Retrodorm – the coolest student accommodation in Turku

I´m living in Retrodorm, a student accommodation which is near the CityMarket in Kupittaa. It is a student accommodation especially for the exchange students.  In the whole building are living around 90 students from different countries. Armenia, Slovakia, Russia, Czech Republic or Japan; it feels like that from every country of the world someone is living here. On the floor where I live are 17 rooms. We have a shared kitchen, shared shower room and a nice community room.

It´s a nice place for celebrating pre-parties before going in the clubs in Turku. Often you have different opportunities in the building on the same evening. When you want relax, there´s usually a movie night on one floor. Sitting together in one of the community rooms and watching a movie on the big flat screen. On another floor you can play to the same time beer-pong and get prepared for going out in the night. You can decide on your own how you want to spend the evening.

Compared to friends who are living in the Student village I prefer Retrodorm more, because it´s also very familiar. It´s quite easy to find lots of new friends and every floor is like a small own family. When you have some problems or you just want to talk you will always find someone in the kitchen or the community room. The building is next to a small forest so that when you look out from the windows you can often see woodpecker and squirrel in the trees. For people who need a lot of time for his/her self and doesn’t want to have people the most time around them, they should look to other housing possibilities.

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Text and photo: Maximilian Vater

My first experiences in Finland

After my arrival on the port of Turku my tutors picked me up and brought me to my student accommodation. Everything was organized for me; they had the key for my room, my starting package and a lot of tips for me. I was a little bit surprised that everything was so uncomplicated and well organized.

On the next morning me and a girl from my floor decided to go jogging. After 10 km jogging we were standing on a crossroads and we had a small disagreement. She was sure that for the way home we have to turn left. I was sure we have to turn right. I won and we turned right, but we got completely lost. Afterwards we were sure that turning left would have been incorrect too. When we realized that we have no idea how to get home we asked in a car center. The car salesman was very friendly and took us in his office. He printed a way description from google. Maps for us and explained it detailed. After 5 km jogging we reached our dormitory and were really happy.

We were positive surprised that it´s so easy to get help when you have a small problem. I´m not sure if it´s for foreign-language speakers in Germany (my home country) as easy as here to get help so simple. The English language is a lot of more present here compared to Germany. In Finland when you switch on the television, every second channel is in English. In Germany the whole TV program is in German. After staying three month in Turku my experience is that especially older people are speaking better English than in Germany. People over 50 years old often didn´t learn English at school or learned it bad and are scared of speaking it.  So when you ever travel to Germany and you need help, first try it to speak to younger people.

Text: Maximilian Vater

Get Finternational course

The Finternational course helped me improve my interpersonal skills as well as increased my awareness of other cultures, specifically, the Finnish culture. I learned a great deal about the Finns which helped me build realistic expectations about how my interactions with others can be interpreted. That helped me feel comfortable going out in the community. Because of the information I learned during the workshops I understood that Finns may not initiate interaction but they are willing to help if asked. I, prior to the course and also being from Toronto Ontario, Canada, felt I already knew a great deal about other cultures and shared a respect for how others choose to live their lives. I never thought, prior to this course, how different Canadians would be to the Finns even though we share the same passion for hockey and the great outdoors.

Getting involved in the different events that ESN and the Finternational course put together was a very exciting and enlightening endeavor, because I am a fairly reserved person and the different activities forced me to connect with other which I greatly appreciated. The course was very beneficial to me because when I become a manager or hold any position working with people with diverse backgrounds I will take the time to learn the perspectives they may see things. I think it is very important to get involved in activities that will help each other gain a mutual respect and understanding which this finternational course provides. I will always look back on this course with fond memories.

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Exploring Barcelona Spain during the Break

Text and photo: Melissa Airall

Student life in TUAS and Finland

As an exchange student, and coming from Centennial College in Toronto, Canada. I was excited for the opportunity to study in Finland. When I arrived for the fall semester, I was surprised to see the number of ways that students are able to get involved in both the school community and the local community. I participated in several ESN events, “shout to doctor pleasure,” for making sure us exchange students had a blast in St Petersburg one of the many planned trips that ESN has to offer. Great times!!! I made a lot of new friends and had a great time learning and exploring.

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Bottom left is me…. ESN river cruise St. Petersburg RUSSIA

Exploring Finland

I recently took a short trip to Famous Lapland, in Northern Finland. That is where I met Finland´s most famous resident Santa Claus. I never thought I would go to Elf School never mind getting a diploma. Northern Finland was fun, and even though it was MINUS 14 degrees, the people were warm. I had the opportunity to go dog sledding, if you ever get the chance I highly recommend it. I also enjoyed a Reindeer ride, although it didn´t fly…. Lappish food was a very satisfying end to my trip to the North. If you´re up for an adventure, don´t forget to take a trip to Lapland!

blog_airall_melissa2Me  in Santa Village.

Text and photo by: Mellissa Airal

Student life in Turku

My student life in Turku is very nice beyond the description. Because I have never been to abroad before I came here, everything is very excited to me. There are a large number of merits as a student of Turku University of Applied Sciences.

On the plus side I can make friends from all over the world, I can go travelling to other counries of Europe easily, I can participate some interesting events, I can study something, for instance Finnish language, English conversation, and so on. Everything is good!

At first, I would like to explain about my spending time in Turku. When I came Turku first day, I went to my tutor’s house and I had an experience with Finnish sauna. After that we went to the sea near the house and we jumped into the sea over and over again. It was a good memory! Next I participated in some interesting events. For instance, Halloween party which we had to put on some strange clothes, I painted skeleton to my face. See the picture below.

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I also participated in ESN Finland Pirates of the Baltic Sea.This event was really crazy. So everyone was having fun, dancing in the club, singing songs all day. After the crazy time, I hung around Stockholm. It was also nice! I want to go the Stockholm again. In December, I’m going to go to the Lapland to see the northern lights. I’m looking forward to see that! I’ll stay here until end of January, so I want to live fruitful life in Turku until I go back Japan. I’ll miss Turku.

Text and photo: Makoto Chiba