Why did I choose for Finland as my volunteer country?
In September 2017 I graduated as ‘orthopedagoog’* in Educational Sciences. This means I can call myself now a social worker. One of the interesting topics during my studies was ‘diversity and inclusion’*. Belgium has beautiful projects around that theme, but still there is a lot of work to do!
My study books told me that Finland could be seen as a model country for inclusive education* and inclusion in general. On the other hand it seems impossible to just take over the Finnish ideas and to implement them in the Belgium society.
Why are some things working in Finland but not in Belgium? Where does it go wrong? What do we need to change? Can we even change anything? There are a lot of questions I would like to understand. At this point Finland looked very attractive to me as a host country. Finally I would not only learn from my study books, but I could experience things in real life.
By accepting the EVS-challenge I made a commitment to the Youth Service of Kuopio and to VIA vzw (my sending organisation). I want to share my knowledge and I am convinced that I will learn a lot from the youth workers and youngsters here.
I hope I can give you some insights in my (funny) experiences by writing on the blog of Po1nt (once a month).
PS: I am really in love with Finnish nature!
Until we meet again!
*Inclusion means that we (try) to include all people in society by trying to change situations, public space, social environment, … By doing that we pay attention to minority groups who might drop out more easily.
*Diversity means that there is a mix of people who differ from each other at different life domains. For example differences in religions, differences in culture, differences in appearance, …
*Inclusive education. In Belgium we had a separated educational system. Students with a disability didn’t go to schools in general education; they needed to go to special schools. It was not really possible that people who had for example Down syndrome could go to regular school system. In Belgium we learn that the education system of Finland is more inclusive. In Finland it is possible that children with a disability, like down syndrome, could go to regular schools. Last years we try to change the school system in Belgium so children with dyslexia, down syndrome, learning disabilities, … could go to the regular system if they (and their parents) want. But we notice it doesn’t work that well, there are appearing a lot of problems.
*Orthopedagoog. In Gent, Belgium, we can study different kinds of social work. ‘Orthopedagogiek’ is a study where we learn to work with minority groups of people who experiences difficulties in living and having a good quality of life in (Belgium) society.