Get Finternational course

When I started to choose the lectures which I wanted to participate here in TUAS, students from my home university, who had already absolved their year abroad in Turku, recommended me to take the Get Finternational course. But what is this couse about? It is about several intercultural workshops and events which you can join to get in contact with other exchange and also Finnish students. Furthermore it should help you to improve your sensibility for intercultural matters.

At the beginning I was pretty sceptical about this course, because I have had some courses with this topic at my home university and they weren´t that helpful for me. But after I had participated in the first events my mind changed. As the variety of topics we could attend to was huge, everyone had the possibility to participate in the events which are most interesting for oneself. I also liked that you could decide when you want to absolve the events on your own. In the mandatory workshops I learned a lot about how I can deal with cultural shocks and how I can get my message through different cultures right. But not only the workshops, also the events were pretty useful. Funny meetings like the blueberry pie baking or TurkuGether made it easy to come in contact with the other exchange students. I made a lot of new friends from many different cultures and I really hope that these friendships will last for a long time. I think not only the knowledge about intercultural matters but also the intercultural friendships can be very important for our future.

Altogether I warmly recommend this course to every exchange student, as you not only obtain some knowledge about intercultural matters, but also get to know people, who are in the same situation as you are, and find some friendships for life.

Travelling in Finland

As I am here in Turku for one year, I have a lot of time to visit all the attractions in Finland and its surrounding area. I have planned to go to Lapland, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Tallinn and Oslo. Up to now I have just visited the capital of Finland: Helsinki. I drove with Onnibus from Turku to Helsinki Kamppi early in the morning and visited all the tourist attractions, like the Cathedral, the old market hall, the senate square and the Rock church with one of the hop-on, hop-off buses. It was pretty interesting and fun to visit all these places. Later on I figured out that there is also a sightseeing tram which drives to almost the same places as the hop-on, hop-off buses and is much cheaper than them. So if you want to save some money as a poor student, I would suggest you to take the tram (number 2) instead of the buses.

I also did a boat trip to visit Helsinki´s archipelago which was pretty impressing. The coastal area of the city is really beautiful and definitely worth the price of the boat trip. Nonetheless, what I truly would recommend to everybody who visits Helsinki is the island Suomenlinna. It is one of the biggest sea fortresses in the world and also one of the most popular attractions in Finland. If you need further information about sights, current events or city maps you can go to the tourist office which is pretty central and offers its help for free.Schlachtmeier2All in all I would say Helsinki is a really beautiful city which is worth visiting.  There are not only a plenty of tourist attractions, you can also go shopping or visit the zoo. As it is pretty cheap to get there as well (I paid 8 Euros for the outward and return journey with Onnibus), I decided to visit the city more often during my stay here in Finland.

Text & photo: Lena Schlachtmeier

Curiosities of Finnish people & culture

When I decided to spent my year abroad in Finland, everybody started warning me of the cold weather and asked me if I really want to do this. Off course I want. I mean, how bad could it become? Retrospectively this was a bit naive. Needless to say, the weather and especially the winter is not comparable with the climate at my hometown. However with the right clothes and shoes it is possible to survive even the hardest winter in Finland. 😉

In my first week here in Turku I attended the orientation days of my university and often heard the hearsay that Finnish people are pretty shy. Maybe I haven´t met the shy ones up to now, but for me the people here are all pretty friendly and ready to help. For example as I arrived at the airport in Turku I had to handle two big suitcases all the way to the student village. In the bus not only my tutor but also a Finnish passenger asked me if I need some help and stored my luggage away. Even when you get lost in the city, the people are always polite and try to help you.

The view from sitting inside the sauna in Ruissalo :)

The view from sitting inside the sauna in Ruissalo 🙂

But what do almost all Finns love? Going to sauna! As I also went there quite often in Germany, I absolutely wanted to try the Finnish way to go. That´s why I participated in an ESN Event where we drove to Ruissalo to go to sauna and had a barbeque afterwards. I was quite amazed because the Finnish way to go to sauna is pretty different from the German way. For example the Germans are not allowed to sit on the wooden bench without a towel and they take a rest after each sauna round. Public saunas in Germany are also visited without clothes and not with swimwear. But what I liked best at going to sauna in Ruissalo was the beautiful scenery and the jump in the sea after the sauna. That was really amazing and is definitely better than the German style to go to sauna. 🙂

Text & picture: Lena Schlachtmeier