April 12th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 15
Finnish students visit high school
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Anna Kroupina photo
Eighteen students and two teachers had a week-long trip to Crowsnest Pass from Finland as part of the Finland-Alberta (FINAL) exchange program with CCHS. Pictured above, a group is giving presentations at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre on April 7 to culminate their experiences throughout the week. Left to right, Liam Knott, Jasmine Sydora, Kiera Wheelock from CCHS and Jaakko Kilpelainen, Antti Taskinen from Kitee Upper Secondary School.
Pass Herald Reporter
After a week of adventuring around Southern Alberta and learning about the history of Crowsnest Pass, high school students from Kitee Upper Secondary School and Crowsnest Consolidated High School gave presentations to culminate their experiences throughout the week at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre on April 7.

Students were divided into eight groups, each one with a unique topic to cover like the Hillcrest Mine Disaster, trade relations between Canada and Finland, and the role of labour unions.

Eighteen students and two teachers from Kitee Upper Secondary School were visiting the Pass as part of the Finland-Alberta (FINAL) partnership that facilitates student exchanges between Alberta and Finnish schools. The Finns arrived on March 31 and for the next week, participated in educational and cultural activities that exposed them to life in Canada.

“It’s an education program all based on homestay and the day-to-day cultural experience of being a student in a relatively similar-sized town [as Crowsnest Pass,” says Krysta MacDonald, a teacher at CCHS. “It’s a great learning experience to have that connection with someone living on the other side of the world.”

In the mornings, the students attended programs at the Interpretive Centre and their afternoons were spent attending regular classes with local students at the high school.
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“They get to show off their home, which makes them have a bigger appreciation for it as well. And when they travel, they get to expand their horizons beyond what they see every day.”

Maeve Rothlin, a grade 10 student at CCHS, says she took her Finn on hiking trips, excursions to Fernie and Waterton, and to local restaurants for authentically local dining.

“It’s been so amazing. It’s really nice to have the opportunity to have this kind of experience and be exposed to the culture of others, as well as bringing your culture to their community at a later time,” says the 15-year-old. “We’re going into a stage where we’re expected to know what we’re going to do with our lives. Seeing other places in the world is a big eye-opener.”

Sixteen-year-old Juho Mäki from Finland says that the past week has been the best week of his life, highlights that in the short week of the exchange, the students have already developed profound relationships.
“It’s strange how even though we are here for such a short period of time, we have become such good friends with the Canadian people here. Of course, I am homesick, but it makes me sad to be leaving Canada and these people. Thank god they are coming to visit in October.”
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Finland is known for its pristine waters and vast forests amid a largely flat landscape, so living among the Pass’ mountains was something special for Mäki.

“I expected that coming to Canada would be amazing, but it as been even more amazing here,” he says.

Sixteen CCHS students will be travelling to Finland on a reciprocal exchange in October. Rothlin says she’s “very excited” about the experience.

“I’m super pumped about the landscape and to be surrounded by their language,”she says. “It’s so different from what they’ve described to us so it’ll be a really cool experience.”

Mäki already has ideas of how to showcase the best that Finland has to offer to our Canadian students, saying he’ll flaunt the country’s forests, lakes, cuisine and, of course, the Finnish sauna.
April 12th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 15
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