My life in Turku

My days as a student are quite long. I’m doing my internship here for 4 days a week, from tuesday till friday. The alarm clock rings at 6 o’clock, so pretty early to wake up (in my opinion). Most of the days I don’t want to go outside my bed, because it’s cold in my room. But…I have to. After eating my breakfast I make my lunch. So I can take my lunch with me to my clinical placement.
We have different hospitals were we’re doing our practicing. So depending on which hospital I have to be, I will walk or I will take the bus. 2 of the hospitals are nearby and the other is a little bit further away from Retrodorm. When I take the bus I meet up with the other students (also from the Netherlands and doing their practicing here) at the busstation. First we take the bus to ‘Kauppatori’ and then we take the bus to the hospital. After 30 minutes of traveling I’m at the (TYKS)hospital.

Every week we have another department were I’m doing my practicing. So till now I’ve been at the radiation therapy, the MRI and the Emergency Care CT & X-rays.
The days are very different. At the MRI and radiation therapy you have patients during the whole day. When I was at the Emergency Care it was so different. Sometimes the days or a few hours were really busy and sometimes there were only a few patients during the whole day. This is so different in comparison with the Netherlands. Because we get a call when there’s an Emergency and then we need to go to that department. Here is a special group, 24 hours 7 days, who are working here. Sometimes the days are quite boring.

Beside my practicing days I have to work for school, because I have a lot of assignments, presentations, demonstrations and other thing I need to do. I’m also doing two extra courses, ‘Get Finternational’ and ‘Finnish for Exchange Students’. These courses are after worktime on tuesday and wednesday.

So my tuesday and wednesday are quite similar, first I have to work from 8.00 till 15.30 and then I have school from 16.15 till 18.00. These days are quite long and sometimes the lessons are hard to follow. For the ‘Get Finternational’ course I need to do 3 workshops (lectures & workshops), 3 Get Finternational activities (like language classes or writing a blog) and I have to do 2 other activities from ESN (like HAM, Hang Around Mondays).

But that’s not everything I’m doing here 😉 I’m in my last year of my study and I have to make my thesis. So I have to follow, as much as possible, lecture from my own school in the Netherlands (Fontys, Eindhoven). And I have to write my thesis for a part here in Finland. So my days are really busy.

Don’t forget to enjoy your time, have a lot of fun, travel as much as you can and off van_Dijk_Blog 3_picture1course do something for your courses here 🙂
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog!



Text an photo: Sofie van Dijk

Exploring Finland

This is the second time I’m in Finland right now. The first time I visited my sister (2 years ago), who was studying ‘nursing’ in Salo for 6 months. The first time I was here was really different in comparison with the second time. The first time was in October and was a little bit warmer than it is now, the second time.

I’m happy that I’m back in Finland and that I can see a totally different Finland. Because there’s a lot of snow, ice and really cold weather. I have seen a lot of new, beautiful and different places, during the 1 month I’m here. We visited Helsinki and Tallinn in one weekend, it was really nice. I’ve seen this cities before, but it is so different now with snow! So I’m glad that I had the opportunity to go back to these cities.

After our practicing we took the train to Helsinki, to take the night ferry to Tallinn. Tallinn is a beautiful place in Estonia. It’s like 2,5 hours by ferry from Helsinki. We spend 1 day in the old city of Tallinn and 1 day in Helsinki. In Helsinki we spend most of the time on Suomenlinna. This is a beautiful island near by Helsinki.

During my staying here I’ ve seen a lot of beautiful places. We had a tour through Turku, van_Dijk_Blog 2_picture1were we’ ve seen the cathedral, the river, the shopping center (‘Kauppatori’) and the hospitals were we are doing our internship.
We’ ve also been to Ruissalo, this was so beautiful! The sun was shining so it wasn’t that cold anymore, but the lake was completly frozen. We made some great pictures and walked on the lake. If you’ re in Turku or nearby Turku, go to this place.

Our tutor, from the study, had a suprise for us. We were going to Kaarina. There was an van_Dijk_Blog 2_picture2old castle that they broke down, so now it was a ruin. Behind the ruin was the ocean. It was so beautiful, the ocean was totally frozen and there was a lot of snow. She had some Finnish specialties with her and we had a little picnic. The Finnish specialties were ‘korvapuusti’ (Kind of bread with cinnamon), ‘Joulupiparit’ (also known as ginger bread) and ‘Selja-mehu’ (kind of tea made of flowers).

If you are coming to Turku, there are a lot of beautiful places to see. And they are really different with or without snow! And if you are lucky…you have tutors who takes you to some places you would never come.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog!

Text and photos: Sofie van Dijk

Student life at Retrodorm

I arrived on the 3th of January, together with my friend Eileen. We spoke to our tutors on facebook. We arranged that they would pick us up from the airport in Turku. When I arrived in Turku I was really excited about the adventure, our room and our tutors. Eileen her suitcase was lost, so OUR TUTORS  waited for us for a long time. Katja and Alexandra are our tutors and they are really NICE .They brought us, by car, to Retrodorm and showed us our rooms. They arranged everything pretty well. They picked up our starting package, mobile phone number (with Finnish number) and they got us bedsheets, because these weren’t in the starting package.

We (Eileen and I) have a double room (shared apartment with two lockable rooms, shared hallway and toilet). The floor we live on has 17 rooms, with one shared kitchen, one shared shower (with 2 showers), one laundry room and a common area.

The first days in Retrodorm were awesome! We had different kind of evenings, like playing poker, movie nights and a lot of different games like ‘ who am I?’ and card games.

It was really nice to have a small group of people, because then you get to know each other. We went with a lot of  friends from Retrodorm to the welcome-party at  ‘Börs’. This was a really great evening, with a lot of fun, dancing and singing!

Retrodorm is a really nice place to live, because there are a lot of different nationalities, van_Dijk_Blog 1_picture1cultures, studies and different kind of people. Everybody is trying to do their best with speaking English, because most people will understand this language.
Everyone has their own habits, only a few people are cooking dinner, some of them only eat rice and some other people are always eating cheese, yoghurt and a bottle of wine.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog!



Text and photo: Sofie van Dijk

Ruissalo visit

Ruissalo is an island in the Archipelago Sea and a district of the city of Turku, Finland. The island is located to the south-west of the city, between Hirvensalo and Pansio in the mainland. One of the largest old oak forests in Finland is situated in the island and many parts of it are included in nature conservation programs. In the most western part of the island there is a spa and a camping area. Turku golf course is situated also here. The Botanical garden of University of Turku is situated in the middle of the island. Near the southern tip of the western part of the island is a small, unofficial nude beach. The island is probably most famous as the venue of the annual rock festival Ruisrock.

I went to Ruissalo on a beautiful day with some friends from Retrodorm. There was snow everywhere, a clear-blue sky and very sunny weather. We went by bus to the city center, where we toHemskerk_Blog3_pic1ok the next bus to Ruissalo.  See the map below what Ruissalo looks like, and what road we had to take, to get there (Start is at point A, destination is point B). Of course we had already a lot of fun in the bus and chatted a lot. Although the bus drivers are driving crazy, we made it there…..eventually. The bus was going so fast (especially when you think of the amount of snow on the road) that we actually flew for a second because we were hitting some speed bumps. Furthermore the bus hit some pavement edges on the way there. It was like a roller coaster trip.


When we arrived in Ruissalo it was really beautiful with lots of forest. The sun was shining through the trees, what made it even more amazing then it already was. From the bus stop we had to walk about 4 minutes to the beach. The beach was all frozen and so was the Archipelago Sea. It was gorgeous to see, because the sun reflected on the snow and ice. I was stunning to see how people actually were jumping in the ice-water (after they’ve been in the sauna), while there was a really thick layer of ice. There was a hole in the ice by the end of the landing-stage, where you could even see the current! There were a lot of people on the ice too, who made pictures, so we could easily ask someone to take a photo of us, which we did of course. We had so much fun that day, made a lot of silly and laughing pictures, and made jumps and handstands. After we walked on the ice for a while, we decided to go back. Thank you for reading!Hemskerk_Blog3_pic3

Text and photos: Eileen van Heemskerk

My Finnish Sauna experience

After I spent a week in Turku (Retrodorm), I had met some great people.
We went with a small group to the finnish sauna, not really far from the dormroom.
We walked to the busstop, were we had to take bus 18.

It took a while for the bus to come, what made the waiting very cold. And we had to go outside in our swimmingsuites! luckily we had a lot of fun during waiting already, cause we sang and danced to stay warm.

When we arrived to the sauna, i found out that you only have to pay for the key of your locker in the lockerroom to put your clothes in. (€2,50). In my country, the Netherlands, we have to pay an amount around the €30 to get to the sauna. But it is a very different experience here. I know sauna as an luxury that you have to save for. Here  in Finland it is normal and it might be weird if you don´t have a sauna. Almost all the Finnish people I met have a sauna at home.

Once we switched our key (we got a key for the boys lockerroom) and changed our clothes we went in to the sauna. It is just only a sauna, (not a whole building with a sauna in it) where a lot of people are. On the upper bench it is the warmest, and on the bottom it is a little bit colder but still very hot! every one was going up right away, while i stayed as low as possible trying to not pass out of the heat. I was not used to it. Once i couldn´t stand the heat anymore, we went out of the sauna. We were ment to jump in the Baltic sea right away, but it takes a courage to jump in such cold water. so i freaked out. I was scared, I felt the coldness of the wooden and iron walkingpaths, and when I was at the water I wanted to feel the coldness too. I should not have done that. I thought ‘ OK, i came this far, now i just have to jump, that’s all’. So I did, …eventually. After the jump I couldn’t feel my feet anymore, so we went straight back into the sauna. Every one was so excited, while we were all thinking the same; why on earth do Finnish people do this for fun and especially more often? I was so proud of myself that I did jump in the Baltic sea, when it was so cold (-7) in my bikini! I was like: If I can do this, I can do everything! Untill I realized, no one is going to believe me when I just tell the story! I always make pictures of EVERYTHING, so it would be weird not to have any pictures of this activity.
I thought; I have to do this again while someone is filming it and we have to make pictures of it, so I would have evidence to show. Like the picture attached to this extraordinairy story. So I stayed a little longer in the sauna with two other people, while the rest was going to grab a camera to make pictures and videos for us. That was really sweet, allthough I think they could stand the cold weather a lot better than I do. So after finally being warmed up again in the sauna, we went for a second walk towards the sea. This time I borrowed flipflops (6 sizes too big, but I wanted to keep my feet :P) so I could feel my feet.

Hemskerk_Blog2_pic2 Hemskerk_Blog2_pic1

So a lifesaving tip if you are going to do this too: take your flipflops with you!
We counted till 3 and then jumped at the same time in the freezing water. While I was trying to get out of the water as fast as possible, a friend of ours thought lets just make a swim to the beach. He was crazy!

Anyway, I’m glad I have this amazing experience ( and evidence, a little ashamed of the screaming when i’m in touch with the water). I wouldn’t want to miss this crazy habit from my exchange trip. Although I don’t think i’m going to do this more often, I would recommend you to do it just once in your life. So it might as wel be in Turku, Finland!

Mayby… I will go back to do this again, because now there is snow everywhere. Next time I know for sure I will make pictures of the first jump, cause there definitively won’t be a second jump.

Thank you for reading my blog!

Text and photos: Eileen van Heemskerk