My brand new home !

Retrodorm 

I had the luck to get a place in the Retrodorm, an old nursery home and now the home of a crowd of exchange students, divided onto the three wings and their floors and in the middle of a little idyllic forest with great stone formations in the backyard and lots of parties, especially birthday parties all around, where I got a small culture shock as one, after we kidnapped him and carried him in the wrong direction, actually gifted a package of ham which was taken in happiness. Well played, these little things, that you did not know could happen.

Next to finding someone to party with it’s also easy to find people that want to do sports, which there are a big variety of available sports in all forms, mainly organized by a student organization and as cheap as it can get for a lot to do all week long. The Taekwondo trainer, a black belt with his share of funny stories to tell about tournaments around the world, is there every week to sweat and kick high and he is all out of sweat.

What else is to find here is a weekly tradition of someone burning their food and waking the whole Retrodorm from its siesta by activating the fire alarm which has to been made by a dj considering the rhythms it plays in the upper floors. Always a great get together since everyone comes down and has time to chat a bit, until the firefighter troops come and click the redeeming button.

And if there is no fire in the buildings, it was in the fingers after the greeting of the snow with a snowball fight around the dorm and a snowman that greeted students every morning with a crooked grin. And if that is not enough, going to sauna in the Student Village and swimming in the snow, making naked snow angels is one hell of an experience (in a good way).

 

 

Written by –  Till Pohland

So it begins

Journey

Being in Turku is nice, but the northern side of the Baltic Sea has also a lot more to experience. And it does not have to be one of the capitals. We rented a car with three people and drove through the lake plate of Finland, living in cottages and apartments that we found.

The first one was a cottage located in a big forest, as there is an uncountable amount of in Finland, hidden at the end of a long mossy path and directly at a lake. We even found a small paddleboat and after being amazed long enough by the interior of the cottage, we set sails and paddled to the middle of the lake to a little vacuum of silence in midst a circle of cottages, shined on by the setting sun.

Until we detected the small hole in the boat that slowly filled it with water… And after some parking maneuvers and fights with the jetty, we could enjoy the warmth of a preheated home, an experimental meal and finally, the sauna we had been waiting for!

To give a little tip to everyone that didn’t yet ran down a small hill and jumped into a lake full of algae, wear flip-flops! It is this fantastic sauna feeling of being able to wander around naked with a temperature of minus degrees Celsius, but the feet feel like the pipe where all the warmth flees from your body. Flip-flops are the saviors in your preferred color.

So, if you have flip-flops on, walking through the fresh air outside, counting the stars and trying not to be scared of the friggin’ monster below the jetty, where it’s algae arms look out from, so jumping in and it resulting in the best thing you could have done, the sauna is absolutely amazing.

We actually also found a dartboard to try our skills.

During the following dayswe found our way to a lot of things that are all signed out as cultural sites right at the big streets, awesome for tourism by car. A castle, an old fort, a tower to see an amazing view from and our goal, the Ukko-Koli, one of the small mountains of Finland, from which we could see a giant lake with a lot of different islands in. Ukko means grandfather and he is also one of the old Finish gods, the god of the sky (and a bit more). And from Ukko-Koli I could understand why they named the mountain after him

Written by : Till Pohland

Student life in Turku

Arrival and beginning

So, arriving in Turku and being completely without plan, the best thing there can be is a tutor that becomes a friend even before the arrival via chat, then picks you up at the airport and shows you how the new city works. Here a photo of him and his girlfriend visiting me 😀 thanks to you two!

I was in Turku very early and first on a hostel on an old ship which was a bit dark, but provided sunsets which I can just compare with the most beautiful I have seen. And that almost daily, which was the most confusing, since I just knew them as rare surprises.

 

So, as it normally is, everything is a bit chaotic when arriving at a new university and everyone has to figure out how things work. According to my experience everything has to get into the new rhythm of university time, but in the “Turku University of Applied Sciences”, where I study, the first lessons were surprisingly structured and gave informative input which really helped me finding my way into their system and management.

On the other hand, though, be prepared for a maybe very new system here. Sometimes you get tasks every week, but mostly you will have to motivate and discipline yourself to get the work done which is really an individual thing. But don’t give up too fast! I learned a lot from doing my own things here while getting minimal input, your own interests can be the stone here, on w
hich you can found further experience.

 

Written by –  Till Pohland