It’s been crazy three months so far! Not a lot has happened education-wise, but integration sure has been a wild roller coaster ride.
First month here in the tiny town of Weimar was mostly spent sorting out the paper work and trying to familiarize ourselves with the idle manner the locals seem to handle things. Days were spent learning German in the intensive language course and running between different office buildings trying to find what felt like an endless amount of forms to get us settled and ready to rock. Evenings were mostly dedicated to German revision and roaming around the romantic little alleys drinking coffee and eating out enjoying the warm September nights. The town is picturesque with architecture previously familiar to me only from small town post cards and historical drama series on TV.
After passing the German course with flying colours we were really looking forward to October and the start of actual school. First week of October came with orientation to the school system. Second week passed and we still didn’t know when courses would start. By the third week we grew frustrated. We had waited for school to start, attended a gazillion events we thought would kickstart our semester only to realize they were just orientation after another. At the end of week three of October we had had one real lecture. We were petrified at the amount of work we knew we would have to do in the next two months to catch up with all the work.
November was just as we had anticipated. On top of the regular course work we had to use every bit of our imagination to come up with solutions with which we would be able to finish the courses before we returned to Finland. Thankfully the teachers were all co-operative and understanding to our situation, which they knew wasn’t our own doing. We came up with a routine that worked well: We would use our spare mornings in the computer lab pushing our projects forward, attend courses in the afternoon and if needed return to the computer lab after school to continue working. Free days were mostly spent on course work and planning our final projects. Finally we had structure and clarity to our studies and were going somewhere.
Studying here is definitely different from what we are accustomed to in Finland. Our course groups are significantly smaller here and most of our lessons rely on open conversation. Here participation is a must and it comes to most a lot effortlesly than in Finland. The atmosphere is openminded and teachers encourage students to question everything. Opinions are not only voiced but also have to be explained and well argumented. After the long wait we have definitely enjoyed our studies.