Learning a language and a culture
I decided to speak about my daytime job for the first time here in my blog. No matter I am a poet and artist, working on couple of projects in my free time, I work as a trainee (and as a director-to-be) in a immigrant group in a communal arts centre. I am codirecting the group’s studies, games and lessons with the rest of the staff.
We play games, we (try to) speak in the Finnish language and we support all each other. This doesn’t only go to the teachers or directors supporting the immigrants the group is targeted at but also we, working there, learn a lot from other cultural habits, ways of being and speaking. I have personally gotten so much out of my work days there this far, for the past couple of months, learning new things about their home countries and can also murmur a word or two of Arabic if needed.
I take it is not easy to learn one of the most difficult languages in the world. Today, for example, we discussed how laundry should be washed and what is happening in the national news. News are the way we start the day. Simple Finnish news, with simple topics and interesting takes on what goes on in Finland.
The immigrants in our group come from various backrounds, some are already advanced in the language studies and some are only learning to read and write in their adult age. This learning does consist of learning the alphabet and like in any foreign language, learning numbers, months, the days of the week, months and seasons. We discuss about future plans which all of the target group has well-thought out and we try to be there for any kind of question about how things are done in Finland – or, in sometimes, all in all, in the European cultures.
I believe the group atmosphere is very good and we are getting along just fine for the legit 4 hours we spend together in the same class every weekday. A part of the fun is that you never know what kind of mood people are on – what to expect – and what are we doing for the day.
I hope our staff efforts teach something essential and important about the way of life up here in the north and make learning the language with all it’s quirks easier in the future for these people who I smile at, speak to and work with every day. I truly believe our mission is succesful in this task and am happy to be starting to take more responsibility on the job as time goes by.
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