Dubai Collaboration Club started about 5 months ago. Upper secondary school students from Oulu University Teacher Training School met their peers from Dubai through zoom-meetings. Purpose for the meetings was to get to know each other and to learn about each other’s cultures. Students got to learn a bit of each other’s languages and cooking class introduced traditional Finnish salmon soup and karelian pies to GEMS students and vice versa – Finnish students learned to cook shawarma. Joint learning sessions were part of preparations for the Teacher Training School’s visit to World EXPO and Dubai, which took place at the end of February.
For Veera Holappa, a first grade upper secondary school student from Oulu Uni TTS, Dubai Collaboration Club was a great experience.
“Actually it was more than I anticipated. We spent one week in Dubai and our visit to GEMS Modern Academy was definitely one of the highlights of our trip! It was so nice to finally meet in person the friends we had met online. I was really impressed by the hospitality at GEMS – we felt like we were honor guests and everyone was so friendly to us”, Holappa explains.
Valuable learning experience
Oulu Uni TTS and GEMS Mordern Academy students had a joint learning day event with ISKU in the Finnish Pavilion at Dubai EXPO which was the whole reason for the Collaboration Club initiative.
“It was good that we were able to practise our presentations with our group before the actual event took place. I wasn’t that nervous in front of the audience in the end – overall it was nice to be able to present what we had learned during our time in the Collaboration Club. I presented some results from our language learning group”, Holappa says.
“I’m sure we will try to keep up the connection with our new friends in Dubai – one way or another. We will anyways update our club’s blog and share some pictures and stories from our trip”, Holappa adds.
In addition to making new friends, Holappa got a lot of new knowledge about new countries at Dubai EXPO. In fact, she visited an impressive number of Dubai EXPO country pavilions.
“I got to visit Micronesia, Ireland, Holy See, South Korea, Poland, Barbados, Russia, Peru, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Hungary, Malta, Sierra Leone and Slovakia – in addition to our Finnish pavilion, of course. I would’ve loved to see more, but we had quite limited time to visit other pavilions. I learned a lot of new things from other countries, for example I was quite impressed to see how advanced technology Slovakia has to offer”, Holappa explains.
View to abroad
According to Holappa, Finnish pavilion is very stylish and stands out positively from the Dubai EXPO.
“It was funny to come across to Finnish chocolate and Moomin mugs at Finnish pavilion – they also had an example of Finnish maternity package which was impressive, but I guess some basic souvenirs are needed too”, Holappa ponders.
Overall she thinks that it was an eye opening opportunity to see how countries promote themselves and to play a part at Finnish education exports. Holappa has a clear plan for herself in the future, inspired by the Dubai experience.
“I’ve always been eager to learn about other countries and cultures. This trip was an amazing experience that inspired me to look for other courses with the possibility to travel abroad from our school’s curriculum that I could sign up for”, Holappa laughs.
Watch video, how Uni TTS school students performed at ISKU Learning VIP day from here.