We were excited to see beautiful and warm Bryssel city, but unfortunately it wasnt like that. Mostly of days there were rains and cloudy. We came to Bryssel different days. On monday there were nice weather, over 20 degrees. Part of group stayed at hotel and others were staying at AirBnb apartment.
Day 1 : First program day in our scedule was meeting in European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). The EESC has 350 Members from all EU Member States, who has a huge range of professional and social backgrounds. Membership is divided into three groups, representing ”Employers”, ”Workers” and ” Various Interests” (farmers, the professions, and consumers etc.). Man called Pasi Moisio presented to us their work here in Bryssel. They prepare suggestions to European comission. Also they have to network with many participants. Finland is so small country that networking is very important. He was speaking in finnish so it was easy to ask whatever we wanted.
In the afternoon we had presentation in European parliament. Young and excited woman told us how everything works in that house. We supposed to have appointment with MEP (Member of European Parliament) Elsi Katainen, but unfortunately she was too busy to meet us. Her assistant Taru Jokinen told us what is it like to work with MEPʼs. Taru described that she made open application to Elsi and got that job!
At the end of the day we had opportunity to see how it looks like in chamber. We took many pictures but we didn’t saw Teuvo in that house 🙁
Picture 1. EU parliament from outside. (Utta Kolehmainen)
Day 2: In the morning we took the train to Gent. Two nice woman was expecting to us in the Gent station. Inga is manager of old peoples house and Marin works in school, she is teaching at secondary school.
In program was planned that we go to psychiatric clinic but quickly we noticed that we were at museum area. Man who has worked there 37 years showed us to many historical treatments in psychiatric illnesses. It was interesting but quite shocking. Many treatments was like that in Finland in that time, like lobotomy. ´Kuppaus´ was one of those similar treatment what we also use nowadays in Finland.
Picture 2. Gent museum. (Heli Nissinen)
Day 3 First in the morning we met Kari Aalto how works at the Eastern and Northern Finland European Office. He told that there are many differences between western and eastern Finland how we can get money from EU to projects. Northern and eastern Finland are in special position. In that work is important to inform. In lunch time many of students started to getting ready for coming back to Finland.
In the afternoon the rest of us traveled by train to KU Leuven University. KU Leuven has been selected as Europe’s most innovative university for four consecutive years. It has the opportunity to study a wide variety of disciplines and there are almost a hundred programs in English.
In auditory we got presentation from different ages social benefits. We regonised many similarities between Belgium and Finland. Difference between Belgium and Finland is that in Belgium it is possible that you don’t get any benefits from the covermount! Its like lottery what kind of social worker you can have. So there may have differences’ between workers.
Picture 3. KU Leuven (Utta Kolehmainen)
Traveling often hurts and happens, and this trip was no exception. On the way to Leuven experienced Brussels visitors Pirjo and Riitta were lost and could not find the train station, while our students were already waiting for the train at the right train station. Finally our whole group was on the right train, but with the Savo dialect ”eessuntaas” tickets going to the wrong Leuven. Fortunately, the ticket inspector did not throw us off the train, even though we had learned it with great skill. The laughter roared on the train and we live with those laughter for at least 100 years.
The best part of that journey was see how European parliament works, everything is quit slowly and hierarchy. Founder countries like France, Germany, Spain and Great Britain with or without brexit told another EU how it rolls. Small countries like Finland doesn’t have so must to say about decisions.
This blogpost is part of the welfare coordinator students (Master Degree Studies) study module Working and Studying in International Environment. The focus of this study module is that the students can strengthen their communicative skills and professional experience in an international learning environment and learn effectively as a team member in another cultural environment. You can read more www.savonia.fi.
Utta Kolehmainen, TYKO18SY, Savonia University of Applied Sciences
Jonna Martikainen, TYKO18SY, Savonia University of Applied Sciences
Hanna Venäläinen, TYKO18SY, Savonia University of Applied Sciences
Riitta Turjamaa, Senior Lecturer, Savonia University of Applied Sciences
Pirjo Turunen, Senior Lecturer, Savonia University of Applied Sciences