The YET-project: Cultures colliding 

The two-week long journey of the YET-project has started once again in OSYK. YET stands for Youth, Europe and Theatre, and it’s an exchange project that has been going on for over ten years already. The project is funded partly by Erasmus+ and partly by the participants. Students from different countries come together and make a play about a certain book they’ve read. The participants get divided to three groups: media-, art- and acting team. This year the countries are Finland, the Netherlands and a newcomer Greece. There are teachers from each country who lead the different teams. The teachers from the Netherlands are Geert Groenewegen, Laura Martin, Nicolette Alkemade, Pauline van Eeden, and Deborah Asuni. The Greek teachers are Sofia Tsironi and Euaggelia Dolla. From OSYK we have Mervi Hälinen and Ilona Ruohomäki. For the lights and the sounds, we have technicians Simo Tigerstedt and Indrek Virronen. Together the teams create a beautiful ensemble. This year as we are in Finland the Finns chose the book for the play. It is Salla Simukka’s As Red as Blood. 

On Saturday evening the new participants of the project, the Greeks, arrived in Oulu by train. Excitement in the air, the Finns waited at the train station and helped the travelers and their bags to their hotel. The evening ended with introductions and soon the Greeks left to settle into their rooms.  

On Sunday morning all Finns and Greeks met at the school. We showed them the school and played an introduction game. Afterwards we walked 40 minutes to Nallikari in horrible Finnish weather. Luckily the Greeks didn’t seem to mind it. After having a good time, some of the Finns showed their homes to their exchange students to give them an experience of what a real Finnish home is like.  

In the evening, around 6pm the Dutch arrived at OSYK after a long day of traveling. It was very exciting to meet with the whole group and get to know each other. The Finnish coordinator, Mervi Hälinen, gave a brief introduction to the project and all the teachers introduced themselves. Even the school’s principle gave us a visit! Afterwards all the Dutch and Greek students took photos with their host families in front of the welcome banner. A bit before 7pm, when everyone was done with the photos, we ended the night and sent everybody home.  

On the actual first day of the project, Monday, we got to know each other better and walked around the school and the city. Coincidentally, Monday was also Valentine’s Day, and we did some classic Valentine’s Day activities. Then we began working with our teams. On Tuesday the teams were in full swing at work. In the evening after Tuesday’s rehearsals, we had the National Presentations of each country. There they introduced their country and culture to others. The parents came to support the performers. 

The final, polished performances will be on Wednesday and Thursday 23.2-24.2 in OSYK’s drama hall. Some of the students can come watch during school hours. The families of the participants will hopefully get to see the last performance on Thursday evening, if it doesn’t get cancelled due to COVID-19.  

Text by media team members Aada Jurvansuu and Heta Pesonen
Pictures by the media team