Upon arrival in Turku, I was unsure as what Finns do in their spare time. Naively, I thought due to the snow and cold temperatures we would be limited in what we could do to unwind from our studies – but I was wrong!
Our Erasmus organisation, “Erasmus Student Network” “(ESN) have been fantastic in planning things for us to do during our time here. Within the first two weeks of arrival I was introduced to “ice swimming”, a very popular past time in Finland. I did this at the island of Ruissalo, and it basically involves sitting in a roasting sauna for around 15 minutes, and then running into a Baltic lake, whilst attempting to swim in the freezing temperatures! I think my group made a good attempt here, as we managed to do it more than once! This is a really good free time activity as not only is it super fun (you receive a “Winter Swimming Diploma” after completion) , it is also a great opportunity to chat to some of the locals in the Sauna also.
Ice swimming also came with some beautiful views!
I really like how unique the free time activities are here. During the “Cottage Weekend” organised by ESN, I also attended my first traditional Sitz Party. This a dinner party with a twist – as there are a lot of rules you have to adhere to, for example you aren’t allowed to go to the toilet. Failure to follow these rules can result in a punishment by the hosts of the party, which was hilarious to watch as it many of the punishments were carried out on my friends.
To sum up, Erasmus in Finland is perfect for those who want to experience something they have never did before and will probably never have the chance to do so again!