Time flies when you are having fun. My internship in Finland, where I had always wanted to visit, will be over soon. In an educational environment that is very different from Japan, I have thought about various things such as the educational purpose, the role and responsibility of the school and teacher, and how I want to live not only as a teacher but also as a person.

The first thing I knew during this internship is that schools are not just a place to receive knowledge, but a place to find what you want to learn and how to learn it. Looking back on the days working as a teacher in Japan, I realized that in my classes, the focus was on telling knowledge to the students. I felt that I may not have had enough time for students to develop their own interests, to think, to freely express their thoughts, and to exchange opinions with each other. What we learn at school is for each of us to learn how to enrich our own lives and how to create the life we want to live. That’s what I felt. In each subject, students will complete the assignments according to the theme given by the teacher. In the process, they will realize their own interests, know about issues of modern society, and learn how to take things from different perspectives. In addition, they will acquire the thinking, judgment, and expression skills necessary to live their lives. I think that this educational style is exactly what Japan is trying to promote, ”cross-curricular learning to make use of learning in each subject to discover and solve problems in the real world.” In such an educational environment, I realized that teachers are not the ones who teach knowledge to the students, but rather the ones who guide and think together with them as mentors in life. I think that’s why teachers and students can build a good relationship that is equal, and they respect each other.

This internship reminded me of another thing. That is, it is important to have the feeling that ”I want to communicate my thoughts”. I had many opportunities to give presentations introducing Japanese culture. Since I am not good at English, I often could not express what I wanted to say well. However, the students listened well and some of them were interested and actively asked questions, which made me very happy. Even if you have a different culture or language, even if you don’t speak English well, what you should not forget is that you want to communicate. I was reminded of this every time I gave a presentation.


Actually, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue my career as a teacher in the future. I have always admired Finnish education and culture somewhere in my heart, and perhaps I wanted to explore them to confirm my true feelings. This internship in Finland was like a great adventure for me. Perhaps by taking on this challenge, I was seeking to find my own answers.

I had a wonderful time. All the experiences I gained here are invaluable to me and will surely help me in my life from now. I am very grateful to the teachers, staff, students, and everyone I met for their warm welcome during the internship. Thank you so much.


Miki Sugawara