The third Monday trip with the Norwegian class included some exercises to improve our navigation skills, and also keep on building up the group dynamics, as we still are rather unfamiliar to each other being a group of around 40 students.
As last Monday, groups of five people were formed and the first task was quite basic orienteering. This was something that we had to do back in primary -and secondary schools, but the maps were easier and the the area we would orienteer in, familiar. So this was actually a lot more difficult, but luckily we had had a few classes about navigation, so this was a good practise for putting the theory into action. Further, we had a few more experienced map readers in our group, who would provide some support to other group members including myself.
The task was to find six posts. Each of the posts included a map symbol, and recognizing the symbols was a part of the overall competition. As an improvement suggestion for the organizers is that as there are inexperienced and experienced map readers, some rules for the competition would be formed, like: each group member would have to take a lead from one post to another. This way the inexperienced map readers would be guaranteed to have some exercise in reading the map, and leading the group.
After the orienteering, and a lunch break, the competition continued with some more competitive tasks. Majority of the tasks were also navigation related, like trying to turn blindfolded towards designated compass points, and connecting as many map symbols and meanings for them as possible.
Further, a relay with “four in a row” was played between two teams, which was well thought as the other tasks (after orienteering) were relatively passive, and people would get cold. Finally, the “fun” part was when one of the tasks included some spinning around the stick, which is very popular in Finland, and is called “tukkihumala”=”log intoxication”.
In overall the day was both fun and educational. I think some tasks could have included some compass work, and maybe some quiz of the keypoints of navigation. On the other hand, the hours of the day are limited, and the tasks were versitile already. An improvement idea for the Norwegian veieleders (guides) as in the organizers, is to keep on speaking English throughout the instruction giving, because each of the groups included international students, and at times it was somewhat confusing when they would speak Norwegian in between the instructions.