Danish trade student Linus Folke Jensen tells LSM what it’s like to come across your self in the center of the mainstream Latvian instructional technique as a foreigner.
I had no notion what to be expecting from the Latvian state school technique when I to start with landed at Riga Airport final August. I experienced thrown myself head-to start with into the problem of leaving guiding my protected bubble of close friends and spouse and children in my household country of Denmark, to go on an adventure to a foreign state of which I had no true prior understanding – in the center of a world pandemic.
Scary, without a doubt, but also magnificently fascinating. The thought of acquiring the opportunity to dive deep into a new lifestyle – to reside, breathe and engage in modern society along with my before long-to-be good friends, and having a exceptional initial- hand viewpoint on a society really distinct from my own. Though this did not occur with no its share of hurdles.
At 16 yrs aged, I was now on my very own in a bizarre and unfamiliar country. Or so I considered. It promptly turned out that my Latvian friends were being heat, welcoming individuals, who have been just as curious to get to know about my tradition – and how to pronounce all the preferred Danish swear text – as I was to find out about theirs.
On September 1st, the very first day in my new 11th quality class, I was shocked by the evident formality of my friends. Classmates of mine experienced proven up in formal garments – white shirts, dresses – and with flowers for the instructor a sharp distinction from the yawns and indolent attitudes that I am utilised to from my earlier first times of school back home. Even though it turned out that this, the good news is, was not the every day school outfit, this working experience set the tone for what would be a university setting that is a bit more stringent and conservative than what I’m utilized to in my dwelling nation.
The first place in which I desired to find out to adapt was when addressing teachers. Although having to say “skolotāj(a)” – the Latvian phrase for ‘teacher’ – instead of utilizing their to start with name when addressing them did not confirm demanding to me, I noticed it as nevertheless a further case in point of the formality in Latvian society. A classmate of mine had a really hard time believing that we Danes deal with our academics by their 1st names, and have carried out so for many years, citing a presumptive ‘lack of basic respect’ for their authority.
As I have grown up with only employing first names and been utilised to it from delivery, I have under no circumstances definitely questioned it until finally now. In Denmark, the only time where it is culturally appropriate to use official pronouns is when addressing the royal relatives but I understand where my classmate’s amazement was coming from. Judging from my social encounters, I believe that that Latvian cultural follow builds on additional conventional and respectful manners than its Danish counterpart.
I was surprised when my classmates quickly rose from their chairs when a person of our instructors entered the classroom. In Denmark, we would check out such action as an antique remnant from our grandparents’ time in faculty. On the other hand, in Latvia, it seems to be typical exercise.
Obtaining done most of my training considering the fact that third grade on a computer system, it was fairly a obstacle for me to switch to a college week with the only use of computers becoming all through the two selected classes for each 7 days of informatics. The switch to on the internet, distant understanding in early Oct, nonetheless, swiftly reinstated my extreme every day use of the PC.
With the sudden transfer to distant understanding, I have regrettably dropped significantly of the conversation with Latvian culture I previously had. I believe it is not controversial to say that convention calls where by we all disguise guiding small, coloured icons with our initials are inferior to real in-individual lectures.
It appears to be to me that the Latvian instruction technique is mainly designed on the idea of listening and memorising, whilst the Danish method is far more concentrated on interactive, pedagogical, and analytical teaching methods. On a number of instances in Latvia, it has happened that a trainer has absent into a two-hour monologue the place all we students experienced to do was to observe as substantially as attainable from their 50-slide PowerPoint presentation.
While I consider that the Danish training philosophy adheres extra to my preferences, there are unquestionably classes we Danes can master from Latvia: listed here, the authority of the trainer appears more clear- cut than what I am applied to from Denmark, and I would assume that is commonly a great detail.
The trainer desires to build and maintain a stage of respect in buy to instruct adequately – some thing that is seemingly less complicated in Latvia’s university process. No matter of what happens with the Covid condition, my – albeit short – practical experience in Latvia’s university system is not some thing I shall forget any time before long.
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