How Ukrainians study in EU

Last year, Oleksandr Moskalenko, the student of Poltava National Pedagogical University and Vadym Hetman Kyiv National Economic University, who studies three specialties (mathematics, finance and translation from English), traveled to Denmark for four months. He took part in Erasmus+ programme, which provides grants for studying and living abroad.

21-year-old Oleksandr studied pedagogy in Denmark and was practicing at school. The boy told a journalist of Nova Ukrainska Shkola about the trip and features of the Danish education system.

I have learned about Erasmus+ from the Internet. It turned out that my university cooperated with college in Copenhagen. I thought it was a good opportunity, and at the end of February I applied. In addition, a recommendation from a lecturer and knowledge of English at the level not lower than B2 was required. The results have become known in 10 days. I passed. Then, it was necessary to prepare a lot of documents before the trip on 17 August.

To combine Erasmus+ with three specialties, I had to shift all examinations.

So I went abroad for the first time. We were accommodated in a village in a house 25 kilometers away from Copenhagen. There were three houses for the programme participants, nine places each. I lived with foreigners.

We were awarded a grant (less than the average salary in Denmark), from which 60% of the money for accommodation were immediately deducted. For the remaining money we lived and ate. We had to restrict ourselves a bit, but it was real. On holidays, we even went for three days to see the capitals of Sweden and Norway.

When we filled out the application, we could choose the subjects that we would like to study. I chose pedagogy (this is something like a model of teaching in Nordic countries), psychology (relating to the study of personal development) and English (intercultural competence in learning English, how to teach children English).


What is the peculiarity of Danish education

The college where I studied was opened several years ago. It is very modern.

If you compare our systems of learning, the difference is that we focus on the theory, and in Denmark the main thing is practice. Moreover, in a group form. For them, the group form of work is everything. Most exercises are designed for it. Both at school and at university.

I had a week-long practice at school, where I was watching the lessons of German and math teachers. In Denmark, education is aimed at ensuring that children can quickly navigate to find something they do not know yet. If at the lesson the children are asked some question, the theory to which they have not studied yet, the pupils will give a lot of ideas. They think faster.

The main thing for them is to communicate and to find solutions together, visual contact, team spirit.

In classrooms the work is usually organized in groups of four. Groups are mixed up, thus developing skills to collaborate with anyone. But it seems to me that because of this it is difficult for them to work alone, because nobody does all the work on their own.

We had not the most ordinary school. It was well funded. Sixth-graders took part in a competition on robotics, the equipment for which cost 300,000 krones (at a rate of 1 krone – 4.5 hryvnia). However, the project was not just about programming robots.

The children also had paper project on how to eat in space, and small greenhouses in which they cultivated food samples. The children invited us, the participants of Erasmus+ programme, to this this inter-school competition to taste this cosmic food. They gave us something like flakes, but it turned out to be dried crickets (laughs).

This was an out-of-class project, but something the children also did during lessons.

If the child is bored during lesson, the teacher has the right to let it go to the corridor for some time to relax. There is more confidence than in our schools.

Their most important principle is equality. We have a clear distinction between pedagogues and students, a border that students never overstep. And in Denmark it is not that this border disappears, but they deliberately make it invisible. A student has the right to refer to lecturer by name. It was very unusual to me. This is the lecturer, we have to treat them quite differently. There is a respect as well, but it’s unobtrusive. Therefore, the students feel themselves equal.

This is unusual, but I went to Denmark to find out about interesting points in the educational process of another country. I saw another learning system, another outlook. I had the opportunity to observe the Danes and representatives of other countries and their customs.


By Nadiia Shvadchak

Source – Nova Ukrainska Shkola