Written by Amelia from Gjøvik videregående skole, Norway
I never thought I would take a course with Pamoja, but when I unexpectedly moved from my international school in Germany to a small Norwegian high school in Norway, I realised that Pamoja would be the only way I could study some of the subjects I originally wanted to study in the IB Diploma Programme. My school in Norway had a limited subject selection so I decided to take Business Management HL and French ab initio with Pamoja, allowing me to retain the international learning environment (which I love) in a small-town school.
At first, I was reluctant to take two online courses because of my negative experiences with online learning during the COVID-19 lockdown, but as I researched Pamoja and spoke to friends who had taken Pamoja courses, I realised that it might work out well. When I began the courses, I felt quite overwhelmed when I saw how many tasks I needed to complete each week. However, I soon realised that it’s just as much work as any other class.
The biggest challenge for me was managing my time effectively. I felt like I struggled to adjust to the fact that my classroom was not a traditional classroom; rather, it was a classroom which I carried around with me every day and could access from anywhere and at any time. Once I realised this, my learning improved greatly because I could structure my day in a way which suited my school timetable best. This resulted in less stress because I did not feel the pressure to understand something immediately.
When I moved to the town I currently live in, I was disheartened because I did not feel the international connection which I had become used to and I felt really isolated due to language and cultural barriers. The level of student collaboration and the international nature of tasks in both of my courses have enabled me to feel connected on a global scale, outside of the small town which I live in. Within the first month, I have spoken to many of the classmates in my section and we have all helped each other out along the way. The collaborative environment Pamoja presents has been an amazing experience because it has allowed me to meet people from all over the world from places such as Indonesia, USA, Austria, and even some others living in Norway.
Each course is structured in a way that you have to actively take part in your learning. In my Business Management course, I have been able to dive into topics in a way that is starkly different than a traditional classroom. This has resulted in the development of both my research and self-directed learning skills. My French course is a beginner’s course, but it’s taught in a way which is actually interesting. In prior language learning experiences, the language had been taught in a way that was an overload of grammar and sentence structures but on Pamoja, I feel engaged with the topics and I have learnt a lot already!
So far, I have seen tremendous self-growth in the sense that I have learnt important skills relating to time-management and organisation. These skills will help me in other IB courses as well as in my university years and beyond. Frequent communication with my teachers and peers has helped me gain even more knowledge of the courses and has allowed me to feel like a part of a big, international community. The Pamoja courses have presented me with the opportunity to connect real life experiences and knowledge with the required coursework. Rather than viewing learning as a chore, it is now something which I look forward to each week.
During my first month of Pamoja, I have already learnt so much. I have therefore been able to develop an even greater international mindset which has allowed me to approach both my Pamoja and IB courses with a more open-minded perspective. I cannot wait to see what the next two years of learning bring me!
Amelia is a first year IB student who recently moved to Gjøvik videregående Skole in Norway from Germany. She is currently studying Business Management HL and French ab initio with Pamoja Online Courses.