They say that Finns are cold, introvert and even rude. Even though, there’s a grain of truth in every lie but let’s find out what they really are. If you want to know what I have noticed after being in Finland, take a cup of coffee and read. No, tea isn’t an option. It’s Finland, it’s coffee. Do you want to be keep it real or not?
For me, the Finnish are just like the country they have been born in. At first, you think that it is a cold, gloomy and unfriendly place. Bu then, you realise that you don’t know much about Finland. It is nowhere near as popular as the States, France or pretty much any other well-known country. However, it is mysterious and you’ve decided to come here. Why? Because it doesn’t need any advertisements. Finland is beautiful because it is wild, it is natural and it is mystical. And you may say the same about its citizens. They are not wild, though. Could you please read between the lines? I mean that they don’t need to pretend, to chit chat about the weather so you would consider them nice. They always help, they always care, they always respect. The Finnish just don’t mention it.
Proof? Finns wear reflectors all the time. On their handbags, backpacks and even put them on their puppies’ collars. Because it is safe. It is safe for them as pedestrians but they also respect others. Like car drivers who may struggle with complete darkness on the road. More? Everyone here speaks English. Everyone. Even a very old lady that sells potatoes on the market. Because Finnish is hard and they respect that you may not know it. More? Even if you go to the cafeteria, everything is clean, if a sign says: You are allowed to take 3 pieces of orange, they will take 3 pieces. Because they respect the rules and they take into consideration other people as well as their comfort and their needs. They will not say a word to you but they will never neglect your existence nor well-being.
So if you ever think of Finns as the rude please remember that they are doers. And they have sisu.
Text & photo: Kinga Rudnicka
The worst day of the week.
Monday. Everybody hates Mondays. If you don’t hate it you might be a workaholic or you have some issues. Let me tell you a little bit about the worst day of the week in Turku, Finland. I wake up around 9 am and I wonder how it is possible that in Finland the gravity is stronger than anywhere else in the world. Especially in bed.
I get up because I’m hungry. I have only an hour to prepare breakfast so I end up eating scrambled eggs with toasts, tea and a banana milkshake. I sit and look through the window at the forest covered in snow. This is going to be a rough day, isn’t it? Then I go to the classes, the bus goes every ten minutes so it is impossible to be late. How to live in such world?
Classes are short but interesting, lots of important information so no time to check on Facebook. I am hungry again and it’s lunch time – I go to my favourite cafeteria called Assarin ullakko where at a reasonable price I can eat a very big meal containing meat, few types of vegetables, bread, milk, juice, sauce and other condiments. Good bye slim figure.
Then I walk my Finnish dog-friend Roni as a part time job. Also I can practice some Finnish with him. Well…mostly commands like ‘sit’ but it is something. After one hour it is time to go to yoga classes that I end with going to sauna. Sitting in sauna helps me think so I go back to thinking about the most hated day of the week. If I have survived sleeping a lot, eating a lot, meeting great people and participating in all those interesting classes and activities maybe, just maybe, the rest of the week will be only better?
Text & photo: Kinga Rudnicka
Optima. Everything starts and ends with Optima.
The main difference between my university (Lodz University of Technology, Poland) and Turku University of Applied Sciences is that somehow nobody in Poland thought of introducing Optima to students. Optima is an internet service that provides the students with all necessary materials. You just need to be enrolled into the course by the teacher of the particular subject and that’s it. Whether you are sick or simply cannot participate in the lecture, you don’t miss much since everything is in Optima.
Every presentation, additional materials, links to some extra pages and much more. Also you can upload your homework there and the teacher may comment it whenever he sees it fit and without you going to office hours every week. Have I mentioned that you can even ask questions and you will get the answer before the next class?
Oh, and I recommend enrolling to Get Finternational course. Even if you don’t want to get more familiar with the Finnish culture (that isn’t very likely), with Optima you will know about every activity for Erasmus students like baking a blueberry pie or language groups. For free. Without following each and every fun-page on Facebook because you may not have an account (yes, those people are real, too).
The drawback is that it looks a little bit like webpages in the 90’ies. Maybe having big fancy ICT-City with many computer science students could be an opportunity to some sort of….change it?
To conclude, I know that many of my folks from the previous years described my university in different ways taking weather, timetables, classrooms and colours of walls into account but for me this is the main difference. Because it says a lot about both universities. One of them is student-friendly, takes care of its students’ comfort of studying, allows them to practice, revise the material and study anytime they need; it emphasizes the atmosphere and the learning environment rather than the sheer knowledge. Guess which one is it?
Text & photo: Kinga Rudnicka