Internship abroad: Refelcting on students learning
My name is Karolina, I come from Poland, where I grew up and studied in a culture that is different from the Danish one.
My friends and colleagues describe me as enthusiastic, positive, talkative and honest person with a passion for work and traveling. I love meeting people from all over the world and share with them life experience. I describe myself as an open-minded person with ambitions, always keen on learning more. My life motto is: “Do it with passion or not at all”.
I came to Denmark for the first time in 2001 for a 3-months long internship on organic agricultural farming. My main goal was to improve English skills and increase competences within the field of agriculture. After this period, my life has totally changed. I decided to come back to Denmark and continue the education that was very different from Poland.
In 2012, I obtained my MSc. degree in Agro-Environmental Management from the University of Aarhus. Apart from studying, I also worked as a part time teacher in Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Denmark, and I continued to work as a teacher until 2017. At that time, I worked mainly with international students from Poland, Hungary and Romania.
I still remember my first days as a teacher. I was practicing the teaching methods from Poland, where teacher is the boss - students must listen and memorize everything that is said by the teacher. I spent so much time on preparing the lessons; I was mainly talking, while students were passive during the lessons.
In 2015 I started Diplomuddannelse i erhvervspædagogik (DEP) and I was very happy about it. I learned a lot during the different modules both from my classmates and from the teachers. I changed my style of teaching: students became more active, and I was mainly facilitating their learning process.
In 2017, I got a new position and presently I am working as an international coordinator at Jordbrugets UddannelsesCenter, Aarhus (JU). In 2017 I was half the way of DEP; luckily I got the possibility to finish it.
In my last project, I focused on the process of internship abroad, which is a very complex matter. I am very satisfied with the work I did - the project was very much related to my daily work, and I developed new skills that I can now apply in practice.
Internship abroad consists of 3 main stages: before, during and after internship. It is very crucial to improve the contact among all stakeholders that are involved in the whole internship process.
My ambition is to share the experiences that I have gained during the project with colleagues from other VET that are facing similar challenges. Presently, I am working on forming a group of international coordinators in Denmark that will meet twice a year and exchange experiences and good practice. In my opinion, such approach gives a chance to improve the quality of the learning during the internship abroad, which will result in more students choosing the internship abroad and VET. Students are our best ambassadors, and that is why we must work on their success so they can be a role model for VET.
Karolina har i sit afgangsprojekt kvalificeret sig til at varetage en særlig funktion på skolen som international koordinator. Hun har foretaget et stort empirisk arbejde, som er anvendt til at udvikle en model, som kan anvendes i den videre udvikling af det didaktiske arbejdet med elever på udveksling i samarbejde med kolleger og andre aktører. Afgangsprojektet er således et eksempel på, at DEP kan bidrage til kvalificering af lærere til at varetage særlige funktioner på erhvervsskoler.
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