So your postdoctoral research is over – years ago, and you feel that you still want to learn new directions to your research. Well, longish research visits do not have to be past life – it might be time to a new visit to foreign university! That was just what happened to me. I decided to get new skills in chemical ecology, and decided to get it from the University of California Berkeley, just a side of San Francisco. Fulbright Finland has just perfect grant option for this kind of trips: Fulbright Finland grant for research collaboration. The funding is aimed for visits from one week to three months. For me five weeks was possible, and luckily, I got the grant. Continue reading “Old dog learning new tricks”
One of the worst things during my childhood was the disappointment over mild and wet winters. Living and growing up in Serbia, I had the opportunity to sometimes experience days with heavy snow, but they were not as good as the ones from the early-December Coca Cola commercials. Learning that my application was accepted and that I will spend my next semester as a student of University of Eastern Finland, I was really happy to prove to myself that true winters do exist. And Finland did not disappoint me. The very first seconds I spent here were an argument good enough: exiting the airport door, every person I saw that night, including me, exhaled the shivering “WHUUH!” . . . and those were our first words here. I had the honor my first day in Finland to be a shiny -27o C one. Arriving in Joensuu from Helsinki, I wanted to take pictures of everything, but the low temperature drained my phone battery. It bothered me for a while, but it showed me that the walks to the University can be much more interesting if you just enjoy a nice sunny day, not with your head buried in your phone.
And the thing is, snow and ice look amazing on Joensuu. A simple walk through the forest and over the frozen lake can leave you speechless. One of my most beautiful experiences was actually getting lost in the forest at night…in the middle of the town, and I’m not even joking. Continue reading “A proper winter”
Let me start this off with a short story of my first ever minutes in Finland. Flying through Riga in late August, and after waiting at the airport for a connection flight, at roughly 30°C, of course in full winter clothing, as carrying the jacket and heavy boots was only possible in this way do to the luggage capacity, I got to my flight to Helsinki. Right next to my seat on the not-so-crowded plane was a Finnish pilot, presumably just tagging along this Latvian plain to Helsinki. Slowly we moved from a beautiful sunny day to a dark and cloudy land, and while landing, the flight attendant told the Finnish pilot: ‘Oh, nice summer you have here’, with a big smile on his face. And so went my first shock in Finland, naturally being a temperature shock. But luckily everything kept getting better and better every day since that. Continue reading “A Finnish adventure”
‘’You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown. You travel for the unknown that reveals you within yourself.’’
Finland, Joensuu. First time when we heard about opportunity to come and stay there for five months, we could just keep on our minds one thing. Minus 30 degrees. How could we possibly survive that? After many, many stories with different points about Finland, we realized this is our wake up call. This is the time when we have to step out of our comfort zone, burst our safe bubble and just go with the flow.
After staying here for almost 4 months, we didn’t even focus on minor stuff like temperature anymore. Our goal was set on studies, meeting new people and enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime stay. During first month, we stayed within our comfort zone, adjusting to the rules new world had to offer us. As that hardest period passed, we made Joensuu our own. Within next two months, we explored this wonderful city so much, that we knew its streets better than back of our hands. Not only did we enjoy Joensuu, but we also visited other parts of Finland, with new landscapes and new adventures. Of course, Northern Lights have to be mentioned as the prettiest scenery, no matter if we just saw tiny green smudge in the sky or outstanding green light taking up the whole north! While traveling across Finland, we found ourselves understanding more about native Finnish people and their culture. Continue reading “Adventure continues”
It’s been three weeks since we got off that train in Joensuu and felt the ‘’welcoming’’ touch of -30°C on our skins. Looking at the notice board in Finnish language we wondered how on earth we are supposed to survive in this land of ice and strange words. We all shared the same fear: Are we going to be able to do this? Fortunately, it didn’t take us long to leave our doubts and suspicions behind and put ourselves out there. Unlike the temperature, every place we visited and every person we met seem warm and pleasant. We fell in love with the magical white city and everything about it.
The University, which is why we came here in the first place, was a story for itself: modern and big, yet cozy and warm, full of so many colleague students with the same expectations. We looked at each other and thought: This is going to be so much fun! From that moment on, it has been just more and more interesting. We have met a lot of people with different backgrounds, and heard their stories. Our courses started, and we got so enthusiastic for learning in a new environment, and improving ourselves! Finding out all the possibilities that we have, gave us the will to get up every morning, put on three pair of socks, and go into new victories! Continue reading “Face to face with Joensuu”