Health care in Turku

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The view of icicles from the TYKS cafeteria in the winter

I thought I would write something a little different for this post. As I am a health care student training to be a Radiographer I have been spending some time within the hospital in Turku during my ERASMUS programme, so am going to reflect  on my interpretation of the healthcare in Finland.

Firstly, the healthcare and hospitals in Finland is impressive! Given the small population, the Finnish are very privileged to have such fantastic care available to them. I understand that the investments in the latest technology, equipment and infrastructure is made possible by the finances gained through large taxes. I do believe that the money is well spent and there is a health service in operation that Turku should be proud of.

Turun yliopistollinen keskussairaala (TYKS) (Turku University Hospital) is where I spent most of my practical training and observation. It caters for southwest Finland and is a large teaching hospital that accepts student from all over the world to enhance their healthcare education. I felt that the hospital had a very innovative and creative vibe with the design of it very practical, such as colour controlled lights above the parking spaces to indicate if the space is free or not. I cannot speak for other departments but the radiography department was very well designed with commonly associated modalities situated close together to avoid the patient travelling far such as the computed tomography (CT) scanner located next to the emergency assessment room, enabling best care of a trauma patient. I also noticed that new technologies, drugs and techniques were in researching stages or testing. Upon speaking to some members of staff they said that the hospital is often visited by representatives from companies from all over the world who pitch products or techniques. I saw this in action when I was observing surgery of a brain stent, where a representative from England was presenting his latest product for the particular condition.

In conclusion I thoroughly enjoyed my time in TYKS and wish other health care students that spend time there all the best in their practical training.

Text & photo: Grace Parsons

Curiosities of Finnish people

Being an outspoken and outgoing teenager from England I found the Finnish people most curious at first. There is definitely a uniqueness to the Finnish behaviour and it was interesting to test the stereotypes that I had been told to expect. I found the people fascinating and I will briefly discuss my experiences in this post.

The most accurate stereotype I found was that Finnish people are shy. As I live in a small English countryside town at home it is commonplace to say hello to passersby and interact with strangers in public. This is not commonplace behaviour in Finland! There is a humorous awkwardness to public social interaction, however when you push past this issue and get to know a Finnish person they become very different and friendly. It must be noted that the shy behaviour is not actioned in the nightclubs, quite the opposite in fact!

Another stereotype is that the Finns value honesty. I found this to be true also, behaviourally and conversationally. When in conversation with a Finn they are very direct with their responses to questions and factual, when other cultures may tend to be more indirect and ellaborative. They are also very trusting, for example with their processions, such as hanging your jacket in a public cloakroom or leaving your bike outside a shop unchained. It is endearing that this respect exists within the community and I felt very safe in Turku.

There was a particular Finnish tradition that I really enjoyed, the sauna! I was keen to experience the sauna the Finnish way (sauna followed by ice dipping) and once

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Sauna the Finnish way

I had overcome the first ice dip, I realised that I loved it! The dramatic change in body temperature is an exhilarating feeling and I also really liked the social aspect of it as I mainly visited large public saunas. One stereotype I had been warned of was that the Fins like to sauna naked! Luckily the place I went did not require this exposure!

So, to any future students, the Finnish people are indeed curious, but do not be afraid. If you act with respect and get to know them they are fantastic people who will want you to make the most of your Finland experience. Also, be sure to make a trip to the sauna, you will not regret it!

Text & photo: Grace Parsons

Travelling in Finland

Although my time in Finland was fairly short, I tried to explore as much of the Turku city and country as possible. In this post I will share my travelling experiences and highlights.

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Locals participating in Sauna on Ruissalo

My exchange destination was Turku, Finland. I found Turku to be a beautiful city with a lot of sights to be admired, cafes and restaurants to be tested and activities to participate in, and an impressive amount to do considering the places small size! Highlights of my exploration included Turku Castle, particularly the opportunity to try on traditional medieval dress and relax with a coffee and a good book in Turku city library.

I made use of the comprehensive bus network to travel Naantali and Ruissalo, places of Baltic sea beauty. On Ruissalo I experienced the sauna and Baltic sea dip, the finnish way of course, and also visited the botanical gardens. In Naantali, I enjoyed a walk around the town, which had been freshly blanketed with snow, a trip to Moomin world and lunch in one of the water side restaurants.

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Kiasma- Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki

I also took a day trip to Helsinki by bus. I found the capital city to have a creative and trendy vibe with the merge of traditional and modern architecture. My favourite part of the day had to be visiting Kiasma- Museum of Contemporary art, where you could exercise an open mind and artistic interpretation. The Sibelius monument in dedication to the Finnish composer was also an interesting and worthwhile view.

Lastly, a week in the incredible Lapland was had. To make the sixteen hour long trip by coach to Saariselkä, was a daunting prospect, however it was considerably better than expected and the experiences in Lapland made it completely worth the journey. Kemi snow castle was a stop on the journey, and was a magical ice masterpiece. In Saariselkä I participated in the activities of downhill skiing in the breathtaking ski resort, reindeer farm, snow shoe trek and my favourite of all, the husky dog safari. With the days being so busy, relaxing in our traditional wooden cottage complete with sauna and log burner in the evening was cosy and relaxing.

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Husky Safari, Lapland

So if you visit Turku, there is plenty to do within and outside the city and make the most of the beautiful country and travelling opportunities!

Text & photo: Grace Parsons