The very last meeting in Erasmus+ program Leading Lights was held 11th to 15th February 2019 in Oulu. The whole January and beginning of February had been -20 degrees in Oulu but when our guests arrived, the temperature got warmer. That was good because we had quite a lot of outdoor activities in the program and our guests are not that used to cold as we northern people are.
On Sunday we had non-official program at Nallikari beach where we walked on frozen sea, built up snowmen, tried ice fishing and grilled sausages on open fire. We also visited Winter Village where some of our guests met reindeers for the very first time in their lives.
At the evening the teachers gathered to a restaurant and enjoyed the welcome dinner and some Portuguese music performed by Manuel and his ukulele.
On Monday the official program started at Svenska Privatskolan i Uleåborg, the Swedish School. Our headmaster Anna and the headmaster Timo from Laanila High School welcomed the guests and after that our students presented some information videos and PowerPoints about our city, our school and the Finnish-Swedish culture. We also saw a video about St. Lucia and after that a real Lucia of Oulu arrived to perform with her choir. We also had some get together games and a tour around the school.
After lunch the students went baking Finnish laskiaispulla and the teachers had a mathematic lesson with our first-year students as teachers. After that we all tasted the results of baking lesson together.
In the evening we had a Welcome Ceremony by the City of Oulu at the Town Hall. That was an incredible way to finish the first day.
On Tuesday we headed to the Arctic Circle. In the bus the students red aloud the letters that they had written to Santa Claus before Christmas. The letters were about the wishes and hopes that we have concerning the equality in our home countries and in the whole world. The letters can be red in the previous post in this blog.
When we arrived to Rovaniemi we first visited Santa at his village. Then we had lunch and a guided tour at Arktikum Science Center. Then the journey continued to Kemi Snow Castle. It was a day full of snow and arctic vibes.
On Wednesday we met at Laanila High School where we first had a Living Library panel discussion. Different Finnish minorities, Roma people, immigrants, sexual minorities and lingual minorities, were represented. The discussion was vivid and fruitful. The audience got not only information but certainly also new perspectives to thinking.
After lunch we saw videos about Best Equality News in Europe that the students had made before the meeting. By chance (due to some technical problems) we also enjoyed an ex tempore concert. Awesome!
Thursday was a special day for the last year high school students in Finland, it was the day of Penkkarit. Some of the guests joined the celebration at Swedish School and some at Laanila High School. We also saw a video about Air guitar World Championships that are held every year in Oulu. Afterwards we went to the downtown to see students parading with their Abi trucks.
In the evening the teachers had dinner at headmaster Timo, and the students were having pizza party at Swedish School.
Friday was also a special day, now for the second-year students that became the new seniors at their schools. We participated their celebration at Ouluhalli where all the new high school seniors of Oulu performed with old dances.
Before that, the Erasmus students started the day with ice skating while the teachers had a meeting where they planned the new project.
After lunch was the time for something everybody had waited the whole week, maybe with a little bit scared feeling: ice swimming! The bus took us to the Tuira beach where the bravest (or craziest) people jumped to the freezing river.
Friday, and the whole week, culminated in the evening at the Erasmus Party. Every country had prepared some program that we all enjoyed. Even the Santa Claus visited our party! Everybody got also their diplomas and some Finnish salmiakki to bring back home.
The whole week was intensive but rewarding. It was a pleasure to have you all here and give back a little bit of all that we have got during the earlier meetings. We Finnish people really hope that you enjoyed your stay and that we all will meet again in the future!
TACK! KIITOS! THANK YOU! <3