As part of our role as the UK Euroguidance centre, we have teamed up with the Career Development Institute this year to offer some of their award winners the chance to take part in a Academia exchange to one of our European partners. In this blog post, Sam Holman who was nominated in the ‘Careers Adviser/Coach of the Year’ category tells us about her experiences in Tallinn, Estonia.
“I recently read an article about the importance of working abroad; the article quoted a study where researchers found that working or studying abroad gave these global citizens a “self-concept clarity,” which in layman’s terms is our understanding and comfort with ourselves. I am, and have always been, a fan and a big believer in this way of working.
Apparently, so is Estonia. The same article spoke about Estonia aiming to support this lifestyle too, citing that their proposed Digital Nomad Visa ‘will allow people to travel and work in Estonia for up to 365 days.’
So it seemed like fate that a few days later I was shortlisted for the CDI Individual Best Practice ‘Careers Adviser/Coach of the Year Award’ 2018 and offered an amazing prize by Euroguidance (part of Aspire-igen) of flying to one of their week-long Academia visits in Europe, with Estonia being one of the possible places I could go! I jumped at the chance of course.
And so it was that in May I arrived in a very sunny and unseasonably warm Estonia, and the sun shone all week, as much inside the training room as outside it seemed. The other participants were from Germany, Denmark, Latvia, Slovenia and Sweden and there was a buzz of excitement right from the start, everyone was clearly there to learn and share, connect with others and enhance that “self-concept clarity”.
The week itself was so well organised; from the CDI Awards to the pre-departure planning by the lovely ladies at Aspire-Igen, the accommodation where I slept soundly for the week to the phased learning and presentations, and the amazing tour of Tallinn Old Town followed by an evening out hosted by ‘Innove Rajaleidja’. The passion for career guidance and this programme from our Estonian counterparts shone as brightly as the sun, and as they prepare for upcoming changes as a result of a necessary merge with their public services I suspect that they will survive the disruption with the calm, flexible and positive outlook that they showed us through the entire week.
The main purpose of their programme was to encourage mutual exchange and provide a learning mobility experience in a multicultural environment. The focus of the week was to ensure that all participants left with a deepened knowledge about Career Management System approaches in different countries through short, pre-prepared presentations by each practitioner, and through the week they shared the Estonian education and e-system and gave a detailed overview of life long guidance strategies in Estonia through guest presenters, such as the PISA National Project Manager, Gunda Tire, and a trip to the Public Employment Service.
The absolute highlight of my week, bar the never ending feasts that our hosts supplied (I’m still dreaming of that rye bread and herb butter!), was the penultimate day spent at a beautiful school in the old town. Every turn showed a new surprise; it was a protected building, and it was clear to see why you would enjoy learning there. The time spent with the students and careers practitioner rounded off the end of a truly inspiring and rewarding week, and all that I have left to say is ‘tanan’ to all involved in my trip to Tallinn.”
To find out more about the Academia exchanges, visit the Euroguidance website.