My name is Malin Jansson and I am 23 years old. I am from Sweden, Gothenburg which is the country’s second biggest city with 700 000 citizens – which means about the same size as Chisinau. On the first of October I got invited to meet some students at the Maramures. For me as a foreigner I saw the occasion as a great opportunity to ask the students some questions about the Moldovan school and educational system. In return they saw the meeting as an opportunity to ask me questions about education and Sweden.
The interest in Moldovan education springs from my previous University studies. Spring 2012 I finished a Bachelor in European Studies, with the specialization Economical History. The subject belongs to the Institution of Political Sciences which I achieved on the University of Gothenburg. I have also studied one year in the United States and six months in Italy. For now, I am temporarily volunteering as a journalist at the educational Newspaper Faclia in cooperation with an international organization called Projects Abroad. For two months Moldova, Chisinau will therefore be my home.
To my relief the meeting was arranged with the students, teachers, librarians and me sitting around a table in an informal way. I prefer it that way because the discussion becomes more relaxed and especially shy students are more likely to take part and ask questions. The meeting began with a librarian telling the students about Moldova and tourism and how foreigners view the country. There after they showed an Italian film that was made in purpose of attracting Italian tourists to Moldova. I thought it was a great film that truly showed a beautiful and exotic side of the country that could attract many tourists to Moldova. I actually enjoyed the film so much that I asked for the possibility to purchase it. I am honest when I say that it is hard to find information about Moldova in Sweden. When you go to a tourist-information they have never heard of it and on the internet you only find depressing information about the socio-economic situation. To show the film to my parents and friends will mean that they would understand what I am talking about when I say that “Moldova is an exciting country to visit”.
After the film I got to talk about my impressions about Moldova, which are only positive ones so far. Followed by the students asking me questions about how Sweden and Moldova differs from each other. Especially the female students were actively asking questions, the boys seemed a little bit shyer. They especially asked me questions regarding how it is to study in Sweden. It surprised them that the Swedish grading system is so different from the Moldovan one. In my country you see, the scale goes from A – F and not 1- 10 as here. Also one big difference is that we do not have grades until 8th grade, whereas in Moldova you have grades from the age of 7.
I found out that the students had Music as specialization and that they had prepared a traditional song to song for me. I got very happy for this act, as I have never heard the traditional Moldovan singing. Just like all the traditional things here – such as the dances, crafts and food, the song was beautiful and something that future tourists will come to love! The Library appeared clean and neat and had surprisingly many books. It looked like any Library you can found in Sweden. The only difference would be that there are more computers in the Swedish Libraries. However that is explained by the online-lending system there is in Sweden, whereas you can lend books at home from your computer.
I would like to thank the Library Maramures for having invited me, and to thank the students who listened and asked questions. Thank you very much! Multumesc foarte mult! and Tack så mycket!