Hi! I am Sven, welcome to my blog.

On this page I’d like to tell you a bit about my story, and why this blog came into existence.

Let’s start by going back to the period when I was about 16 years old.

The Dutch educational system

When I was about 16 years old, I attended high school like everyone else. I had a good time and got some valuable friendships, lasting to this very day.

But even though high school was great, I wasn’t fully satisfied and I saw room for improvement. Like any other teenager, I asked myself the question what the purpose was of endless homework and exams.¬†Of course I was aware of the value of education, but I found most of the subjects to choose from simply not interesting enough. I missed a variety of subjects fitting my personal interests.

I was aware of the fact I was right in the middle of my puberty, so I decided to write down my thoughts in short notes to myself. In that way I could examine them on a later age to see if they actually made sense or if they were just the thoughts of a frustrated adolescent ūüėČ

The end of compulsory education

After I received my high school diploma, compulsory education stopped. I felt the need to take it slow, and take time to make a good decision about what I wanted to study.

I decided to start traveling and visited Scandinavia several times which got me highly interested in the culture, values and educational systems of the Scandinavian countries. I started to read more about higher education in Scandinavia and saw a sharp contrast with the system that was familiar to me in the Netherlands.

Becoming a Geography teacher

After my gap year, I decided to combine my passion for traveling with making a difference in the education of young adults; I became a Geography teacher.

In the last year of the studies, I worked officially as a teacher and I had two groups for myself. I felt safe enough to ask them an honest question and said:

“Allright, please be completely honest. Who of you would voluntarily show up in this class, if it was completely up to you?”

About one third of the students raised their hands.

The students told me it had nothing to do with me, they told me I did a great job. Neither did they blame the fact they had to go to school. The only thing that bothered them, was the big amount of subjects they didn’t feel any motivation for.

When I got home, I started to structure the notes I had been making since I was 16. It took me a couple of days to find them all and filter out duplicates. Within a few days I had a pile of notes which I read through. I came to the conclusion that many of my notes still made sense. At the age of 23 I still agreed with almost every word I wrote during my teenage years.

It triggered my interest in alternative educational systems even further, which is why I decided to follow a minor in Swedish language and culture at the University of Amsterdam. It allowed me to get access to Scandinavian media and stay up-to-date about trends and (educational) policies in the Scandinavian countries.

The ‚ÄúScandinavian dream‚ÄĚ

After working as a geography teacher for sometime and seeing the differences with the Scandinavian model, I decided I wanted to have a bigger impact on the educational system than in my classroom alone.

In order to do so, I defined two goals:

  1. I wanted to experience living in a Scandinavian society by becoming part of it.
  2. I wanted to find a way to have a bigger impact on educational policies. 

I quit my teacher job, booked a bus ticket, and took the bus to Copenhagen for an unknown period of time.

The Copenhagen adventure lasted for over two years, gave me in-depth knowledge about the Danish society, made me feel home in the north, and kicked off a new era of living in Scandinavia.

Starting a blog

After mostly consuming ideas and experiences, I didn’t want to keep it for myself. I felt the need to share my ideas with others. It lead to my first e-book and the idea for a blog was born.¬†In the meantime, I got to know Denmark pretty well, but I thought it would be valuable to get a broader knowledge about the whole Scandinavian region. I therefore decided to leave Copenhagen and continue my journey in Sweden.

Moving to Sweden

My adventure in Sweden started in Gothenburg. I spent three months in the city and allowed myself to get a more profound knowledge of the Swedish culture and improve my language skills.¬†In the meantime, I applied for a Master’s program in Sociology of Education at Uppsala University, where I got admitted.

In 3 years, I finished my master’s program with a lot of joy. Apart from a master’s thesis that took a bit longer to complete, there has not been a single day I disliked my studies. Simultaneously, the combination of being part of higher education in Sweden while studying it at the same time and be able to put this in perspective in relation to other countries and sociological theories, has been an amazing experience. After my studies I decided to stay in Sweden and nowadays I am based in Stockholm which I call home now.¬†

The purpose of this blog

On this blog, I will share my thoughts and ideas regarding educational systems and how they could be improved. I do so by presenting philosophical, sociological and geographical concepts. The reason I find this topic endlessly interesting, is because the influence of education is enormous. It is responsible for the transmission of culture, values, knowledge, and it creates a foundation for economical success of the individual and society as a whole.

As adults, we decide over our children’s lives in the form of compulsory education which dictates the general life of a child until maturity. There are many good reasons to do so, although we have an enormous responsibility to make sure that education serves the interests of the students in the first place. After all, it is them who are forced by law to go to school.¬†I therefore believe this is a topic that will always be relevant and interesting to investigate.

My mission is to contribute to that by sharing my thoughts in order to improve the educational system for those who are part of it and those who benefit from it. 

I hope you will enjoy reading it.

sven poldervaart

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