Language and culture preparation

We planned and implemented a Gateway to work – preparation course for the participating apprentices. The pre-mobility training was comprised of a language content integrated course including travel security, language and culture. Blogspot and Skype was used for carrying out the course.

The courses were arranged before the mobility itself took place. The duration of the preparation course before leaving was totally 14 contact hours for the participants. The apprentices had to prepare themselves for each session. All apprentices made a video CV of themselves and letter of motivation which were used for applying for the apprenticeship.

They participated in the course via Skype and the preparation groups were formed according to destination of internship. The topics of the language course were as follows:
Security preparation in mother tongue, directions to do the VIDEO CV, Me and my education, at the destination, Finland and my hometown, travel preparation, work interview (in English or Swedish depending on country of destination).
In addition to this all partner schools gave individual preparation and instructions before the apprentices were leaving Finland.

We wanted to plan a language course that is not a traditional language course. The aim was to use new mobile devices and to study the language through content integrated language learning. They studied the culture in the destination country. They also got to know the way of living in the country of destination. In the skype discussion groups Swedish and Finnish speaking apprentices were mixed and so it was natural to use the foreign language (English) and not their mother tongue. Skype was a good tool to gather them together and work on the Blogspot platform. As apprentices from all over Finland participated in the same group they also learned nationally about Finland. They were regionally from North, West, East and South.

This was found as an innovative way of preparing the apprentices that is well worth developing even for future use. The course combined language, culture, discussion, using of ICT, communication, presentation skills and finding useful sources of information for the destination country.

The apprentices also sent some short messages in the foreign language during their exchange period through WhatsApp to their language teacher.
The apprentices were also encouraged to join FB-groups at their destination before going there in order to get to know people beforehand or in order to be able to join groups through their hobbies.

In addition, the apprentices participated in language courses organized by languages school in the receiving countries.