WorldView: A Language Blog

WorldView is a place for leaders in the fields of language education, global citizenship, immersion learning and other topics central to the Concordia Language Villages mission to address issues important to their fields.

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Courageous Conversations: Returning to Helena and Britta

By Emily Kajsa Pyenson | Published: October 16, 2018

Last summer, Helena and Britta, two staff members from Sjölunden, the Swedish Language Village, wrote a blog post about their friendship which bridges the political spectrum.  This is clearly a timely topic, as that blog post has gone on to become the most shared post on The WorldView Blog. 

As the dean of the Swedish summer youth programs, I have had the pleasure of working with these talented writers over many summers.  I see the value that they bring to the program in the thoughtful lessons that they teach and the memorable activities that they lead.  But beyond the daily running of the program, Helena and Britta contribute to something less tangible but equally important: an atmosphere that welcomes and encourages difficult discussions.  It’s vital that our staff members be willing to address challenging and important topics so that they can guide our young participants in learning to engage in these kinds of dialogues.  Having staff members of different backgrounds and with different perspectives is essential and I am grateful to Helena and Britta for their willingness to engage on this and other important topics as courageous global citizens.

As tends to happen, Helena and Britta are both embarking on exciting new projects and positions in their lives.  They were only able to spend a short time at the village this summer.  When we were together, we sat down for a discussion about their friendship, their popular blog post, and what we all can learn about having courageous conversations. 

Every friendship also includes shared memories and some good laughs. We challenged Helena and Britta to an on-camera interview game. See the results in this fun clip.

About the Contributors

Helena and Britta at Sjolunden
Helena, left, and Britta, right.

Linnea Helena Peterson is a young professional working in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is her fourth year on staff at Sjölunden, where she was also a ten-year villager, as well as her first year on staff at El Lago del Bosque. She is fluent in English and proficient in Swedish and Spanish. 

Erika Britta Cook spent three summers as a villager and four as a staff member, and claims a home at both Sjölunden and Mori no Ike. She now lives and works in western North Dakota.

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