As a biologist, exploring tropical rainforests have been my dream as far as I can remember. So, when I heard about a university in the very lap of the great Amazon rainforest, I knew I had to go. As it happened, my University of Eastern Finland (UEF) had a two-way exchange scheme with Universidad Regional Amazónica Ikiam (or just IKIAM for short) with funding from the Erasmus+ program. As I was in my 6th year and nearing my graduation, this was my last chance to go on an exchange. Continue reading Amazon, a biologists’ paradise
Moi (hello)! Approaching the end of my stay in Joensuu a lot faster than I would like to, it is time to recap and tell you about all the great experiences I have made in Suomi (Finland) during the past four months. And while I must admit that my language skills in Finnish are still embarrassingly small, there are some nice, beautiful and curious little words that I would like to share with you.
At the moment, my favorite Finnish word must be kesä: summer! After months of cold and icy, yet exceptionally beautiful winter-wonderland-weather, the temperatures have turned around and Finland has put on it’s pretty green summer dress. Within only a few days the ice melted off the lakes, the piles of snow disappeared (there were trucks helping with that), and the leaves started to grow. And yes, in Finish there is a unique word for the first, tiny, bright green leaves, and it’s adorable: hiirenkorva (literally: mouse ears). Walking in metsä (forest) and among the koivut (birches) now feels like a completely different world. Sometimes I can’t believe that it is only a few weeks ago that it was talvi (winter), and I was in those very same forests pursuing murtomaahiihto (cross-country-skiing) – one of the great Finnish hobbies I had never done before and came to love so quickly. Continue reading My favorite Finnish words. An incomplete guide to my perfect time in Joensuu
Before coming to Finland, I’ve had a few conversations about what’s it like there in the far north. People’s opinion were different and I came to a conclusion that I’ll either hate it or love it. And I was right.
To be honest, for the first few weeks, the dark, wind, cold and the process of getting used to a new culture left me a bit depressed and thinking about home. For someone coming from much warmer regions it is a natural thing I suppose. As time went by I started to become more and more comfortable with the visuals and life pace here. Continue reading A land of hidden gems
It was my first visit to Finland and it started in Helsinki with such nice and unobtrusive Nordic design where ever you take a look. The train ride from Helsinki to Jounsuu, then, was a very nice opportunity to enjoy the beautiful landscapes.
Our first meeting at UEF started as it was written there really: “state of smart”! In the “middle of knowhere” I met such nice, polite and great colleagues. In their company all five of us (3 teaching and 2 administrative stuff) enjoyed our time so much.
Last week I had the pleasure to travel to the beautiful city of Tahko where I attended the Tahko Ski Lift Pitch in order to support my colleague Anna in representing UEF (one of the event’s main sponsors). Organized for the second time this year, the event brought together young and promising entrepreneurs and their start-up businesses with investors and business coaches. The excellent idea behind this unique event which distinguishes it from other start-up events like the famous Slush? The most important things are happening in a ski lift! Continue reading Pitch your way to the peak and ski down with the money!
Although photos are meant to be understood around the world without the need for words, please allow me to cover up a bit the title of this post.
I have always desired to live somewhere with four actual distinct seasons and although at this high-latitudes the longest and several months long is the winter, Savo is a cool place to live. Moreover Finland’s residents may not think as much of the country’s weather like we do, but this harsh and cold season is sometimes really hard to cope with for a Mid European immigrant, when the sun is occasionally and only shortly flooding into the space.
However, winter seems to be finally over these days. Now “Vappu” is upon us, soft weather on its way and everything is changing in our mind as well. Therefore, I thought it might be fun to share pictures of “pulseless animals”. Do not be in panic. I am far from finding it funny to take photos of dead, breathless animals or samples made via taxidermy (preserving animals in lively postures). For me, photography is not only related to my job (as a scientist/morphologist). It is sometimes more than a passion, it is the frame in which I can relax. How do I achieve that? Continue reading Vappu on tulossa: Portraits from the Breathless Zoo of the Nature
Bicycles were first introduced in Germany during wood and iron age, when “dandy horse” has been introduced in 1817, as a two wheels, with no pedal, however it required accurate balancing by the rider. Since then it have been versatile functions: recreation, work, military, show, sport, tourism, etc. and now we are in „hybrid bike” age.
In Finland there are about 3 million bikes compared to Beijing for example, where there are 9 million (Katie Melua tells us so). However over 60% of Finns are biking regularly and it is gaining and increasing momentum, as more and more people without reference to the age or social status choose to leave their cars behind and hop onto their bikes. As a result, 9% of all trips are made by bike. Biking is healthy, ecological and fun.
For a Mid-European the cycling season in this country would be really short from somewhere plus 10 and above, however here riders are not afraid of neither the rain, nor slush, nor event winter climate, when we are below zero Celsius.
Finland, a young but strong country, is a land with vast distances and with a population of around only 5 million. It is not so rich in natural resources, however after the 70’s the country has seen a very impressive growth in various sectors including economy, culture and education, as well. As a results of all of these changes in 2018 it has been selected to be the “happiest country on Earth”. So, I have to admit that it is an unforgettable experience that I can live here and work at UEF since fall 2016.
For many foreigners the natural beauty of Finland, from hundred thousands of lakes to forests, from sea and archipelago to Lapland, is truly breathtaking. Its attractive and spectacular landscapes and natural scenery attracts people and photographers so you can easily find eye-catching images all around the web. However, I would like to share with you my own experiences obtained during past years. Hope you will like some of these pictures.
Listen to Sibelius’s Finlandia and enjoy my pictures in the video below:
If you happen to be in Joensuu during the spring term, and if it happens to be a year in which the IBU Worldcup takes place in Finland, experiencing the cheerful atmosphere of a Biathlon race in Kontiolahti is an entry on everyone’s bucket list you cannot miss. Even if you are not a big fan of sports, the happy atmosphere is a great event to attend and watching the race in the snowy, Finnish forest against the backdrop of beautiful Lake Höytiäinen is surely something I will not forget.
If you are familiar with the gripping sport you will know where this blog entry is heading. If not, let me back up.
Biathlon is a combination of fast-paced cross-country skiing and precise shooting. Depending on the discipline the athletes are racing along the 2-4km long rounds 3 or 5 times and in between stop to aim their small-bore rifles at targets with a diameter as small as 115-45 millimeters (standing or lying down while shooting) and in a distance of 50 meters. Being able to hold your hand as steady as it is necessary to successfully do this after the challenging tracks (including steep climbs like the famous Kontiolahti ‘wall climb’) is a true mystery to me and fuels the fascination for this extravagant sport. Continue reading Hyvää, Kaisa!
When I started my trainee position at UEF’s Development Services, I was asked to write some texts for this blog, too, and share my experiences. Happily, I agreed. “Yes,” I though, “this will be a great thing. I will write something soon, for sure!” Here I am, five weeks later, finally writing these lines and wondering: Where did the time go?!
It went to meeting many new people every day during the first weeks, to getting to know the work and tasks, to learning the Finish language, and to experiencing (and falling in love with) the beautiful Finnish nature and culture. I don’t mean to be repetitive, but the Finnish friendliness and the beauty of Finland’s nature really cannot be stressed enough.
My days at work at the office are filled with laughter and friendly faces in the corridors – and, of course, the very enjoyable, regular coffee breaks. I am given both: guidance with what I have to do and responsibility to do things by myself which makes me feel very welcome, valued, and supported at all times. Another thing I strongly feel is gratitude for this opportunity to spend the next four months here in this new and exciting working environment.
Well, only 3 more left.