Kuster paddling 1   Stand Up Paddling (SUP) or just Paddling is an outdoor sport and a combination of having fun, chilling and working out at the same time. I have never heard of this sport before the ESN created an event for exchange students. I really had to hurry up to sign in for this event, because they only had a few places for over 200 students.

We met each other at the place, where they borrowed the Paddling stuff. It was next to Aura, the river that flows through Turku. First of all, they showed us the basics, such as how to stand on the surfboard and how to adjust the paddle. After this short introduction, we were ready to go paddling on the water.Kuster paddling 2

It took us a while until everyone was able to put the surfboard into the river and kneel on it. Two persons fell into the water. It was funny to observe the whole process and a few pedestrians, which saw us, were laughing too.

At the beginning, everyone had to paddle on the knees because it was easier than normal paddling. After a while, our teacher showed us how to turn and how to stand up on the surfboard. This was the second time when students fell into the water. I could stand on my board after two attempts and I was very proud of myself.Kuster paddling 3

I had so much fun that I was a little bit sad when our instructor told us that the time was over and we had to go back to the starting point. I fell into the river when I tried to jump from my surfboard towards the riverbank. This was my first swimming experience in Aura =)

I would highly recommend trying SUP at least once in your lifetime. It makes so much fun and you get to know each other better when you participate in a group.Kuster paddling 4

Text: Manuel Kuster

Pictures: ESN-IAC


I was very surprised when two Finish girls, who introduced themselves as my tutors, contacted me in the middle of August. I have never heard something about a tutor in my home university and I did not know what they were supposed to do with me. However, it did not take a long time to find out what they do. They added me to a Facebook group, that they have made for our tutor group.

I had the feeling that they really tried to make our start in Finland and at TUAS easier. And in my opinion, they succeeded. They offered me to pick up my apartment keys in advance and pick me up at the train station when I arrived. I was able to do it by myself but I was glad that I had someone that I can contact in an unordinary case or if I had questions. Furthermore, they informed me about the starting package. This starting package is great opportunity for students whose apartment is not furnished. It includes:

  • a pillow (50×60)
  • a blanket (150×200)
  • curtainsKuster_starting package
  • a cooking pot
  • a sharp cutting knife
  • a dinner plate
  • a soup plate or soup bowl
  • a drinking glass
  • a coffee mug
  • cooking item (plastic cooking spoon or spatula)
  • a can opener, and
  • a set of flatware (a fork, a knife, a table spoon, and a teaspoon)

The package costs € 70 (of these €50 are a deposit, which you will get back if you return all the items clean and in good condition). Further information are available on

I found out that there are also other students in my tutor group. My tutors organised a welcome  party that we had the chance to meet each other. We are a group of seven students that study Social Services at Ruiskatu campus. It was a great opportunity to meet other students from different countries, which study the same subjects as I do. It was also relieving, because I found some people with who I could talk with when I would have any problems at school.

Kuster tutors2

To sum up, tutors are a huge help for exchange students. Not only during the first days but also for preparing the stay and during the whole semester. They try to help in (nearly) every situation and if you are lucky, they make you accessible to the Finish culture. Use this chance!

Text and photo: Manuel Kuster

First impressions Turku – Finland

When I arrived in Finland, I had already a few impressions in my head, because I spent my holidays around 5 years ago with my family in Finland. Although, it is my first time that I spend more than 5 months not only in Finland, but in general abroad.

At the beginning of my stay, I have noticed a few differences between Switzerland and Finland. First of all, the traffic lights for pedestrians. In Switzerland, it is common that you have to push a button if you want to cross a street and there is a traffic light. I found out that this is a little bit different in Finland. Here you can find traffic lights with buttons and traffic lights without buttons. I was a little bit distracted about this fact but I know now that the larger the street, the higher is the chance that I have to push a button.Kuster_flag

Secondly, the bicycle is a very common way to drive from one point to another. It is not only cheaper than travelling by bus, but also is it possible to drive with it during night when no bus or train is driving. I also bought one for myself. There are a lot of different markets or shops where you can buy or rent a cheap bicycle. My favourite is a Facebook group, called Turku Fleamarket: There you can find many different second hand things.

Furthermore, the price level for food and daily expenses are more or less the same as in Switzerland. The only exception is the alcohol. It is much more expensive than in Switzerland and if you want to buy something with more than 4.7%, you have to go to a special shop, called Alko ( Moreover, 18 to 19 years- old can buy alcoholic beverages with maximum 22% alcohol content and if you reached the age of 20, you can buy all alcoholic beverages.

Moreover, it is quite common in Finland to use the first name if you speak with someone. Finish people allow you very fast to say their first names in contrary to Swiss people. I think that is very nice because then you feel like you are on the same level and it is more personal.

Finally, the Finish language. At the beginning of my stay, it was nearly impossible to understand Finish for me as a foreigner who speaks German, French and English. I was glad that they told us some basic sentences and words in the introduction week. Here are any examples:

Moi! or Hei! = Hello!

Kiitos = Thank you

Miä kuuluu? = How are you?

Hyvää, kiitos. = Fine, thanks.

Minä olen Manuel = I’m Manuel.

Kuka sinä olet? = Who are you?

Text: Manuel Kuster