More me when abroad

More me when abroad

It´s been a while since I have been working with my international colleagues and I have to admit I really miss working in different countries with different people and using different languages. To be honest my last work trip abroad was in October and it seems like forever ago to me. Even though I work in an international atmosphere every day I miss that certain feeling that I have when working abroad.

I have been thinking why I´m so keen on internationalization and meeting new people who come from different cultures and countries.  It is obvious that travelling and working abroad enables me to develop new skills, languages, cultural awareness, social skills but among those I have realized I´m more alert when abroad. I have to focus on language and different cultural habits, but that alertness takes me there what I believe is the reason why I truly love international work.

I believe when I´m working in different challenging situations I´m taken out of my comfort zone, some people find it awkward and unpleasant, especially when they have to work with another language than their own. Instead I find it rewarding and I find myself more true to myself and others. This only tells my story where I come from, why I feel this way and can´t be generalized.

I believe when I´m working out of my comfort zone I´m more likely to drawing strength and security inside of myself. I´m using basic trust that has been given to me on my early childhood. Basic trust is built in early interaction with a child and their care giver. It is an implicit trust that is optimal will happen and a person believes whatever happens will ultimately be fine. It is the confidence that reality is ultimately good, and all that exists, are by their very nature trustworthy. Basic trust gives an implicit orientation towards all circumstances and that allows people to relax and see situations as learning opportunities. Basic trust can be developed in trustful and respectful relationships. Yes, I´m thankful for my early childhood, it has had a remarkable meaning in my life. It has given me the orientation to my life. But why am I so keen on working abroad and with different languages?

When a child feels good about themselves, it sets them up for success. When you are able to carry on this feeling in your life it takes you there.

You can´t choose the family you are born into. I was born in very board-minded, accepting and international one. My mom was sent abroad when she was 16, of course her family had international connections and they had the experience that travelling and meeting other people from different cultures brought some interesting extra into their lives. My grandfather had lived abroad a great part of his adult life, before he was ready to settle down and start a family. So, I was sent abroad when I turned 16 and so was my daughter. In that age of 16 you are vulnerable, but eager to experience. This allows you to a straight and forthcoming connection to who you are, how will your basic trust take over and carry you trough out your life. I was able to have that experience that whatever will happen will ultimately be fine. I had an experience that reality was ultimately good, I could trust myself and find different circumstances trustworthy, but you must remember that this belief had been built in me already.  I could relax and see situations as learning opportunities and that way I also learned from life among new culture and language.

Later on, when I graduated from college it was obvious to me to start my career abroad and I did. I wanted to be contacted to that feeling of vulnerability and confidence at the same time. I have a feeling that when you are forced to that vulnerability you are more open to who you are, you are more you. This is the reason  I enjoy working abroad, being more me, learning more about myself. At the same time, being vulnerable and having this straight and forthcoming connection to who you are, it gives you all the information about yourself. Positive and negative. How you handle all this information is based on your reflective ability.

Reflective ability is a quintessential human capacity that is needed to be able to successfully navigate the information flood that you have inside of you, all the feelings, actions and their co-operation or disconnections. It is learnable process and can be developed through out your life.

You should ask thoughtful reflective questions from yourself to reflect on your actions. When you are merciful and compassionate towards yourself, even how odd and outrageous your actions can be, you will help yourself probe deeper to your complexity and this will encourage you to better self-reflection. Just always pause and ask, why I´m acting this way. Simple as that…

Thoughtful questions to yourself will help you move forward with focus and intent. Trough out these inner conversations you will gain confidence and become more skilled at working through tough problems without hurting yourself or people around you. You will start to spread an atmosphere that allows you among other people to grow towards more aware and better people.

2018-05-14 05.29.25 1.jpg

In two weeks my longing will be over. I will catch the plane and head towards Köln, Germany, to work, but most of all to be more connected to myself. I know I will have situations that I have no clue how the handle them, but I know I can trust myself. I know that whatever will happen will ultimately be fine.

Text Annele Heikkilä

Photo Lia Heikkilä

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spontaneus after work discussion

Spontaneus after work discussion

As we have mentioned earlyer we found after work discussions very evolving. On friday we met for a late lunc or should I call it a dunch after work. We had an inspirational conversation about our future plans and dreams among personal life updates.

We also discussed about what have we gained participating to different Erasmus+ projects. We have noticed that participating to international projects enables us to develop new skills; we have been able to get to know first-hand information of another European educational system, learn and share new ideas and explore the best practices to take back to Finland. We also have learned a lot from ourselves. Video was shot on a whim, totally spontaneus.

 

Video Laura Nikkanen, editing Annele Heikkilä

Modernize teaching, think global!

Modernize teaching, think global!

A key principle when creating new ways of teaching and coaching is to think global. Student mobility is visible part of internationalization when it comes to educational field. We must remember that not all students are willing or able to spend time abroad and same is with staff members. Strengthening and embedding internationalization on campus is therefore more important than ever. This means building reliable links between the organizations, and making internationalization real and meaningful for wider society. This challenges us, who are eager to think global.

People behind Icebath are all very keen on internationalization and like to think global. We have participated in different Erasmus+ projects and find that a very helpful way to develop our teaching among organization.

In Sofia Bulgaria

What have we gained during our Erasmus+ mobilities? Now I´m mainly talking about Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Projects (KA2 projects). We have noticed that travelling and working abroad enables us to develop new skills; we have been able to get to know first-hand information of another European educational system, learn and share new ideas and explore the best practices to take back to Finland.

We have been inspired by new colleagues and we have been able to refresh our thinking to create new approaches to teaching.  Every time when we have returned from our mobilities we have been enthused and motivated. Therefore we have been integrating teachers who are not that keen on involving international projects to hop along and participate to staff trainings or other project meetings or events. Feedback from them has only been positive. I assume, everybody is keen on learning from others and meeting interesting people, sometimes you just need a gentle push to step out of your comfort zone.

While participating to Strategic Partnership Projects the growth will take a place in your brains and mindset and it will lead to the point of no return. Once this shift has happened, your whole world changes. And among that you will change the whole world. You just notice nothing becomes impossible to you.

B5F61533-F5CF-423C-8019-A53EE1D19723

Finland’s educational system has undergone several changes during the past few years. Among the educational system teaching is under big changes too and the way teachers update their knowledge and competences is finding new ways and routines. Many education providers prefer the 70:20:10 model for learning and development. This model holds that individuals obtain 70 percent of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20 percent from interactions with others, and 10 percent from formal educational events.

The 70:20:10 model endorses Erasmus+ Strategic partnership projects where all the learning and developing is based on cooperation for innovation and the exchanging of good practices. These projects make it possible for organizations from different participating countries to work together, to develop, share and transfer best practices and innovative approaches in the fields of education and training.

You actually don’t need new ideas, you need a new perspective!

If you are eager to explore, grow and live life with learning as a lifestyle ideology participating to strategic partnership projects is perfect solution for you. Participating staff to mobilities allows the professional development of the individual teacher. It is an integral part of the internationalization of organization among attached organizations and networks. Participating staff to mobilities is very important for advancing and supporting student mobility. Staff that have good relations and networks abroad know the added value of being mobile and are more likely to support students in becoming mobile themselves. Teachers with an international experience add an international dimension into their teaching and thus foster an international outlook among the great majority of students who will never have the chance to go abroad themselves.

Changing lives, opening minds

We underline life-skills that students need, but as well as students need to develop on life-skills, we need that too. Strategic partnership projects will persuade you to gain valuable life-skills and international experience to help you develop personally and professionally and to succeed in today’s world. As well as boosting your skills and employability you are also in the spot where you can pick great ideas to update education and teaching in your country among the countries you visit. I call it a hotspot!

Processed with VSCO with  preset

Personally, I have gained valuable experience out of participating in these projects. I have improved and gained language skills among enhanced my self-confidence for taking steps out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to talk in front of people in English. I believe the best way of learning and developing in languages is to use them proudly. It sure will help increase your confidence among the language skills!

I have developed my cultural awareness and open mindedness, even though I always thought I´m a person with these skills. Oh boy, was I wrong! There have been so many so good and interesting conversations with other people I have met. I did not know how differently we can think and see things. One of the most interesting a-haa moment to me was when one of my international colleague mentioned that she finds it very bizarre and even very personal that I can post pictures of myself wearing woolen socks to Facebook, she never would do that. I also didn´t realize how differently we think about equality, how point-blank, direct and even offensive I can sound when being a very Finnish woman participating to conversations. I have got good feedback from my colleagues that they would never dare or even would want to comment like I did. These are very precious moments to pause and reflect on. Little did I know how people can hide their personalities among sexualities, because of the way they are treated in their countries. I thought I knew, but I didn´t, not until I had a conversation with a person who told me to my face how they felt.  I could go on with the cultural awareness and open mindedness I have gained, thank God it has been me who has been send to abroad trough Erasmus+ projects! To learn.

I also have gained vital new skills required for new teaching. All those conversations with colleagues from different countries, how they teach and see education. I have realized that changing ideas and creating common comprehension of case is very inspiring and allows us to gain knowledge in new subjects or in teaching methods. This will increase motivation to develop and learn, and will lead automatically developing personally and professionally.

And what comes to my network I have gained! I have gathered a beautiful network of professionals from all over the world, some of whom I call my friends. Working in this network has been great for sharing ideas and knowledge. I have received and given feedback. I have been able to discuss my point of view, they have helped me to expand my knowledge and allowed me to see things from another perspective.

Meeting these great people have given me opportunities that I would have never gotten. I have had wonderful dinners in different countries in people’s homes or wineries or beautiful restaurants. To me, one of the greatest thing to realize is that I have not just gained exposure to the people I have met, but I have been building connections with their network too. They have introduced me to wonderful connections that I meet with success. This has not been just a one-way street. I also have matched people to my network and been thrilled to have been able to create great new opportunities to people I have connected.

Participating to Erasmu+ projects has given me change to leave my insecurities behind. It is always refreshing to step out from your ordinary zone and be visible and getting noticed in front of people you don’t know. This is a big benefit for your personal growth. For daring and learning you need other people. People who see you, trust your competences and give you a space and time to progress. This can help you build your reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive person who you are instead of hiding under your dubious, uncertain, doubtful thoughts. People will enjoy your certitude and reliability for sure.

Every time when I´m seated on an airplane heading towards an Erasmus+ destination I tell myself how fortuned I´m.  I just can’t wait what new I will explore, learn  and how will I refresh my thinking about teaching during this journey.

 

Written Annele Heikkilä

Photos from Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Project