The Post-Erasmus-Depression (dip)

When it all begun…

Going on an Erasmus adventure in Kiljava has been a great experience for all of us. We had the opportunities to experience the Finnish culture and to meet new people from all over Europe. We now know for sure that we will miss the Finnish traditions, such as eating cinnamon breads or going to the sauna totally naked on daily basis. A lot of our Erasmus students went first to our private gym or private swimming pool, to go chilling after that in the sauna. Your body feels totally great when you do that!

During our Erasmus programme, we had the opportunity to travel a lot. We travelled in Finland to Lapland and to neighbour countries, such as Russia and Estonia. We saw the northern lights, as well in Lapland as in Kiljava on our own roof! We could experience the joy of nature in our ‘garden’. It was a privilege for us that we could go walking around the lake, into the woods or on the beach at the moments that we wanted. But the best experience that we had this semester was that we made friends for the rest of our lives.

Of course, going on Erasmus has also a difficult part. At the end of the programme, we have to say goodbye to everyone and to the environment and we must go back home. These weeks are now our last few weeks, so after three months of Erasmus, we are making ourselves ready to go home again. The flights are already booked and the last days of school will start next week. After our last week of school, we will go back to our earlier life, which will feel very strange in the beginning. We will all go back to our families and back to our home countries and we have to leave our new life and our new friends behind. We must go back to reality. Going back to reality will not be easy and can cause a few problems, such as an Erasmus dip. But no worries, we provided a few solutions for these problems!!

The first thing that you should definitely do, is keep in touch with all your Erasmus friends. Just because you can’t walk into each other’s rooms or go to the gym or sauna together, doesn’t mean that you can’t stay in contact with each other. You can use all kinds of communication for this: Facebook chat, Skype, WhatsApp or even letters.

The second solution for the Erasmus dip is bringing your Erasmus memories back to your home country. You can for example put pictures or postcards from your favourite places in your room. Looking at this pictures and postcards will give you some happy moments during the lonely days.

The third solution is travelling. You have friends now from all over Europe! That’s a great chance for you to travel and to meet your friends’ hometowns. You can also invite your new friends in your own city and host them!

The next solution to get rid of your Erasmus dip is getting a new tattoo! Five out of twelve people here in Kiljava Opisto already have an Erasmus tattoo. This is a lifetime reminder on the wonderful time you’ve had during your Erasmus adventure. These tattoos are also nice to show each other when you planned your next reunion!

Next, you have to remember that you can always go back to the place where it all begun. Come back to Helsinki and to Kiljava Opisto, with your friends or alone, and experience the adventure all over again. You are now an expert in the Finnish culture and your friends will love to be guided in your ‘hometown’.

Our last solution is talking with people back home. Of course, you will feel lonely the first few days or the first few weeks, but when you tell all of your Erasmus stories to your friends back home, you can experience the best moments again. This is surely also a win-win-situation, because they will definitely hear all of your experiences!

As we already told you, the first weeks will be hard and difficult. Don’t be sad when you experience these difficulties. Think about the perfect moments that you experienced, the beautiful sunsets that you saw and the best friends that you made and you will feel soon happy again! We will miss you, but we will also meet again soon!

Enjoying our last weeks of Erasmus.

Lots of love and big kisses, Mieke and Tessy!

 

Trip to St Petersburg, Russia

26/04/2017 – 1/05/2017

Everybody got their passport? Check. Charger? Check. Phone? Check.

Finally the day had arrived that we could leave to St Petersburg, Russia. A trip we booked months ago with almost our whole Erasmus group. Everybody was so excited. And of course we where! Let’s go to Russia!

Like always when we book trips, first the bus to Helsinki. Right on schedule we arrived in Kamppi. Let’s make a last stop to buy some food and drinks for on the boat and change some money in to rubles. After a walk to the port and a search to the timetravel desk we get our boarding passes.  Finally we can enter our boat. Not just a normal ferry, a real cruise ship it is!

First thing we do is looking for our cabin. Way smaller than we expected, but clean and cosy. Just the way we like it! A bigger disappointment was hiding behind the curtains… no window, just a grey wall. We met our cabin mates and got installed. New friends from Denmark, check! Let’s go and see what else the boat got to offer. Found some restaurants and bars, a casino, duty free shop and went on deck. After we ate something, we changed, bought some drinks and are ready for the first (club)night on the boat!

The evening started with a dance show from Russian girls. Not something that we are used to, but so much fun to watch! Making friends on this student trip was not so hard. During the show we got to know some German and Italian guys. Let’s say this night was a bid shaky, but let’s blame that on the restless Gulf of Finland.

The next day we could enter Russia in the afternoon. We were a bid stressed about crossing the border, but after some time we all could enter Russia. What a relief! During the bus trip we got some information about the city and made some stops. After this, time to go to the hostel and prepare for the night cruise on rivers and canals.

After a hangover day and a lot of traveling, we were not so excited for again an excursion on a boat. Once we arrived it was whole different then we expected. Loud music, cruising on the canals and rivers and free cava, not at all what we expected! Very cold but so much fun on this trip. We saw St Petersburg from a whole different angle and the right company made it perfect.

The alarm clock rings very early this morning. Finding breakfast on the street is not that hard. The only thing is that you don’t know what you will eat or what it will cost. Nobody speaks English and they think that once you enter Russia, you must speak the language. Grumpy Russians is a good way to describe them. But, nothing to worry! We found food and are ready for our guided tour to the impressive Catherine’s palace. This palace is a 300m long place that shouts wealth! It’s an amazing and impressive place.

During the afternoon we got some free time and we went to the main street to drink some coffee. One good tip to survive St Petersburg, don’t ever cross a road if the light is red. The Russian traffic is just crazy! Chaotic, busy, dangerous and loud!

This evening we are going to get the whole Russian experience. Traditional evening, food, music and a whole show. Our expectations are high. Russian evening, Russian rules. Before the first meal you should take a shot of vodka. It open’s you stomach and makes it easier to eat more. Who are we to break Russian rules? First shot and meal are done. Second rule: The second shot has to follow fast after the first one. Okay, if they say so! After some shots and meals, the show could really start! Some musicians made our whole evening complete! After the dinner, Dimitri (our timetravel guide) assured us that in five years time, we where the most amusing group! Thumbs up for us! After dinner, we went to an underground strip club to go clubbing. The night was complete!

The next day was one without our new friends. They left to Moscow and we went to the Hermitage Museum. Biggest museum from the world and you could spend 8 years here.  For us, a couple of hours was just enough! Afterward we went to the Cathedrals of St Petersburg. Very cold and so much rain was not so nice, but again so much impressive things we saw!

Last day in Russia, packing our luggage and let’s go to the ship again. This trip is almost over, luckily, we have one last night on the boat remaining. Time to say goodbye to our guides and thank them for the wonderful trip! One thing is sure, we will come back!

Tomorrow we have to leave the boat at 7. That doesn’t stop us from making it a good last night! Again a show and some clubbing. We even met the captain of the boat and made some pictures with him. This night, and the whole trip where just perfect! This time, we must say goodbye to our new friends from Germany and Italy. Let’s hope to see them again…

Very tired and hangover we take the bus back to Kiljava, to home. Not so many weeks left before we all have to go home… Let’s make it a last good month!

A little aftermovie to give a better image of the whole trip!

Russian kisses,

Laura Schepers, Kiana Doms

 

Kontula Electronic

MOIKA!

The weekend of the 21th there was a Electronic festival going on in Kontula. During these days music was playing around the area, activities and other performances were there to entertain the people of Kontula. This project is mainly made for bringing the people together, to bring joy to the area and to encourage the positieve vibe in Kontula and in the people living there.

We all know that Kontula has a bad name in Helsinki that’s why the makers of this project want to make something that helps their name give a positieve connotation again. These assumptions are made on only the bad news from the area but there are also a lot of good things going on here. That’s why we wanted to write a blog about this event. We saw the joy in people’s eyes relive again. We didn’t witness any thing that could have been seen as a crime. People were just enjoying this moment, and enjoying their neighbours. It was very nice to see. The people in Kontula talk much to strangers, what I think is very nice. They are not narrow-minded at all.

We also thought that it fits quite good with social work. It doesn’t always have to be about discrimination, racism, or other cultural problems, but now it’s really about a city that gets a bad name and reputation. People all over Helsinki know this place and know that it has a bad connotation next to it. We think this event is a really good thing, because it gives colour to the darkness.

Music brings people together, that’s we know for sure.

MUSIC IN KONTULA

There was a lot going on these day’s in Kontula but the main thing was electronic music. There were some amazing artists playing on the festival, not only from Finland but also some great international musicians. It was nice to hear how during the day there was some music playing outside around the shopping centre. And it was also fantastic to see how people really reacted on that. They came together, talked to each other, dunk some beers,… You could see how people were having fun. There was a very happy atmosphere and a lot of people seemed to enjoy the event.

There was a good sound and we thought it was a nice warm up for the rest of the evening. At the bars later in the evening the music was really good and you could see that is was appreciated by the crowd. There was a lot of people and the bars were very full.

Then we went to another bar called Patajäkä, a smaller bar but really good atmosphere, people were dancing. There was a catchy vibe and nice songs. You saw people having talks with friends and strangers, what was really pleasant to see. We saw persons connecting with each other and also with us. What we truly thought was amazing. A lot of easy going but different people coming together to have a drink and to dance on the vibes.

We think that the bars were full of nice people. The prejudice that Finnish people drink a lot, is a bit true. That is really a sad thing we think, but also a bit funny. In my opinion it’s also a bit weird that so many people drink so much, and some start quite early as well in the day. I mean: it costs a lot of money, but still they don’t really care that much about it and spend it to that. Besides next to the drinking, it’s amazing what kind of an effect Electro music had in Kontula. Everybody enjoyed it. For me, if somebody is listening to Electro music, he or she is a bit alternative and therefore knows about the problems going on in the city, country or world. We thought that was a very pleasant thought that more people are aware of the bigger picture. Maybe one day the world will go into a nice place.

After that we went to see the two bands in the skate hall underneath our youth hosue. The first band called “Rainbowlicker” a Finnish band who gave a strong live performance. The music was very good both; the instrumental as the singing was really powerful. And we thought the venue was amazing, really a cool place to have a live concert! The sound and the acoustic in the place was also good. After that it was “Stylish Nonsense”, a band form Thailand, his turn to preform and put the skate hall on fire. We thought in the beginning it was a little weird but after a while we start to get the music more. The band doesn’t have his name stolen and we thought it represented the type of music they perform. Whatever that kind of music was, it was very experimental but I wound not call it actual nonsense. The mix between electronical music and alternative rock was something different and we heard that they never play a similar concert, we really could believe that.

 

Even something for the smaller kids

At Saturday there was more activities to do during the day. In the afternoon kids could come to the youth house in Kontula, were we did our internship, to be part of the kids disco. The party had a five year old DJ who was playing and it was amazing to see her! The children had a really good time and danced a lot on the music. Later on, they also could test how to be a DJ by playing some music themselves, and they made a little karaoke where everybody was signing along. It was so nice to see them have fun. A snack and a drink were provided!

We think it’s a very good idea that they do something for the smaller kids as well. Because everything is mostly for the youngsters or the adults. We thought a 5 year old DJ was also something very cool to do! Although we didn’t see her that much… She ate some popcorn and hide somewhere, that was really funny. Her father took over and did a very good job! We think he is very proud of his little girl.

 

Activities and workshops

Beside the fascinating and innovating music, there were a lot of activities where people could participate. These activities weren’t always about the music, it was also about talking to each other about philosophical things and about the Kontula area. And one activity had as a goal to realise that woman are still denigrating in society.

MAKING MUSIC

In the Youth house in Kontula there were some workshops who learned people how to make music from old toys who make some sound and from coding.

The first workshop that took place on Friday the 21th, was made by a collaboration between Mehackit and Codebus Africa. We have met Tommi Toivonen and Jukka Eerikäinen, who gave us a very nice explanation about the working of Mehackit and what they do. They use the programme Sonic Pi to learn the youth and adults how to make some music by using a specific code.. For this workshop they worked together with Codebus Africa. Codebus Africa is a 100-day project all around in Africa, as a celebration of the 100th years independence celebration.

I thought it was a bit weird that they learned kids how to make electro music in Africa. The organizers from this project even said that some children had never seen a computer before in their lives. I think that must have been amazing for this child to see it in his or her life, but at the other hand: is it really this that we need to learn them? Is it so that we have to learn them something that they can do for only 100 days, never to do again untill they have the money and circumstanes of having or owning an computer and be able to do something with the making of the music?

Both the workshops were really interesting. I mean, it’s a different way of making music. And the people just loved it in Kontula! We think it’s nice that using a code or an old toy can create some decent music. Although we found it a bit weird but we think this is essential for electronic music. Electronic music is just something totally different than jazz of blues, rock or metal. You really have to hear and feel it, to understand it. We really liked it!

SAUNA AND SPINNING ON THE KONTULA-SQUARE

In front of the Youth house there was a sauna where people could have a philosophical discussion about multiculturality, ‘How to be a good neighbour?’,  and love. The conversations were already going on while we arrived, so we didn’t take part of it. I really think this is too bad because we thought this was really a nice idea. Also with the morning yoga, sounded really inspiring! We also thought it was nice that they had an philosophical corner, it gives a little bit more consciousness in the area.

A bit further there was an activity that spread the awareness about the status of woman in society. There is a song playing, and we think that the text was being translated on a big scream. In front of the scream there were 3 exercises bikes, so that the people could ride, read and listen at the same time. I wonder if there was only this subject, or also other subjects. Because this would have been very nice to show some problems that are living around the city. If people can get aware of a problem, others might react on it and prevent it to happen again. Around the people who were biking, there were people just listening to the songs and getting aware. That was really nice to see! By doing this activity they try to keep the people informed about the problems living in society and in Kontula. We think that creating awareness is a good step in the direction.

We think the title was something like:’’ let’s pedal Finland back into shape.’’

We think it’s very good that there is something like this spinning thing. I mean, showing the problems of society in an project where the area wants to get a good name. That is really good! It’s good that people know what is playing in other people’s lives. If everybody unites, we can change the world!

While we were walking in Kontula, we saw a big map of Kontula. We thought that was a really good idea, because we wanted to see the Museum of Impossible Sounds and Visions. But had no idea where to find it. We looked at the schedule but we didn’t understand that much Finnish, so we were quite lost. That’s why we would maybe advice to give some information in English as well, so that other cultures can fully enjoy of this event.

URBAN TRANSFORMATION MUSEUM

That’s also why we were pleasantly surprised when we came in the Museum. First it wasn’t a museum like you would visualize yourself. After searching the place for quite some time, we arrived in a room where five people were talking to each other and a group of people listening.  We had no idea we entered a room where they had a discussion about ‘What will happen and is happening to Kontula?’. One of the speakers was from Belgium, so we were surprised by that as well! Their discussion was really interesting. It talked about the changes in Kontula, the similarities and differences in comparison to Helsinki and Kallio for example.

They are seeing some changes in Kontula, that maybe aren’t for the best. Like for example: the banks have already left the area and the post office will leave in one year, what will be the consequences of this for Kontula? I mean, if you want to make a complaint, you have to go the whole way to the police station. The people will have to be more mobile, and go further to get to their service needed. Or they could do it over the internet, but the older people could maybe not get there. Also they saw that it made it change into an area with (groceries)shops, restaurants and bars.

We didn’t stay until the end of this conversation, although this was a really nice event. It talked about problems and solutions for this place, with people talking who studied the Helsinki area. It was also in English, so we thought that was really go. If something is in English, other cultural (minority) citizens could’ve come there and really participate to make the city a tint again.  It was wear dreary so everybody could just attend to that. I think this is really a good thing in Kontula Electro, because besides the nice music, the friendly people and the good food; these moments really helps this area getting better.

VEGE FOOD

In the old post office, Whanda Postti, you could get some vegetarian food that was really good! We were so hungry and only find some hamburgers in the Helmi Grillin Terassi and thought no were else you could get some food. But lucky this charming place offered us a tasty meal! I was amazed by the tastes and was really full when done. We think that in Finland you can really see that some people eat vegetarian food or even eat vegan. In the shops there is a shell for vege- and vegan food. You even have some restaurants only for vegetarian meals.

We took some Mini-taco’s and the curry meal. It was really good! In the curry meal, there were a lot of beans. I never ate them that much in Belgium, because we don’t have much recepies with them; but here I eat them often, and we both really like them! Especially with a red sauce like tomato or something spicy.

We thought it was a really nice idea to make some event for that purpose and in an area like this. We think Kontula is an area where there are a lot of cultures together, and that is a very good thing. Multiversity is good so that we can learn to live together, appreciate the differences and have some fun together! What we maybe did think about, was maybe making an event in Kontula Area where you could find any type of music or food, linked to their culture. Also because we thought that there were a lot of Finnish people in the bars, and not that much different nationalities, although we know they are here.

Still we think that the goal has been achieved, and that it really was nice for all the inhabitants of Kontula to have a place like this. The event took place in the middle of the centre, so that the people living around it, doesn’t have any complaints about the loud music in the night for example. It was really a good place to bring the people together, and enjoy the music and activities!  We hope that in long term period, this really makes a change in the name of Kontula!

A cultural change?

We were thinking about maybe organizing some cultural event, next to the Kontula Electronic. The Electo-event is very good to get the people together, to get them to know each other a bit more and just to let the city live. Also it’s good for the bars and restaurants. But this is not so good for the city, because in the museum of impossible sounds and visions, we heard that it’s not so good that Kontula will be an urban place, maybe it should stay like a city. Most of the people of Kontula agree with this.

We think that there weren’t that much people with another cultural background getting to the event, and that maybe it hasn’t that one ingredient missing to get them also included. What could you do more for social inclusion?

Just like in our internship they try to include everybody by making some special food, like for example; during the kontula Electronic, there were some people in the Youth house making some Afghanistan food. Johannes thought it was really good.

So maybe there could be still some coming together with the people of Kontula, to see what they really need. And it’s important that the minorities of Kontula can participate. I think it must be hard to get the minority in the group and to give them a voice. But they really need it and actually it’s for the best for everybody!

 

 Johannes Vanneste & Deborah Boon

~Love and Unity is the key ~

 

 

The Northern Lights

What pictures come to your mind when you think about Finland? Maybe green forests, a lot of beautiful lakes, crazy Finns and the NORTHERN LIGHTS? Forests, lakes and Finns are easy to find here but to find the northern lights was more difficult than we thought. Probably nearly everybody has seen some fascinating pictures with the beautiful green and purple lights in the sky, but what is the reason for this beautiful spectacle of the nature? The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. So Finland is one of the places to see them!

Now we want to tell you about our quest in search to see the sky enlighten colourful.

First, in the middle of February Samuel and Grégory went to Lapland to discover the beauty of nature. They tried to catch northern lights but it was too cloudy. Every time again they tried to see the spectacle outside, days after days they lost their patience to catch them. Apparently Rovaniemi has too much light pollution and the weather was really bad to see the northern lights at that time. Grégory and Samuel’s last day in Lapland were even more disappointing because they had heard that at the last night some people in the north were able to see it. When eventually Grégory and Samuel came back to Kiljava, explaining their experiences with some of the Finnish students, they’ve been told that there is a possibility to catch some of the northern lights here in Kiljava as well!

Later, in the middle of march 9 fellow students went to Rovaniemi again. They all had a lot of different plans on doing something in Kiljava, but one thing was in common – they wanted to see the northern lights! In the weeks before the trip they were all sure: they would see them! Some of them downloaded apps on their mobile phones explaining that the probability would be high on the weekend, so they planned to go. Assuming if the app said exactly that, then it must be true? In the days before the trip the weather forecast showed cloudy skies. Meaning that it isn’t good for seeing the lights. So for the first night, standing outside, on a frozen lake, with ‘sooo’ many clothes on, the only thing they could see, was… the sky. A normal black sky, that everyone can see everywhere during the night. Sometimes someone said “ahh look there!”, but it was nothing special. It was slightly disappointing but all hopes were focused on the last night of the trip. The weather forecast back then showed that the skies were about to be clear and so there was no reason to become desperate. They had a lot of hope on seeing the lights that last night.

At the last night it was -10 degrees, the sky was clear and they were full of hope but also in expectation to get disappointed. Maybe the positive thoughts in their minds felt also a little bit cold and because of that they weren’t that motivated to be outside for nothing again. So, the last try in Lapland started as followed: Tessy was standing there with her camera (she made all the beautiful pictures we used in this post), Brian used music on his mobile phone to add some sphere and some people started to dance a little bit to get warm. And yes, there was something green at the horizon, but really it was not much. “Really? That’s all? Should we be happy, because we’ve seen anything? Or is it okay to be disappointed?” Tessy made a lot of pictures, but the pictures showed more than you can see with your own eyes. They waited a while with the hope to see better results, but it stayed a really dim light at the horizon. After a while we went inside before we would become ice blocks. Somebody said, that in the next week the probability is high to see the lights in Kiljava, so there was some hope left to see them later.

 

A few days after the journey to Lapland, everyone back at home, Mieke sent in our WhatsApp goup: “We see the northern light now!!!”, Brian: “WAKE UP AND COME”, everybody was soo excited, you could hear the people running, everybody wanted to see them. All ran to the roof and there was something to see, but not so much as expected after this big excitement.

 

A day later it was exact the same. That night the whatsapp message was in dutch: “NOORDERLICHT!!! NOORDERLICHT!!!…” The people started running again and yes – it was the night with the nicest lights for us. Now you could see them definitely. The funny part is, because of excitement, Grégory jumped out of his room and totally forgot his keys inside. It was just after taking a shower, so he stood outside with only his towel. Really… freezing!! Finnish people laughed a lot when they saw Grégory standing at the reception, asking for the key of his door, with only his towel around his waist!

But the Northern lights are really beautiful, just be careful you don’t end up as Grégory…

 

Written by Grégory Voltz and Antonia Koch 🙂

 

 

Music of Finland

Many of us are music lovers, that’s why we want to take you on a trip through the different genres of music that are related to the history of Finland, or those who are widespread in Finnish culture.

Finnish Folk

Finnish folk music is influenced a lot by Karelian tunes. Basically Karelia is an area divided between Finland and Russia. Karelian music is regarded as the purest expression of Finnish music, less influenced by Germanic and other outside elements.

Karelian music in itself is strongly linked to the Kalevala which is a 19th-century work of epic poetry compiled from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore and mythology.
Most of the Karelian tunes are composed with the Kantele, which is a traditional plucked string instrument.

Finnish music is also influenced by the Sami people. They are the native people of Lapland, living between Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. Their music is unique because they use the “Yoik”. It is a traditional form of singing, considered an art form. The sound of “Yoik” is comparable to the traditional chanting of some Native American cultures. It always has a link with a person, a place or the nature. These songs are most of the time highly spiritual and do not have lots of lyrics or rhymes and have no definite structure. They are all about a topic that the singer wants to sing about. In the Northern areas of Scandinavia and Russia, each person often has their own “Yoik”. Sometimes given at birth as a symbol of live.

example of the yoik

Sami folk music

Also, something really Finnish is the Humppa. This kind of music is related to jazz and very fast foxtrot, played two beats to a bar with instruments such as tuba or accordion. The humppa becomes also the name of the famous social dance in Finland. Humppa literally meaning the social dance. All these dances are strong based and have good rhythm to dance on. The dance itself has three forms, the one-step, the two-step and the “Nilkku”. The last one is based on slow/quick/slow rhythm.

Metal and Rock culture

A reason why some of us came to Finland was because of the love for metal and rock music, Finland is THE perfect country for that. A lot of famous metal bands are Finnish, and that kind of music here is quite widespread in the society. We realised that more often even people that don’t listen to metal music have a basic knowledge of it.

Generally, Finnish metal music is really emotionally deep, it gives us goose bumps.
We don’t know why metal music is so common here, but we talked with people in order to answer that question. They responded that maybe it’s because Finnish people are culturally shy, even if we don’t think so, and metal music allow them to let their feelings out in an easier way.

We went to Nosturi, which is a concert hall in Helsinki. There was a famous Finnish band playing, Korpiklaani. They sing mainly in Finnish language, using instruments such as the accordion or the violin. Their lyrics are about nature, alcohol and also spirituality. That’s because the lead singer lived for a few years among a Sami tribe in Lapland, so he was really close to nature, he used to try to communicate with the wolves by imitating their howling. Even now, he is part of another band, more folk music oriented, that uses the “Yoik” way of singing.

and many more concerts will follow 😀

 

Made by The Amazing Sam and The Terrific Brian

We do not own any of the showed video’s or songs that are used in this blog.

 

 

One day in Kiljava

Sun is up – the view from our living room 🙂

Our day start at 8:50 am respectively for those who can survive without coffee. Almost all the alarms start to sound now. So, you can hear how the people start to run to be on time in class. It is time to wake up, have breakfast, get dressed, brush your teeth, pick up the backpack. Maybe you can hear a lazy and tired ”Good morning”. But suddenly, you look at the clock and … 9:13 pm. OH NO!

 

Someone is shouting: “Guys! Hurry, in 2 minutes the class starts!”

 

Then you can hear people running down the aisles. We run down 4 floors to reach at time to class. And there we are! Our small group, with just 12 people in class. We don’t need to speak. Our faces say everything. We are soooo tired.

 

 

The class starts on time at 9:15 am. At 10:00 a.m. we have our first break. Sometimes we have another break at 10:30 am. You should know that Finnish people really love breaks. Really. At 11:00 am. we have lunch… Yes, you read it right. We have our lunch at 11:00 am. So, some of us -the lazy ones, not willing to cook- go to the cafeteria, and ate as much as they can. It is just 2,60 € per lunch and of course it should pay off, I mean Hello? We are poor students! The rest of us goes upstairs to eat kind of breakfast. I must admit it is nearly the same scenario than downstairs. they eat like if they hadn’t eaten in months. So, in the next two hours we almost can’t move because we are full of food. And we ask ourselves the same question everytime: “Why are we so hungry all the time?”

Hissi – the inner values count!

At 12:00 am, we must go back to class. We try not to fall asleep but sometimes it’s so hard. You feel the compassion and support in the face of all your classmates. You are just thinking about your bed, the sofa, Netflix, Fifa.. And another question is coming to your mind: “Why am I so tired all the time?” I really think that it is this country. But well, after three hours, and a looooot of breaks, the class is finally over! That means we go all together to the 6th floor again. Most of the time we take the elevator, which we lovingly call Hissi (it is just the Finnish translation of elevator.. but hey, we cannot be creative all the time) because obviously, we had a very busy day!! As soon as we arrive to our rooms the war starts! All the people want to enter the kitchen. All the people want to eat again! How is it possible? No idea and it doesn’t really matter.

 

Everything you need to get in shape.

If you haven’t died from a food coma, there might be some people which want to hit the gym. I know, it is hard to believe, but it is true! So, put on your sporty clothes and let’s go! But be careful. On the way to the gym people already got lost and were found two days later in the laundry room, confused and anxious. You need to know in advance that the building is like a labyrinth, if you don’t pay attention you might end up at some weird place. But fortunately, there are some signs, so if you aren’t advanced and not in a mood to go on an adventure, just follow them and they will lead you to the gym. Finally you arrived but.. OH NO! You forgot the gym key. Congratulations for that, now you can go all the way back. There is more than one time, where people cancelled their good resolution, because forgetting the key. To stay positive, it is a little workout though. But believe me, once you forgot it, you will never forget it ag ain. If you are not a gym person, you don’t have an excuse because there is also a possibility to swim. It means, if you are not distracted by green water, Kiljava offers the perfect chance to have a relaxing swim in its indoor swimming pool! You are still not convinced? Ok, then you should check out the sauna. Somehow it is like an obligation to go there, it would be even unpolite not to, because it is a typical Finnish thing. So, overcome your personal boarder, get naked

Did I promise to much? But Green is the colour of hope, right?

and enjoy the heat. Top secret: you can also wear a bikini if necessary, but you are here to try something new. So just go for it and like Bruno said: You are beautiful just the way you are! On your way back you look at your watch and realise: WOW, it is 9pm! If you learn one thing during your Erasmus exchange than that time flies. But it has also it good sides because “What time is iiit?” Fooooood time, yes! Just prepare your food and at this time of the day you will never be alone in the living room. Sit down, have a chat, watch a movie or just appreciate this magical atmosphere of a successful day.

 

So now, you might have a feeling how a day in Kiljava is. The people start to wake up, you can hear a lot of different accents, different languages, the sound of a guitar, the smell of some burnt food, laugh, screams. But suddenly you feel like home. All these crazy guys are your new family. Sometimes you would like to kill them. But they are so nice, special and perfect, that you can do nothing but love them.

Our little family <3

 

This amazing post is made by the strongest and most independent woman Ángela Córdoba Caballero and bunny-addict and nutella-banana-bread-lover Laura Hiestermann

 

School on the move

School on the move is a project that the exchange students from Adventure Sport are organising. This project is about organising activites for differents groups of persons. We worked with children, young and adult people. During this experience we have to make teams, help and observe each other during the activities lessons.

Humak:

Adventure students
Adventure Sports students 2016 Nurmijärvi

This group was formed to 4 people, Sini, Lette, Lieke and Niels. The coordinator was Lieke. Our job was make a day to Humak student in Kauniainen. There were two classes, one of them was sing language class and the other, cutural managment class. In the group was 40 students in total, around  19 to 50 years old.

We wanted to make a day to get together and make a teambuilding day, to meet each other, to improve comunnication and trust. We did this in one serie of activities. In the first moment we wanted to do excercise to be warm and excited, with all the group togheter. After that we make four smaller groups and every group was moving around to point to point. We make four differents stops, one of them was low ropes, one was to getting to know each others. Other was trust, and the last one was communication. Then whit the all groups members we make a excercise called cross the line, where the people can learn more about group members. After that we have a little break outside where was coffee and cookies. Later, we came back inside to make feedback and we finish the day.

In the first plan we had a exercise called  rock and water, but we had some problems so we couldn’t do that, so we deleted from the plan. We had some communication problems so we had to adjust to the situation. During this day and the working day we work like a team, solving problems and learn from each other.

Wilderness guides:

Erasmus students hiking,
Wilderness sports Adventure education

This group was formed to 7 people, Megan, Judith, Josephine, Roosmarijn, Sander, Ida and Ángela.  The coordinator of this group was Roosmarijn. Our job was make two days to the Wilderness Guides from Humak. This group is made up for 40 persons, around 21 to 62 years old. They are a very active and enthusiastic group, who they haven’t practised so much reflexion.

We made two different days. The first day we divided the group in 5 smalls groups, and they did 5 small and actives games to improve your team skills. The activities in the first day were: low ropes where we practise team work and experiential learning, funny games just to have fun and getting to know each other, the game without rules where we practised leading and making decision, the improvisation activitie where we practised trust and the small games to improve the teamwork and comunnication skills. Every group was moving around to point to point and play every game. In the finish of the day we make feedback and we drunk coffee and cookies with the Wilderness Guides.

In the second day we made the last day. This day we made three activities where all the group have to work togheter, the goal of this activity was the reflection and the teamwork. In the other hand we made one small and active activity to recover energy. This big activities was leadership quadrant,  island game, airplane game. This activites needed so much time and think about how the team work and the different kind of leader that they have.

In both day we get the goals. We work like a real team, solving problems, with good communication and helping each other. We learnt so much in this two days and during the process, improving our profesional and personal skills.

Maaniitu School:

Adventure sprots Erasmus
Adventure sports students at Maaniitty school

Jessu, Thraen, Alicja, Martin, Stinke, Norbert and Sary organised two days of activities for the Maaniitu school. Jessu was our coordinator.  Our target group were 40 children from the Maaniittu school from Nurmijärvi, the 6th grade, in the age of 11 and 12 years old.

The first day we trained the children to become detectives. We had a five groups of children, they went from activity to activity with their groupleaders. The activities had different goals, but were mostely active and meant to improve teamwork and self esteem. We had an escape room, where the children have to free the mad scientist. When the children completed their task, they get a sticker. They can put their sticker on their detective ID card, at the end of the day they collect all the stickers and they became real detectives.

The second day we had a real detective task for the children. They free the mad scientist the first day, but he was not as good as they thought. He stole all the marshmallows of the world. The children have to go around the world to find hints and bring the marshmallows back. We had different activities, all linked to our home countries and to the detective story. Most activities were still about having fun, teamwork and self esteem. When they completed a task, they got a piece of the puzzle. At the end of the day, all the groups have to put all the puzzle pieces together and find out where the marshmallows are. At the time the children find the box with the marshmallows, they have to figure out the code, by using the puzzle.

Adventure Sports 2016

 

 

 

Learning new Adventure Sports skills

Since we started our Adventure Sports course there has not been one day were we haven’t learned anything.

It already started in our first week. First of all, we got to know each other better by playing team building games. Shortly after we started planning our hiking trip to Pallas. We learned how to pack our backpack, make a food plan, how to read a map and use a compass. There is a very simple way of packing just necessary things. Just ask yourself three simple questions: Do I need it? Is it heavy? Can I survive without that? All these skills we put into practice during our classes: how to use a stove with gas bottle, how to put up our tents and tarps, where to put it up and how to make right knots, etc.

2016 Adventure sports group Kiljava
Nurmijarvi-adventure-sports-2016-low-ropes-Josephine-Antrack

After theoretical classes, training part we finally had the chance to hike in Pallas and use our new skills in real situations in nature … and we survived!

Adventure sports hiking
Nurmijärvi-Adventure-Sports-2016-hiking-Aniina-Seikola

And even more, we’ve learned new skills that made our hike more successful, interesting, fun and respectful of Nature:

  • chopping wood using an axe
  • using a knife
  • poo in the woods
  • Everyman’s rights
  • orienteering in nature
  • Lappish culture and traditions
  • leadership skills and team work
  • different ways of reflecion

 

wood-chopping
Nurmijärvi-Adventure-Sports-2016-wood-chopping-Alicja-Niesmialowska

In our third week we started kayaking adventure. We started with expending our safety zones by practicing wet exit in the indoor-pool and getting to know the new equipment.

Pool practice
Nurmijärvi-Adventure-Sports-2016-pool-practice-Alexander-Andeweg

The most challenging part was doing wet exit and rescuing in freezing lake (in case we capsize). After that we started being instructed with paddling techniques, leadership and safety issues. We also learned how to do maintenance before and after paddling. Now we can paddle on our own!

Paddling in red canoes
Nurmijarvi-Adventure-Sports-2016-paddling-Roosmarijn-Steenkamp

The next adventure sport was climbing. We started with “dry practice”, first we got to know the equipment (harnesses, carabiners, ropes), we learned how to use it, we practiced belaying inside and outside. Next each of us had the chance to build a tower of crates and create a low rope course. We had a great chance to practice and improve our new skills during two trips to indoor climbing hall and high rope course. In this experience we have learned a lot about trust to yourself, each other and the equipment. We have improved our self-confidence, self-esteem, empathy and we learned social and personal skills as communication, teamwork, problem solving and controlling fear and feelings.

low ropes
Nurmijarvi-Adventure-Sports-2016-low-ropes-Josephine-Antrack

To sum it up: in one month we learned how to hike, climb and kayak … that’s not too bad right?

During all of our trips and adventures we’ve learned more skills than just the physical once. We’ve learned how to interact with others in a group, how to empower and help each other, to build up trust, to talk about our fears and share emotions and at the end how to reflect the past experience.

All skills we’ve gained during the learning experiences are not only valid for adventure education but they are also very practical and useful in everyday life.

What we enjoy a lot about Adventure Education is that classrooms are not just inside and lessons are not just theoretical, everything we learn we put into practice outdoors. After a whole month of really intensive learning and practice we are ready to pass on our knowledge to others, for example our upcoming Schools on the Move Project…to be continued.

And remember … slowly, slowly … step by step! 😉

Judith, Alicja, Norbert and Josephine

 

Adventure Sports

Adventure Sports group
Nurmijärvi Adventure Sports group 2016

Kiljavan Opisto is not regular Erasmus student building. We are living in a hotel, and we form part of one of the two adventure education programs going on in Humak at the moment (our international and one Finnish group). Our group is very small: 19 students from which 5 Finns, 8 Dutch, 2 Spanish, 1 Polish, 1 American and 2 German. The first week was very interesting and different and the same goes on. Here the learning is not only happening in the class but everywhere. You share your space with the other students all the time. We eat together and sleep together. We improve our social skills while being in contact with the nature and the theories of adventure education by staying in contact with the other students, building an awesome community.

The campus is situated near a beautiful lake and huge forests to wander around. We also have access to the hotel swimming pool, sauna and gym. Our program includes hiking, kayaking and climbing. Everyone is super excited to start, our schedule looks awesome with loads of outside action and some reflection. Forget about tests and scores because this is a place for some deeper learning about methodologies and theories of groups and leadership in action using adventure education. It’s a also a great opportunity to learn about yourself and do some internal research.

 

Adventure sports includes also cooking
Nurmijärvi Adventure Sports group cooking Roosmarijn Steenkamp

“Times goes fast when you’re having fun” and it seems like here we’ve been having a lot of fun, because these two weeks have passed so quickly. At the class, during the first 5 days we established some (pretty nice) rules for the group, played introductory games prepared ourselves, and have some new knowledge about safety skills and adventure skills for the upcoming trip to Pallas National park by learning how to put up our tents, how to use the stoves by preparing food on the beach and how (and what) should we pack to have the best hiking experience.

As the second week started everything was ready: foods planned, backpacks fully packed and repacked and finally the bus arrived to pick us up and our trip to Lapland started. We walked according to our plan every day and at the same time learned how to read a map and use compasses. By doing and redoing we had the possibility to improve every day. We found new ways of walking, packing our stuff and having lunch on the go. Some dry breads, not so soft pasta and slightly cold nights but Lapland treated us well.

Jessu, Roosmarijn, Sander, Martín

 

 

Finnish Culture

The Finnish language

There are a lot of things we learned about the Finnish culture during our stay in Finland. But what we are absolutely sure of, is that the Finnish language doesn’t sound like any other language we ever heard before. It doesn’t sound like Swedish. It doesn’t sound like Russian. We don’t know what it sounds like. Sometimes it sounds like a language of a fantasy story. For example the difference between some words in Finland, compared to that from other countries:

Falsi Fout Falsk Falsoequateursystem

The words ’false’, ‘system’ and ‘equator’ in different languages.

Do you see the difference compared to Finland?

Not only is it a very rare language, it is also a hard language to learn. While our stay in Finland we talked about the language a lot. For example, some Finnish girls learned us about the two word sentence ‘Kuusi palaa’. But what is so special about these words? Well, a lot. This two word sentence has nine different meanings. NINE! It means the following things:

  1. the spruce is on fire
  2. the spruce is returning
  3. the number six is on fire
  4. the number six is returning
  5. six of them are on fire
  6. six of them are returning
  7. your moon is on fire
  8. your moon is returning
  9. six pieces

Crazy right?

Not only are there a lot of Finnish words who have more meanings. There are also a lot of really long Finnish words. For example the word: Lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas, what means: “airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student”. Good luck remembering that!

Another remarkable thing about the Finnish language is the tongue twister “ Kokoo kokoon koko kokko! Koko kokkoko? Koko kokko”. You would think it is never possible that these two sentences are having a real meaning. But it really has: “Gather up a full bonfire! A full bonfire? A full bonfire”. Welcome to the finnish language

Good luck trying to differentiate everything….

But enough about the remarkable things the Finnish language has. Time for a short English lesson! We will learn you some words we used and heard the most while our stay.

Hello Moi
Thank you Kiitos
You’re welcome Ole hyvä
Good morning Hyvää huomenta
Good day Hyvää päivää
Good evening Hyvää iltaa
Good night Hyvää yötä
Beer Olut

These are probably the most important words to learn when you want to visit in Finland. Of course you can learn more, but we can tell you, it is really hard to remember everything.

Conclusion of the Finnish language from us: we have gotten a lot of respect for the Finnish speaking population while our stay here, that’s for sure.

The Finnish food
 

The pea soup!

I was doing my dishes in the communal kitchen when a Finnish girl was coming in.

She took a cant and emptied the content in a saucepan. When we saw the colour of the soup, we both agreed…. “It looks like no good”! It’s one of the reasons why children don’t like it! But the girl loves this traditional Finnish food. She put mustard on the top and it was ready to eat! In fact, in Finland it’s not common to make this soup. The reason why the Finnish people buy this soup directly, and not make it themselves, is not because of a lot of ingredients… It’s only water and peas! But some people add jam on the top!

During the Finnish wars, the army ate this soup. The military could make and eat it easier than another food!

Enjoy your soup!

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Karjalanpiirakka!

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What is this food?! Each supermarket sells it… I have seen a Finnish student girl get it out of the oven… It looked like a base with cheese inside. But we couldn’t smell the cheese. It was very interesting but I was too shy to ask if I could try some. So I have asked questions about this mysterious food that Finnish people don’t propose to share! :p

It’s a traditional pastry from Eastern Finland. It’s composed by raze and not cheese!… It’s amazing because inside this Finnish speciality there is rice, but in Finland we can’t grow this cereal… “What is the fuck!?”

This food is for all moments of the day! If you are hungry before going to a party .. Eat Karjalanpiirakka! If you come back at three o’clock in the morning and you are hungry…. Eat Karjalanpiirakka!

There is some variance to replace the rice. For instance you can make a Karjalanpiirakka with potatoes or carrots. You can also transform it in a real treat. In fact, if you agree with yourself to prepare your summer body later, you can add butter or eggs on the top!

Ingredients Nutrition

Servings 16 Units US

Directions

  1. For the Filling:.
  2. In a saucepan combine the water and rice. Bring to a boil.
  3. Stir, cover, and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the milk, cover, and continue cooking until the milk is completely absorbed and the rice is soft and creamy.
  5. Preheat oven to 450°F
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. For the Pastry:
  8. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the water, salt, and rye and white flours to make a stiff dough.
  9. Shape the dough into a log and cut into 16 portions and shape each into a round.
  10. On a lightly floured board, roll out each round into a 6-inch circle.
  11. Spread about 3 tablespoons of filling evenly on each round.
  12. Fold two opposite edges of the pastry over the filling and crimp the edges of the dough toward the center to make an oval-shaped pastry, allowing about 1/2-inch of the crust to overlay the filling and leaving the center of the filling exposed.
  13. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  14. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter and hot milk and brush on the pastries.
  15. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, brushing once during baking, until the pastries are golden on the edges.
  16. Remove from the oven and brush again.
  17. For the Egg Butter:.
  18. In a small bowl, cream the butter. Stir in the eggs.
  19. Season with the white pepper and ground ginger, if desired.
  20. Yield: 1 cup.
  21. Cool the pastries and serve with the egg butter at room temperature.

 

Be careful when you choice your pizza!!

I was on my computer when my French friend, Arnaud, said to me: “Alex, with the Finnish and Belgium girls, we will eat pizza! If you want, you can choose your pizza with the girls in the living room!” It was interesting…. No need to do the dishes afterwards.. Only wait on your sofa for the delivery man. So, I went to the living room where the girls were choosing their pizza. I took the document to read the options.

All the ingredients were written in Finnish… Good luck! So…. I asked Finnish girl if there is pizza with kebab meat. It’s one of my favourites. She said to me yes! So, I trusted her and I ordered this one…

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But I didn’t get all the right information! The pizza was full of hot peppers…. Enjoy your pizza! So, I had to separate the hot peppers from the pizza because after I ate half, my mouth was on fire!

A few weeks after, we went eating in a Pizzeria in Helsinki. I wanted to find a nice Pizza Kebab! So, I asked the guy of the restaurant whether he knows if the pizza with kebab meat is hot. His answer was “no”. Perfect! I ordered this one! Finally, it was also with hot pepper!!!

menu pizza

So last time, before ordering, I took my best friend “Google translation” to find my perfect pizza. And surprise! I found the hot pizza!

And the hot thing on the pizza turned out to be ‘Jalapeno’s’. My advice to you is: if you don’t like spicy food, never order something with jalapeno’s!

 

menu pizza with jalapeno

 

Going out

When I think of Erasmus I think of drinking, partying and meeting everyday new people. The thing is going out while living in Kiljava campus is difficult! We live in the middle of nowhere…

 

However, every Wednesday they organise a karaoke evening. This already ends at 00.30! Still, this can be nice. Maybe someone has a hidden singing talent 😉 the not so nice part of karaoke is that a lot of old people come over. They drink a lot and only sing old Finnish songs…

 

Another thing that makes going out difficult is the price of alcohol. This is really expensive. For a good beer you pay around 10€. You can’t just buy alcohol in a normal store. Here you’ll only find beer with low percentage and non-alcoholic wine. For the real alcohol you have to go to an Alko and again this is not so close to our campus.

 

This all sound pretty depressing so why are we still happy?

We went to Tallinn! We stayed in an amazing party hostel. Going out in Estonia is really cheap especially after living in Finland 😉 even the Finnish people go to Tallinn to buy their alcohol and that’s what we did. Now we can just make our own party’s at the campus. And if you’re in good company live is always a party 😉

 

If you want to go out in Helsinki I would recommend an Irish pub. You can party here all night long (or until 2.15 because the last bus to the campus is at 2.30). They have live bands and in the pub itself they play different music styles so it’s a place for everyone.

 

Last but not least you can always ask the Finnish students for some good places. If you’re lucky they even have extra space in their car. Then they love to bring you to some clubs 🙂