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
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!
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.
Continue reading Where did the time go?
Four months went by and it’s June already, which means that my traineeship at the International Office in Joensuu is over. Every student who went to study or work abroad will agree that it is an unforgettable experience. Here are my reasons why the stay in Joensuu was the best thing I could do during my last semester at university.
- People at the office
As I later found out, my task at the university administration department was to stir up the waters a bit and bring some element of internationalisation into the offices. Haha… I think that everybody coped with my presence and my non-existent Finnish quite well. All the people that I met in the corridors or offices at the UEF were very kind, helpful and open-minded. And even though all of them were far above me in knowledge and experience, everyone treated me as their equal. The people I worked with were patiently answering all my questions and helped me boost my confidence, which is the best thing anyone can do for you. Continue reading 6 Reasons Why the Erasmus+ Traineeship in Joensuu Was The Best Decision
Another month is over and I am already in the middle of my stay at the UEF. As everyone who has been on an exchange knows, the time flies so quickly because you see, try and experience something new every day. So these are my experiences from my everyday Joensuu life from the past month in brief:
In Czech we have a saying ‘to buy a hare in a sack’ to express when we unintentionally buy something we did not really want to buy. That is how my first visits to a grocery store in Finland felt like. Or maybe like buying a bag full of Kinder Surprise Eggs. You had never exactly known what was inside those packages until you opened them at home. Thankfully, after two months, grocery shopping is no longer such an adventure.
Another thing, I decided to get a bike so that I would be able to explore Joensuu more. But first, it was necessary to fix a few glitches on the bike. So I went to a repair shop and started to explain what I needed, but the repairman did not speak English. When he found out that I would not be able to express myself that well in Finnish, he pointed to the door and we went out where I tried to show him what the problem was. Alright, everything understood. Then came time to use my limited Finnish vocabulary. He started pointing at the opening hours on the shop door. I figured he meant the repair would take one week. Maanatai? – Joo. Just to be sure. Last thing: money. I could not remember how to say How much? However, thanks to my visit to the North Karelian Museum, I will never forget the word raha (money), so I used this one instead. For the non-Finnish readers of this blog – the word raha originally meant the fur of squirrel, which served as a payment instrument in Finland in the remote past. Anyway, the repairman stated the sum and our deal was concluded with a small ‘discussion’ on whether the mentioned price is for the repair of one wheel (yksi pyörä) or one bike (yksi pyörä). Continue reading Experiencing Finland
The phrase On the Move sums up quite well my university studies. During those five years, I enjoyed studying at the University of Ostrava, Czech Republic, and I am thankful that I was also able to discover other places and use every opportunity to travel and study abroad. Nearing the end of my studies, I thought it would be good to experience what it is like to work abroad, too. And what a better country in which to do this than Finland, right?
So it happened that one late January afternoon I landed in Joensuu (a town whose name was not familiar even to my friends who had spent some time in Finland in the past) and moved to a house which is not typically Finnish according to my flatmates. To me it looks Finnish enough – there is a lot of wood, a sauna and Moomin towel in the bathroom.
The first weekend in Joensuu, I decided to attend an event called Surviving winter in Finland organised by a local organisation for international students. Luckily, I came to Finland after the (for me) unimaginable period of -30˚, but some surviving tips could still come in handy. The event also included a truly Finnish experience – a sauna and swimming in a lake. After a few attempts I ended up in the icy water, something nobody who knows me and my sensitivity to cold well could believe. The reactions of international students to this experience in turn provided entertainment for the Finns present, so everybody had fun. And fortunately, I did not get pneumonia before my work placement even begun, so it counts as a success. Continue reading Working at the UEF