Let the adventure begin...
Hailey, KayLeigh and I had been counting down the days until our abroad adventure arrived for months! I think I was in shock that it was finally here. I was both eager and excited to see what new opportunities this once in a lifetime experience would bring. With our bags crammed full with sweaters, scarfs and snow boots and coffee in hand, we boarded a plane at DFW airport to London on Saturday afternoon. 8 long hours and many TV shows later, we arrived in London early Sunday morning to catch the second to last leg of our journey, a flight to Copenhagen. After shoveling down some desparetly needed food, we boarded the much shorter flight to Denmark. My heart was legitimately in my stomach as we stood in the Copenhagen airport waiting for our bags. The last four trips I have been on in the last year my bags have gotten lost!!!! I could not be more thankful that my unlucky streak was broken and both of my bags made it safely. Our final leg of travel was a short 20 minute train ride from the airport in Copenhagen, Denmark to Malmö, Sweden, where we would be calling home for the next month. We looked quite ridiculous with all our luggage on the train...Exhausted from the longgggg days of travel, we made the short walk straight to the hostel where we would be staying and settled in for the night. We would be visiting the school where will be teaching in the morning and wanted to be as well rested and not jet lagged as possible.
Malmö International School
After a much needed good night sleep, we woke up and got ready to visit the school we would be teaching at during our stay in Malmö. We had absolutely no idea what to expect and had 1,001 questions floating around in our brains!! We bundled up for our 10 minute walk to the school. The first thing I noticed was the amazing location of the school! There is a beautiful church located right in front of the school and a train station, mall and many restaruants and shops right around it. We were greeted by the school principal when we arrived and she gave us a brief introduction to the school. She also handed us all a set of keys to the school!! We all thought this was very funny and not something that tends to happen in the United States. The principal then showed us to our classrooms and left us in the hands of our teachers we would be working with.
My teacher's name is Anna (the students call the teacher's by their first names here, which is definitely going to take some getting used to!) Anna is from London originally and moved here about 2 years ago. Her mom is also the librarian at the school! She is very sweet and I've loved getting to know her so far! Malmö International School is an IB school. It's been very cool getting to learn how the program works! I'm in the Primary Years Program, which is the same as elementary school, and in Level 1, which is the equivalent of kindergarten. My students are ages 6-7, which is the age of first graders in the United States, but it is their first year in school, so their academic level is more similar to kindergarten than to first grade. There are 22 kids in my classroom coming from all over the world! They only speak English in the classroom, but my teacher told me that all of them speak at least 2 languages, most even more!
For the most part, my class is very similar to any kindergarten class you would find in the United States! For example, there is a strong emphasis on phonics. The past two days we have been studying the letter "s" and "a." Where things greatly differ is recess. Students come to school in their snow suits, hats, gloves and snow boots, and where normal everyday clothes underneath. When they get to school they immediately go to their locker, take off all their winter gear, store it inside the locker and put on their "indoor" shoes. Common indoor shoes are Crocs, slippers or Birkenstocks. My teacher told me this is to keep the room clean and not track snow inside. The students put the snowsuits, hats, gloves, and snow boots back on for both 30 minute recesses. What an ordeal! Once outside, I immediately noticed recess is much more free than in the United States. There is no playground are equipment. The students simply just play! Some common activities include football (soccer in the U.S,) climbing trees and playing tag. My teacher also told me the kids go out to play everyday no matter what the weather is! Overall, it was a great first day at the school and I am very much looking forward to seeing what the rest of the month has in store at this special school!
A Bit of Exploring
The school day ended around 2:30. After school, I met back up with Hailey and KayLeigh. We swapped stories from the day at a coffee shop right by the school. It was so cool to hear about their experiences from the day and about their classes and teachers. After some much needed caffeine, we decided to walk to the city center towards a dinner spot one of the teacher's at the school had recommended and see what we saw on the way. We all agreed that Malmö is perfect: not overly busy, plenty to do and see, on the water and a good mixture between old and modern.
We are seriously LOVING Sweden so far and can't wait to see what the next month has in store!!! Hopefully full of more cappuccinos, chilly walks and beautiful views!!