Finland is widely considered to have the most effective educational system in the world. Sending a large group of local PreK through grade 12 teachers and Community Foundation staff to learn directly from their Finnish counterparts was a community grant investment that has the potential to impact generations of local students.
Large group, international travel is something we had never tried to coordinate as a foundation. Working with Fourwinds was the logical choice. We provided the team at Fourwinds with the concept, and they took it from there. Connections were made with our Finnish counterparts to create an educational experience that provided expert-level sessions across the entire spectrum of the Finnish education system. Our group was exposed to primary levels through higher education that included school tours, sessions with administrators and teachers, and panel discussions with students. The group tour leaders who served as our guides provided in-depth information that you simply cannot get from traveling alone. Cultural experiences were built in too, such as visits to museums, the Arctic Circle, and a Reindeer Farm. Each of the experiences combined gave our group an insider’s view into the culture and philosophy of the Finnish people as it relates to education.
The entire experience from start to finish was incredible. The only thing we would have liked to change was the length of the trip. Our group was there for 7 days. Spending at least 10 days would have given us an opportunity to explore more deeply. I would highly recommend designing an international educational experience with Fourwinds as your partner.