18 April, 2013

Impressions from a Finn in Rotterdam

By special guest blogger: Juha Makkonen
I did my Erasmus teacher exchange at Hogeschool Rotterdam from April 10 to 16th, 2013. During the first two days of my visit I took part in the INVEST project meeting and had a possibility to participate in workshops and interesting visits. We had great discussions about how to encourage volunteer workers, what kind of funding possibilities there exist and how we can create more networks in Europe. It was also a really eye opening experience to see how much voluntary work is done in the Netherlands and what a large impact it has on the whole society.

On Thursday I also had my own lessons with two different student groups. The content of my first lesson was about the history of Finland and how it currently affects the social situation of Finland. I also I made a comparison of the situation of Finland and the Netherlands and heard several good points of view from the students. The other lesson I had was about youth policy and a specific youth guarantee in Finland. The students of both groups were very active and the civic knowledge of them appeared to be of a high level.

During the weekend I participated in the "10 KM LOOP" which was part of the Rotterdam Marathon event. The event itself was a good example of the huge number of arrangements which were made in a short time. And mostly done by volunteers.

On the last days of my visit there were professionalisation days for the staff. I was in the group which visited RadarUitvoering. We heard about the new concepts and plans they have concerning both the financing and managing the activities. We also met former students of the School of Social Work and realized how much they have managed to change their approaches and practices while working for RadarUitvoering.

Overall, I had a most pleasant visit in Rotterdam. I heard that several lecturers in the School of Social Work have been thinking about a visit to Finland during the next school year. I am looking forward to welcoming guests from Hogeschool Rotterdam and provide them as fruitful visit in Finland as possible.

Senior lecturer mr. Juha Makkonen
Humak University of Applied Sciences, Finland