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.
Continue reading More than perfect Finland (Joensuu) experience 🙂
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?
Almost 2pm, I am writing this entry just in front of a window with a magnificent view of a snowy day. Magnificent for me since I am not used to this type of event. My name is José and I come from Tena, Ecuador, a place in the middle of nowhere in the Amazon Region and this is my experience with Erasmus+ Mobility and Training Program.
My time of the mobility has ended, I applied for an Erasmus+ Mobility and Training funding in order to visit UEF, Joensuu Campus, to learn from the best. I am currently working as a lecturer at a 3 ½ years old University located in the “middle of nowhere”, 8 km away from Tena City in Ecuador, Ikiam Regional Amazonic University (www.ikiam.edu.ec). Ikiam University fosters delivering top-quality free education to Ecuadorian students (why not, international student in the future) in natural sciences. At the moment, Ikiam University is putting a lot of effort into creating co-operation networks at both, national and international level.
Even though my visit was short (12 days) I have learned a lot from Finland, how it is like to live here, a bit of its culture, its values and its educational system.
Continue reading From somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Ecuador to somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Finland
My story with losing things and finding them back only started in Finland. At first, I thought it was my luck, but then I figured out that it had nothing to do with my luck but it’s rather something about Finland itself. Let’s go back to the beginning of the story, January 7th, my airplane from Paris to Helsinki was late, so I had to run between the terminals in order to catch up the next flight to Joensuu , Fingers crossed , I made it to the airplane on time!! The Finnish sky welcomed me in the best possible way, I will never forget that night flight , especially that moment when I was trying to sleep and the pilot asked all the passengers to look at right sided windows. To my surprise, I saw those amazing green sky lights , it was the first and only time I saw the AURORA lights !! well, the flight was short , then I arrived to the smallest airport I have never seen, but I was expecting it, on the other hand the thing I was not expecting was to not find my suitcase, I felt terribly lost , and someone told me not to worry because my previous flight was late , so my suitcase will probably be sent with the next flight!! But how can I not worry about it!! How can I even sleep tonight with the idea that all I have may be lost in Paris , Helsinki or somewhere else!! Continue reading Nothing gets lost in Finland !
– “I’m so delighted to see you!
– “Welcome home!
– “Enjoy your stay in North Carolina!”
These were the first words I heard after arriving at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, USA. An elderly man was standing beside the passport control and greeting passengers with a welcoming smile on his face. Even though I was exhausted after my 16-hour journey, I couldn’t but smile to the all-American way the man was greeting us. Smiling is contagious as they say.
But let’s back-up a bit. My name is Antti, and I’m a 5th year Master of Pharmacy student at the University of Eastern Finland. One day — now over 1,5 years ago — I was scrolling through the list of different research projects the UEF School of Pharmacy offers for its students. The last listing caught my eye: Biopharmacy project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Continue reading Under the Carolina blue sky
Not so long ago, on 1st of February I arrived in a friendly and snowy Joensuu. From the very begining of my Erasmus exchange mobility, I had complete understanding for coming a bit late. I missed student orientation program but, as soon as I arrived, I met Mrs. Kirsi. She was, and still is, so helpful and kind. She has even organized few meetings which we really enjoyed. Mrs. Kirsi has introduced us to Finnish culture, amenities and food. It is really nice to know that someone cares about how are you settling down and how is everything going for you. I especially enjoyed snow shoe hiking. It was such a nice afternoon walk which ended up with sitting around the fire and having dinner. Later, my friends and I continued gathering in the woods around the fire close to the lake making the food…
Altogether, all of the people working at the UEF were so helpful and I really did not have any problem with registering and finding the information. I was also amused with different teaching system, with very equipped classrooms and communicative teachers. That is the experience which students can only get if they go on an exchange.
Continue reading EXPANDING MY HORIZONS
Coming to Joensuu was one of the best changes I had in my life. As a nature lover, I found here what I had been missing for a long time; the lakes, the river, the trees everywhere. Joensuu was such a contrast with our busy Moroccan cities where concrete left no space for green that the only thing I could do was to admire and enjoy. For a human being used to warmth and hot weather, seeing -13 degrees on a weather board was scary yet refreshing; however, on windy days, I wished I had another layer of skin. Nevertheless, on other days and despite the cold, walks through the forest in sunny days were enough to take my breath away; the whiteness of snow embracing the roots of each tree and reflecting sunlight onto my eyes was enough to clear my thoughts. Continue reading Joensuu through the eyes of a Moroccan
Thanks to the Erasmus+ program, we have the opportunity to spend three and a half months in Joensuu. The decision to come here was like a challenge to us, having on mind cold Finnish winter, but the desire to experience something new was stronger than anything. So we packed our suitcases and head over to Joensuu.
And now, during these two months of our stay here we find Joensuu as a perfect city for living and studying. The university is offering us the opportunity to be included in various activities such as sport activities, social events, music events, trips, etc. This exchange helped us a lot to meet new friends, discover new places, to enjoy the beauties of the city and in fact it helped us to discover ourselves. Studying at the University helped us to make new friends from all over the world and now after two months we are like a small family and Latolankatu is like our second home. One of the things for which we are grateful is that this journey brought us unforgettable memories. Continue reading Erasmus in Joensuu