One of the reasons that I was excited to go to Finland was to experience a different country and culture. I didn’t know much about the culture here so I decided to take the Finternational course instead of the language course. I believed I got more out of learning about the culture then the language. Also because I was in clinical placement so I figured I would understand my colleagues and patient better if I understood their culture. It turns out I was right. The Finnish course started a couple of weeks after I arrived here. Till then I heard only a few things about the culture and the stereotypical people here. I was told the Finnish are introvert, on their own, and very punctual. They also said that Finnish people are not likely to invite people and I have to invite myself – that’s totally normal which for me is very impolite. The Finternational course was really helpful with understanding the culture here and cultures in general. I must say that in the beginning I had some awkward moments when talking to colleagues. For example when there were sudden silences. For them it was normal, for me it was awkward. The courses and the passport there were really nice events and colleges. It helped with experience typical Finnish events and to get to know other cultures. A very nice event was the blueberry pie baking. Berries are very typical for Finland so it was nice to make a cake with berries. At the end of the course I need to write a final report where I talk about the culture differences in my home country and Finland. In order to write the final report, I need to have all the stamps in my passport.
Text and photos by Danielle Matser
I’ve been travelling a lot in Finland since I arrived here. I’ve been to Helsinki a couple of times, to visit the city and to transit. I’ve also been to Lapland by bus. I travelled to Helsinki by Onnibus and by train. Both ways have an equal duration, but the bus is usually cheaper. Another possibility is by car, but that is the most expensive option. If a ticket by bus is booked some time beforehand, it can be just 5 euros back and forth. I usually paid around 15 euros. Whether a train ticket is around 21 euros, only for one way. Sometimes the train has a student deal; then it’s possible to travel for only 15 euros return. Both the bus and the train have free Wi-Fi and the travel comfort is high. The tickets for the bus and train can be booked with a credit card. The Onnibus leaves at 3 places in Turku, you can pick where you want to depart during booking. The Onnibus arrives right in the center of Helsinki. From there, everything is reachable by foot. For greater distances there are busses and trams.
The train departs also in Turku, from either the main station or Kupittaa. The stations can be easily reached by bus. The train also arrives in the center of Helsinki. This are two easy options to go to Helsinki.
So about the way to Lapland. I travelled by bus. There’s also a possibility to travel by train and airplane, but I don’t have experience with those. The bus was the cheapest option – because we went with a large group. The bus drove us through the night, so we had the possibility to sleep in the bus. This is not very comfortable, there are a lot of noises around and let face it: your sitting instead of lying down. An advantage of driving through the night is that there is no day wasted for travelling. It may not be very comfortable, but driving through the night is the best option. Either with bus or train.
Text by Danielle Matser