered as the best educational system in the world. The students were exposed to a multitude of learning experiences including Information Technology, traditional Finnish music, art, science and Finnish history, all interlaced with literacy and numeracy. The experience was even more amazing when one considers that the temperature in Finland at the time ranged between -25°C and -14°C. However, both teachers and students alike had the time of their life in the near-arctic conditions and the Finnish teachers and students were even kind enough to help them practise snowshoeing, tobogganing and cross-country skiing.
The whole trip to Oulu proved to be an outstanding success, both from an educational and socio-cultural point of view. The young Gozitan students were immersed in the language and culture of the Finnish country and had a continuous opportunity of interacting with Finnish students and teachers. They realised the importance of learning other languages in order to be able to communicate effectively in a variety of situations. They were able to see the world from a much broader perspective and enjoy the experience of being global citizens. Last but not least, they learned to be independent at such a young age and to experience the critical importance of building relationships with people from other countries and cultures. This opportunity will surely not be a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. The Gozo College Sannat Primary is already planning to organise other trips abroad in the near future in order to achieve one of its main educational goals, that of creating citizens who are able to work effectively in a globalised world.