What a week it has been! Jessica, Delaney, and I arrived to Gothenburg, Sweden on Saturday night after a long fifteen hours of travel. Our trip was off to a unique start when my luggage was left behind in London, and didn’t arrive in Sweden until Monday night. Luckily I had a few warm clothes with me and friends who shared to help keep me warm for the few days I was without my luggage.
During our first few days in Gothenburg, we spent a lot of time adjusting to the time change, exploring Haga, and getting familiar with the bus and tram routes. Our advisor here in Sweden, Cecilia, has shown us all of the beautiful spots in the city, along with the best places to eat! We experienced the local delicacy of Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes which are traditionally served with berry sauce-it was absolutely delicious! After a few confusing rides and lots of maps, we have finally acclimated to the public transportation systems as we learn to navigate our way through Sweden.
On Monday, we began our day by meeting the deputy principal at ISGR, The International School of the Gothenburg Region. During our meeting we were introduced to the IB curriculum that the school uses, the ways and customs of the school, and finished with a tour of the campus. We then boarded a tram to meet the children at a local ice rink where they were spending the day for a local field trip. During this time I was able to meet my cooperating teacher Hannah, her assistant Mohini, and their class of 24 grade 1 students. The kids had a blast skating for the day, however our young kiddos were all tired and ready for rest by the end of the day.
Tuesday was my first official day in the classroom with the students, which allowed me to not only gain an understanding of how their classroom works, but to also get to know the kids. Because ISGR is an international school that is primarily made up of students with families who have come to work in Sweden, there are 18 different nationalities represented in Hannah’s class alone. I have already enjoyed learning about the students and where they come from. Hannah focuses her classroom on celebrating the similarities and differences of each student which creates a welcoming environment for all and is a joy to watch as the kids do the same.
The students were all excited to have me in the class, and were eager to teach me the classroom procedures, especially for lunch time! During lunch time the students eat on plates that we use for cooking in the U.S. rather than trays like many schools do in the U.S. The students and teachers eat together in a conference style room, but there is little to no conversation until the meal is completed. Once the student finishes eating, they use hand signals to ask a teacher if they may be excused to scrape their plate and then finish their meal with a cracker. The kids have been practicing the hand signals with me and like to quiz me to make sure I remember them, especially the signal for cracker! Their lunchtime routines are much different than what I am accustomed to in the U.S., but I have really enjoyed seeing the responsibility that each student takes on by cleaning their plate and wiping up their table before getting their cracker for dessert. After the meal, they all head outside to enjoy a 40 minute playtime-even in the snow!
Although it has only been a few days, I have already learned so much about Sweden, ISGR, Swedish school systems, and my students. I cannot wait to continue this week learning, growing, and exploring through all that Gothenburg and this experience has to offer!
Enjoy the pictures of our first few days in Gothenburg below, see you next time!
Keep on traveling,