Thursday, 10 February 2011

Meeting the Finnish Minister of Education, KieliKampus

This was a hugely important meeting for plans to turn Seminaarimäki campus into a language campus for JYU. We also got a keyring from it (so shiny) that now hangs proudly from my keys. The audience contained faculty staff, directors and government official's even the Finnish Minister of Education! Marlen asked us to speak to explain how his courses benefited our degrees and how the language school benefited us. WE were the ONLY students there just the three of us, it was such a great honour to asked, I am still in a little bubble!

I don't know much about the other two students but I quote from "Jenni Kankaanpää, a 3rd year psychology student from Finland who performed photographic auto-ethnography in order to examine self-esteem and body image discussed the recent acceptance of her research into the European Federation of Psychology Students Associations Annual Congress while Otto Tuomela, a 4th year philosophy student from Finland discussed his qualitative investigation of secondary school philosophy students' attitudes towards religious education. Both Jenni and Otto will also work as Course Assistants in Marlen's 2011 Academic Writing, Reading & Communication classes, mentoring future student researchers. Kate Warren of England discussed how her research on UK recycling policies and practices (as part of Marlen's Critical Info Management/Professional Writing course) has prepared her for her Masters thesis in Renewable Energy. All three students will have their work showcased during a poster presentation at the internationally-attended New Dynamics in Language Learning conference in Jyväskylä, Finland in June, 2011."

The other possible bonus after that were being asked to talk at the International Conference again in June is that we may be going to Helsinki to repeat the presentation for the Ministry of Education. Exciting times! Though I really can't thank Marlen enough for this opportunity, let or lone the addition of new skills for my CV. This has all been an excellent experience that is far from over yet. It is also all in time to look good when my Master's thesis options start in September. Good times.

After the presentations were over we went to an after party which was excellent, all the champagne you could drink and lovely food. Alas I couldn't eat or drink either but I still had two guys making sure I had water and fussing over what I could have. It was a great night and the networking opportunities have been fantastic. We left just before 7pm, I missed the bus so had to walk home in minus 15C, I was cold but so excited it didn't matter, one bit!

Then of course I had to call mom and dad then my grandparents... everyone was so proud and what we had done with the other chances it has given to us.

It was funny though the day before I had my seminar presentation on front of 9 people and I was so nervous... the next day I had to talk to 150 people about the use of learning Finnish as a foreigner and how the critical information management course has been useful in preparation for my mater's thesis and currently my seminar review.

Marlen told us that today people are still talking about us and the presentation. This is just outstanding proof that Marlen is an excellent teacher, who pushes you hard, that's not a bad thing though it benefits us most but I think at conferences like this it's always good to praise the people who deserve it most!

I am forever thankful to Marlen for asking me!

All photos from Marlen's collection

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