Our trip to Russia on Monday 18.3. at 8 a.m. from Rovaniemi train station. The bus was quickly filled with students, teachers and project workers, altogether 47 of us. We had teachers and students from Rovaniemi and Kemi-Tornio University of applied sciences, a few students from the University of Lapland and one teacher from Rantavitikka school. First stop was in Salla where we had lunch before entering the customs. Everything went very smoothly and we were over the border in an about an hour. Next stop was in Kandalaksha where we dropped off 12 students and 2 teachers. They were met with teachers from Kandalaksha schools and they planned the next day Health market –day. We would meet again on Thursday in Murmansk. The rest of us continued towards Murmansk where we arrived around 10 p.m. Students accommodation were organized in three separate hostels and teachers’ stayed in the Meridian hotel.
19.3. Health market -day
Tuesday was named Health market –day. Our students had prepared four themes: brains, heart, stomach and hands. Students worked in multi-professional groups i.e. they had for example nurse, physiotherapist and social worker students in the same group. The pupils in each school in Murmansk, Kandalaksha and Lovozero would participate in each of the four themes during one school day. Pupils (and our students also) were at first a little nervous. Tension was quickly gone and pupils were really excited about the different themes. In the brain-group they had i.e. head massage and relaxation, heart-group had balance exercises and games and in hands-group pupils got to draw what was called the “tree of friendship”.
Pupils in Kandalaksha had prepared music and dance performances and they also took photos and videos from the whole day. They compiled a CD for us to take home. Teachers and interpreters in all three schools were more than helpful and we’ve couldn’t have managed without them. After the first day teachers and students had meetings where we reflected the day’s actions and planned the next day.
On Wednesday our students had planned 5 themes to work in workshops. The themes were nutrition, mind/body, sports/games, drugs and identity/social relationships. Sports and games-group got to generate new ideas for games based on traditional games. Nutrition-group learned about healthy diet and how much i.e. sugar or fat certain foods contained. Drugs-group focused on quitting smoking and the risks of alcohol use. Mind and body-group learned about relaxation, balance and concentration/focus. Identity-group draw cartoon strips, which certainly was a new concept for the pupils as well for teachers.
The pupils seemed very excited about the different health themes and we got a lot of positive feedback from the teachers as well. Our bus picked up students and teachers from Kandalaksha and Lovozero and on Wednesday evening we were reunited in Murmansk. In the evening we had a meeting at the hotel about Thursday’s workshop.
21.3. Workshop in Murmansk
On Thursday we continued the workshops where we left off on Wednesday with the whole group. We had eight workshops instead of four which meant a bit more organizing. Everything went well after all. Most importantly the pupils were really excited and they came talking and asking questions even in recess. After the workshops we had a meeting with the principal and the teachers from Murmansk gymnasia no. 5 and of course our teachers and students. The pupils were highly motivated during these three days and we got a message that also the teachers in all three schools got some new ideas for their work in the future. In the afternoon we had some time for sightseeing and shopping. We also visited the famous Aljoshan statue. Some of our students visited the city with our interpreters.
The return journey back home started around 8 a.m. on Friday morning. We stopped in a small village for some last minute shopping. We crossed the border around noon and had lunch in Ivalo. We reflected the trip within the groups and altogether on the bus and finally at 6 p.m. we arrived to Rovaniemi a little tired but one more experience richer.
Ps. Students in Kandalaksha made two videos.