In the past two years, Luksia has expanded its international networks to our neighbouring countries, and one of our new, active partners is Bromangymnasiet in Hudiksvall, Sweden. I asked Mea Larencranz, coordinator of international relations of Bromangymnasiet, about the experiences of this exceptional spring of 2020, and what she thinks about the future of international collaboration in vocational education.
First, a short introduction to Hudiksvall and Bromangymnasiet:
Hudiksvall is a quaint small town of 18 000 people on the coast, 300 kilometres north of Stockholm. There is a direct train connection to Stockholm, making it easy to reach also from Finland.
Coping with the Covid-19 in Bromangymnasiet
Mea Larencranz tells that the Covid-19 pandemic affected the international mobilities in Bromangymnasiet already in February when the school authorities made the decision to freeze all travel for staff and students. Altogether 300 mobilities of staff and students were cancelled for the spring and summer.
However, some students were already abroad for longer periods. “One of them had to stay for weeks in Italy in their total lockdown. It was tricky to get him home,” Mea says.
Bromangymnasiet has managed quite well with the changes this spring. “Some elements in teaching of vocational courses have taken place outdoors. Our Special School unit has been running after the two weeks of quarantine - all others have been studying online,” Mea explains.
They have been using mainly Google Meet for online studies as Bromangymnasiet has used Google Classroom for years. All teachers and students have laptops and collaborate through Google.
One group of students is, however, immensely disappointed: the graduating students will not be able to celebrate the end of their studies as usual. “The celebrations are an important milestone and cherished for life,” Mea notes.
Sustainable development gaining importance in international work
“Unchartered waters ahead,” Mea answers when asked about the future of international activities.
However, she remains positive and believes that global responsibility and environmental sustainability will be emphasized more and more. International travel will not only be affected by the Covid-19, but also the fact that people are becoming more conscious of more sustainable ways to travel.
“When we speak of sustainable learning, international relations are more important than ever. I also look at international relations and EU-funded projects as wonderful opportunities to develop both individuals and our school. With the help of Erasmus+ our college can gain environmental sustainability faster. International Relations is a great arena for staff and students to study the four perspectives given in our curriculum: ethics, environment, international and historic perspectives,” Mea says.
This spring, Luksia together with Bromangymnasiet, Ventspils Technical College in Latvia and Alén Multimedia in Spain have applied for an Erasmus+ strategic partnership project focusing precisely on the topic of sustainability in VET: developing the global citizenship competences of our students and teachers, following the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. If the funding is granted, our joint work will begin in the autumn of 2020 – either virtually or face-to-face, depending on the global and local situation.
We look forward to learning more together!