Travel as much as you can. As far as you can. As long as you can.
Life’s not meant to be lived in one place.
Destination 1: Finland – Turku
Arriving in Finland in the beginning of January, -28 °C, a lot of snow and ice and the only five hours of sunlight didn’t really make you feel like travelling. And even the new city, people and especially culture lead to the fact that the focus in this month was to find a new place to call your home for the following five months. Only daily trips to Ruissalo with the mandatory Sauna and ice-swimming and to Naantali painted slightly a picture of how wonderful and unique Finnish nature is.
Even in February the time near the heating with a cup of hot tea was way more seductive than further trips.
As it finally got warmer in March (only -5 degree!), we decided for a first trip.
Destination: a weekend trip to Tallinn – Estonia’s capital, beautiful old town with long history. The city is not that big, so one single day for sightseeing might be enough. But a lot of small and unique shops required quite much time to discover.
After the semester was over by the end of April, there was still one month left for travelling and exploring Finland and its neighbour countries.
As none of us has already turned 21 or had a driving license, the possibility to explore the Finnish nature by car was quite small.
So we decided for longer trips to Russia, Riga and Stockholm – exploring totally different cities, doing a lot of sightseeing and experiencing different cultures.
Text & photos: Stefanie Paul
“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people.”
Studying abroad – you might hear that you will explore a new, maybe foreign country, you might have been told that you will get in contact with a new culture – the culture of the country you may call your new home.
I experienced the same when I decided for a semester abroad. But when I finally arrived in Finland I realized that it is way more than this. New country, new people, new language, new habits – During my time abroad I lived in the Student Village and had the possibility to share the floor with eight other girls – each of us with a different cultural background – a great opportunity to share each’s interests, passions and traditions. Long evenings, several international dinners and a few jam sessions and of course the mandatory German and Korean language survival courses.
My highlight during my time abroad was Easter. Used to yearly Easter celebration with traditional Easter fire, colouring and hiding Easter eggs and the traditional Easter meal, an Austrian girl and me (German exchange student) realized sadly that this year is going to be different as only two of our floor mates were celebrating Easter. After a few discussions, we decided to celebrate and to bring some Austrian and German tradition to Finland though the others didn’t know why and how to celebrate Easter.
Starting with the mandatory potatoes, spinach and eggs on Thursday and the preparations for the Easter cake on Saturday, the others were quite curious what “these German speaking people” where doing. So we decided to include them into our Easter preparations. It was a pleasure to see when they were colouring eggs for the very first time and how happy they were when they found their first hidden chocolate egg. The food from all over the world and a quite spontaneous jam-session made the Easter celebration abroad perfect – even, not everybody normally celebrates Easter.
Text & photos: Stefanie Paul