Our websites

West Nottinghamshire College Group operates a number of websites that support our growing business.

The Corporation

Posted: 24/01/18

Further learning, fun and friendships at Finnish college

Students from West Nottinghamshire College in Mansfield, have experienced a winter wonderland with a difference in Finland – both studying alongside Finnish students and enjoying the locality and culture.

  • The visit to Jyväskylä was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
  • West Notts students enjoyed comparing classroom life in Finland
  • A creative shop window created by business students to sell their Britain's Finest tea
  • Creating a three-course meal was one of the tasks that Jess Long (far left) and Charlotte Campbell (far right) had to master in healthcare
  • Early years student Isabelle Calderwood (centre) works creatively with the Finnish teaching staff
  • The students enjoyed the snowy scenery
  • Yorkshire tea went down a storm at the festive market for the business students

The two-week visit, funded by the Erasmus+ programme, was a continuation from when students from Jyväskylä College came to West Notts College in 2017. Jyväskylä is situated in the western part of the Finnish Lakeland.

It saw eight students from early years, health and social care and business courses, finding out more about their counterparts’ studies and their own career aspirations.

For business diploma student, Cameron Moore, 17, it was his first time abroad which made a great impact on his confidence.

He said: “I applied to the Erasmus scheme last year but was unsuccessful. I’ve developed more skills since then at college and I feel I was much more suited to going this time.

“It was my first time flying abroad so I was excited to meet the students, and to experience a different culture.”

Classroom life

The group saw classroom life in their respective study areas seeing how differently their counterparts studied.

Health and social care student Jess Long, 17, wants to become an occupational therapist. She was surprised how involved the Finnish students are with clients in the community.

She said: “As part of our placement we did homecare visits with the Finnish students. It’s something we wouldn’t do in the UK, but we felt comfortable with the students and buddied up with them to work with clients.”

Business studies took on a practical element for Cameron Moore, Daniel Smith, Millie Hastings and Nathan Wilson, creating a retail stand using visual merchandising skills, to showcase West Notts students’ business initiative called Britain’s Finest.

UK learners joined with the Finnish students to sell Yorkshire tea through the Britain’s Finest stand at the Christmas market.

Cameron said: “It’s hard to find English breakfast tea in Finland. When the students visited us last year, we devised the idea and created a business plan to sell tea at their festive market.

“We created a company name and the pop-up shop and set up when we arrived. It was great fun to see the tea selling well! “

Childcare students Isabelle Calderwood, 17, and eighteen-year-old Bryn Foulkes, enjoyed the practical studies. Isabelle said: “We taught students English nursery rhymes and compared stories with them about life at our colleges.

“At the English pre-school in Finland, we did things such PE classes with dancing, and painting the classroom windows which is something we’ve not experienced in England and I even learnt to count in Finnish.”

A different culture

Health and social care student Charlotte Campbell, 18, said: “We became a really close group - friends forever. We connected well and enjoyed staying in the small hotel just a short walk from the college.

“Some of the Finnish students lived there too so we saw them lots. Language wasn’t too much of a barrier as most could speak English. We just had to speak slower and drop our local slang!”

And it wasn’t all studies as they took in the Christmas markets and had games in the snow and attended a dance celebrating 100 years of Finnish independence.

Isabelle said: “I loved the hockey match and went bowling with friends. I made some new friends too, including a girl who I’ve become close to since coming home. This wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for this visit.”

Business student Daniel Smith, 17, enjoyed the ice hockey game saying: “Throughout the match we joined in with the chants and songs despite the language barrier - a fantastic experience.”

On reflection

It was an eye-opener for Charlotte Campbell, who admitted she had “never even peeled a carrot!”

She said: “As part of the care course we had to prepare a three-course meal. This was definitely something new for me as I’m really no chef!”

Jess said: “Most Finnish students go straight into employment. Because they’ve learnt higher level skills at college they’re already well-trained, so may not earn much more by training further at university.

“They were very shocked that we have to pay university fees in the UK as they don’t!”

Isabelle added: “This experience has increased my independence, as I had to look after myself whilst I was there. It will also develop my communication skills back in England, which is a very important skill to have in the childcare sector.”

International co-ordinator Kadri Saat said: “We put great emphasis on ensuring students leave us with the skills and attributes they need to develop successful careers in today’s labour market.

“The EU-funded Erasmus+ programme offers students a unique opportunity to get involved in different working practices to develop resilience and adaptability, as well as entrepreneurial skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and teamwork.

“We’re very proud of our students who represented us so professionally during the visit.”