The truth about Finnish people

In my opinion, Finns are among the most polite, friendly and helpful people in Europe, although they are a little bit more introverted. Finns are very active people, in consumption of everything that their country has to offer. All the Finns I met so far, during my exchange stay, are very sportive and outgoing. People are keenly readers, a fact that probably explains the fact that they have many libraries, well stocked with foreign and local books and newspapers. I went quite often to the huge library in the city center and 8 out of 10 times, it was overcrowded there. Finns are usually sparing with words and do not value small talk that much; therefore, verbal promises are usually taken very seriously.

I think Finns believe firmly that each person is entitled to their own space and privacy. This can often appear unfriendly during the first communication with a Finn. However, once the ice is broken, they are open-minded, friendly and warm.

Two weeks ago, I tried to book a cottage for the Christmas time in Lapland. I found a private offer on the internet with a good price. The problem was, the entire website was in finnish and I was not able to understand anything. Therefore, I asked a finnish student at the library at Lemminkäisenkatu campus and asked him if he can translate it for me. He was very kind, translated the entire website for me, and said that he has a better option for a cottage in Lapland and asked for my email address. Few days later, I got an email of a cottage owner from Enontekiö. He wrote me, that a friend of his son told him, that I am looking for a cottage over Christmas time and he sent me a good offer. That was very nice and I did not expect this!Chris33Text & picture: Christian Masberger

Differences between TUAS and your home institution

Due to the fact, that TUAS is located in Finland and the Kufstein University of Applied Sciences is located in Austria, there are several differences between these two Universities of Applied Sciences. First of all the location itself. My home university is directly in the Austrian Alps. If you go out the building, you see mountains all around. TUAS is more like directly in the city. Another difference is the timetable of the courses. In Austria, I am used to have two full days a week and one half a day of lectures. At TUAS I have almost every day, some lectures, but only for 2 or 3 hours per day. I prefer the system at my home university more, because in this case I have more free days a week and I do not have to go to university every day. In Turku, it takes me at least 30 minutes by bus to go to university.

Finnish course learning think tank.

Finnish course learning think tank.

Furthermore, the style of lectures is slightly different between these two universities. At home, we have a 50/50 split of group works and teaching lessons. At TUAS, it is quite common to have many group works, in some courses more than teaching lessons. I like this point, because this is a good opportunity to get in touch with the other students very easily and fast. In Kufstein, we have an exam in every course, additional many assignments and group works. That means a lot of work during the semester. The workload at TUAS is slightly less. In most of my chosen courses, I have no exams, only some individual assignments and group works. That is a student heaven for people like me, who do not like exams!

In addition, the best thing at TUAS is the informal climate between students and teachers. It seems that the teachers are interested in the students and they always try to work together. There is no hierarchy visible.

Text & photo: Christian Masberger

Drinking a lot of milk, crazy championships & stunning nature

Chris1Servus (Bavarian term to say hi), my name is Chris and I am from the southeast of Germany. I am studying Sport-, Culture- & Event management in Kufstein, Austria. Kufstein is a small city surrounded by mountains and lakes. Right now, I am part of the ERASMUS-Exchange program between the Kufstein University of Applied Sciences and the Turku University of Applied Sciences.

Honestly, I did not come to Finland with any bigger expectations because I could not predict anything. I saw nice pictures of the winter in Finland but I knew it might not be the same in fall in Turku. However, I did not raise expectations for the sake of not being too manipulated in my thinking and feeling of the different country with a different culture.

After the acceptation of TUAS I prepared myself for Finland with googling the weather (I thought that is important for the estimation of cloth-thickness), the type of people, joined some Facebook exchange groups to get information about accommodations, trips, etc. The first thing I have noticed was the huge amount of rumors about the “shyness” of Finnish people. At first glance, it was completely true, but after a while, I recognized that Finnish people are not shyer as every other people in the world.

I never drunk so much milk before in my life. At the Mensa in our campus, you always get a free class of milk to your meal. At first, I thought that is an offer for a few people, but it appears that almost everyone is drinking milk. Even I am drinking milk every day now. Another curiosity is that Finns love to make championships out of ludicrous things such as throwing mobile phones as far as possible or playing air-guitar.

However, the most impressing thing I have seen so far was the stunning Finnish nature! I think, within 20 minutes by car every Finn is directly in the nature, except Helsinki maybe. I already spent some time at different spots at the cost of Turku, like Erikvalla, Ruissalo and Naantali.

Overall, the first impressions of Finland are amazing and I do not waste much thought on Bavaria.

Text & photo: Christian Masberger