ESN consistently holds events for exchange students to go to, that allows them to get active and take part in activities that let them meet other exchange students but also interact more with Finnish culture. About two weeks ago I took part in an ESN event to go ice skating at a local arena.
Even though I didn’t have skates with me I was able to rent skates for €5 and entry was only €1, so it was an extremely affordable price for hours of ice skating.
After I got laced up and wobbled my way to the ice, I discovered it was this wonderful outdoor rink with stadium lights all around it. Although it took me awhile to get acclimated on the ice it was great to see most of the other exchange students were having a similar problem. As we (mostly) all skittered around the ice we were surrounded by Finnish families teaching their children to skate, some what appeared to be figure skaters who were practicing their incredible turns, and on the other side of the rink a game of pick up hockey being played.
At first we all just skated around the rink, practicing stopping, but once some more exchange students came and we all started skating pretty well some people organized games to play like (ice) tag and other games. The games were a lot of fun to play – they reminded of when I was a kid. Eventually it started snowing which added to beauty of a night time skate. We ended up skating for a few hours, and when we were tired we could sit in the bench and watch the game of ice hockey being played
and see the little kids practice their skating alongside us adults – whom they seemed to be better than most at skating!!
All in all it was a wonderful experience that allowed us to get out and get active while partaking in a truly Finnish custom of ice skating. But also it allowed us to interact within the Finnish community and meet some nice Finnish people.
Text and photo: Hannah Rombough