Our Autumn Holiday

Holidays in Finland

We had our autumn holidays in Finland and what is the best thing to do when you have holidays. Traveling off course! So that’s what we did. This blog will be written by Isabell from Germany, Sanne, Lieke and Meike from The Netherlands. Everyone has written something about their experience during the holidays. Isabell and Sanne went to Sweden to spend their holidays there and Lieke went to Estonia (Talinn) and Meike went to Russia (Sint-Petersburg).

Off to Sweden!

After having had adventures in Finland for six weeks, we were ready for something new. So we decided to leave this lovely country and take the ferry to Sweden! The boat trip was amazing. We sailed through the stunning islands on the coast at sunrise and through the archipelago of Åland during the afternoon.

Although we expected Sweden to be very much like Finland, we soon found that both the countries are quite different. Not only was nature in Sweden (slightly) different from that in Finland, the people turned out to be different too. Only when we arrived in Stockholm, we realized that Helsinki and Finland in general have quite a special atmosphere. Only after we left the country, we found out that Fins are in general quieter than Swedes, Germans, Dutchies or other Europeans. We met a man on the ferry who told us that the history of Finland has something to do with this. We have not researched it yet, but it is definitely food for thought!

We stayed in Stockholm for two nights. Although the city was nice, we were longing to go to the countryside again, so we did. We decided that we wanted to go to Fulufjället National Park, a park which we chose because its landscape is so different from the Finnish scenery. We thought we could hitchhike there, since hitchhiking in Finland works very well. After we had waited for five hours in Stockholm, however, we realized that the Swedes might be a bit less open for it than the Fins. We decided to take a train out of the city and try it again. Although we did get a few rides this time, we did not reach the park by night, as we had hoped. So we picked out a stunning spot along the highway and we camped there, with the beautiful background noises of passing cars.

Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer Hitchhiking

The next day, we took the bus to the National park. Or so we thought; the nearest bus stop was 30 kilometres from the park though. So we walked. And walked. And walked. We, again, found a beautiful place to camp, this time on a parking place next to the road. Luckily, an employee from Fulufjället National Park gave us a ride to the park the next day, and we finally reached our destination!

The park was absolutely amazing. We will not even try to describe it with words, we will just illustrate it with a few of the pictures we took.

Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer Fulufjallen National Park
Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer Waterfall
Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer lake in fullufjallen National Park
Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer Thundra
Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer Making fire wood
Humak Nurmijarvi Erasmus 2018 Photographer Sanne Meijer Hut in the National Park

The whole journey was an adventure education experience for us and we learned a lot from it. Hitchhiking, for example, taught us to be patient and to control our emotions. Because our trip had some unexpected turns, we also learned to accept it if not everything happens according to the plan. We learned much by doing, and we even practiced our camping and hiking skills! It was a lot of fun!

Off to Russia!

My name is Meike and I’m from The Netherlands. During my Erasmus in Finland I went to Russia to spend my days off. I chose for Russia because I will never get the change to go there. From Finland it’s so much easier to go there without visa troubles. I booked my trip to Sint Petersburg with the organization TimeTravels. This organization organize trips specially for students. So that was for us, Erasmus students, a really nice opportunity to go. So now I will tell you something about my experience!

We left Finland by boat, it was a really big cruise ship. The boat was called Princess Anastasia. I never been on a cruise ship so I was a bit nervous. I couldn’t expect how it would be to sleep on a boat and how to party on a boat. Yes, we could party on the boat. There were different places on the boat where you could eat, drink or party. After a nice show on the boat, there was time to party!

The next day we had to wake up early because we had to leave the boat on time. We were ready to go off the boat but we had to wait very very long. We arrive in Russia. They are really strict at the borders, so it took a really long time that we could go over the borders. There was a long line in front of the passport control. After 5 hours in total we finely arrive Saint-Petersburg.

After a short tour through Saint-Petersburg we arrived at the hostel. The hostel was totally new. I never slept in a hostel like that. Big kitchen, big rooms, big bathrooms witch we only had to share with 4 and WIFI on every room.
When we arrived at the hostel we had to prepare for the ballet. With a small group we went to the ballet, Swanlake. I think it was impressive. I never been to ballet in the Netherlands but because Russia is well known about their good dancers, I really want to visit it. It was worth it!

So after a nice sleep in the hostel, we woke up early because we wanted to join the free walking tour. During the tour we got a lot of information about the history of Russia and we saw almost the whole center of Saint-Petersburg. Even when the sun was shining my hand and feet were really cold and they were turning blue. That was the sign to go inside. After a nice (cheap) lunch, we continue exploring the city on our own. We visit some highlights in the city and off course we took a look at the souvenirs.
After walking for the whole day it was time to eat. We went to the hard rock café, it was placed next to the hostel. We ate a lot of spareribs and drank a few cocktails and off course we could go away without drinking a shot of vodka. That was the beginning of a party night in Saint-Petersburg. In the hostel we continued drinking nice drinks and afterwards we went to the club. The club was open for only all the students who were traveling with TimeTravel. That was a really big group!

The next day we woke up early too because we had to check-out. This day we were travelling back to Helsinki but first we visit the Hermitage museum. This is a really big museum placed in the Winter Palace. In the museum you saw a lot of gold, Russia is well known about their gold buildings and architects. And afterward is was already time to travel back. We arrived at the cruise again, but this time the party was not that big anymore. Everybody was tired of the trip and some students had to travel further to Talinn by boat. So they needed their sleep. So when we arrived in Helsinki the holiday was over.

Back to school again!

Off to Talinn!

Everyone went their own way during the autumn holidays. What did we have wild ideas and cool destinations on the schedule.

So many of us went to visit the neighboring country Estonia. The capital Tallinn is from Helsinki only two hours by boat. Tallinn has an old city center where you feel like you have entered a time machine. You think you are in medieval spheres. Wonderful to immerse yourself for a day or even more.

The city has a lot of history, during a guided walk we have heard a lot of information about the city. This was very interesting! Because did you know that Estonia was in the hands of: Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Russia?! And besides that there are many interesting and beautiful facts told. The city has had a city wall for a long time and parts of it have been preserved and transformed into a museum. At one of the many viewpoints you almost feel like a prince or princess who can be admired to his or her city. The magical colors of autumn and the last rays of the sun have certainly helped with this image, but even without it it’s pretty nice 😉

Besides the beautiful views, beautiful buildings and the medieval feeling. Tallinn is also worth a visit for cozy eateries where they also serve delicious food! All in all Tallinn is a cozy and nice city to be and definitely a must!

Once back on campus, we were flooded with holiday stories! Delicious. We are on half of our education, which means that our Finnish adventure will be over again in 6 weeks. Time flies! Fortunately, we still have a lot of beautiful things the prospect. Starting with the schools on the move project that we started last week! You will read more about that in the next blog!!

Foto made by Laura Verstraete

Foto made by Laura Verstraete



Our trip to Pallas National Park

So the last weeks were very exciting. We went to Pallas National Park for a hike. Also we got more classes at the campus whose where very interesting.

Pallas hike

In those two last weeks our adventure experience had grown considerably, first we went on our hiking trip to Pallas and we stayed there 4 days. If we have to describe our hiking trip in one word, we’d say that it’s a rollercoaster, we experienced as a group all tips of emotions, but at the end everyone enjoyed all parts of it. The first day, before our hiking trip, we ate a reindeer soup, which it gave us enough energy to walk the first 6km to Nammalakuru: meeting point where we were camping that night. As we were walking we enjoyed the first beautiful views of the national park, and we learned to write our names in the books that we found in each hut. After putting our tents in Nammalakuru, we started the workshops. Thanks to those, we learned how to cut the wood with a knife and an axe without hurting our self, and last but not least we learned all man rights which it teaches how to behave and respect the nature. Now we are able to cut the woods independently without the help of our instructors.

The second day of our hiking trip, all tents group were divided in different groups, that way we had the chance to be with other people. Before we started hiking we did some warmups, everyone had to came up with a physical exercise, then we chose a leader and a backup. Everyone had the chance to be a leader and a backup during the hike, we changed roles every time that we stopped to take a break. The tasks that the leader had to do were guiding the group during a while, decide when and where the group should stop to have lunch or water, and make sure if the other members of the group are okay. We walked 14km, and we hiked in Lumikero that was 680 meters high. We arrived to Hanakulu and after we accommodated our gear in the huts, we went to a traditional sauna, were we had a lake closer to it. The sauna was really small, and we had to shear it with other women, to make some space some of us went to swim in the lake and then come back running, because it was freezing. After the boys came back from the Sauna, we had a meeting with our instructors inside the hut. In the meeting we had a reflection, about how the day went, and what kind of mental, social and physical struggles we had during the day, everyone had the chance to explain and express their own experience. After the meeting we had some free time, but we were very tired that everyone went early to sleep.

The third day of our hiking trip, we started with a relaxing activity, everyone had to walk in silence the first kilometre, and we had to keep at least 15 meters between each other, so we managed to be completely alone and in contact with the nature. One of the challenges and also hazard that we had that day was the weather, it was really cold, and every time that we advanced in our hike the rain and the fog was getting heavier. At the end of the day some of us had some wet gear, but we managed well. Before our reflection meeting we went to the reindeer fenches and we learned some information about them, and that they were a sign of wealth, so we guess that the farmers that owned them are rich. We went back to the hut, we started a fire and all of us sited around it, while we were having our last reflection.

The last day we made our hiking trip independently, the instructors indicated us which way we should follow and where we were meeting to have lunch, this time all together. The meeting place was a hut next to a beautiful lake. We rested there until it was time to hike to the main street to get in the bus that was taking us to Akaslompolo. We made some knife and groceries shopping, and after that we all had pizza for dinner.

Pallas reflection

The week after the hike it was time for the reflection. Everyone off us had to write their own reflection on paper and had it done by Friday. On Monday we had an independent study day, so we could work on the reflection.

On Tuesday we had our reflection lesson from Sini. She explained why reflection was so important and told us how we could make it our own. We got also an assignment in groups to make a reflection in different styles. Each group did make an other sort of reflection. There was a PowerPoint presentation, slide show, poem, mime and a drawing. It was very interesting how everybody made the reflection. Below you can see some of the work.

A showcase made by Azzura, Sara and Isabell:


We started our Hiking adventure all together

The intense emotions we felt will stay in our hearts forever

Pallas and its beautiful nature looked like a dream

Especially during Rykima the colours were supreme

With each challenge we overcame

We did become stronger in the confidence game

We advent to a more pure state of mind

Hiking is the best way to unwind

It has a way to make you feel lighthearted

Unless someone in the hut intensely farted

A trip like this can get real frustrating

But at the same time illuminating

the exciting feeling we get

is something we’ll never forget

Luckily nobody brought a gun

that would ruin the fun

We learned to calm our mind

But now it’s time to leave the forest behind

On my heart Pallas left a stain

I want to do it all over again

– Ruben, Noor, Caymen & Chris –


Slideshow made by Sjeel, Paulina and Meike.


A pictures of the mime, made by Lieke, Marc, Paulien, Nomedia

Campus Life

When we got home from the hike our postbox was full of cards! Was very nice to read all the nice letters from home. Also all the letters are nice to decorate our rooms, so it feels I little bit more like home.

The first two days after Pallas were cozy. We had the chance to get some sleep – whose we really needed after three nights in tents and two nights in a train and to start our reflection. The new week started with an Opening Day organized by Finnish students of Humak. We got the chance to get in touch with other people in little games and to give an overview of us in a presentation, whose was rounded by a video.

VIDEO LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQirr7f5Qo0

We spend the next days out- and inside with learning how to safe ourselves and our buddies when we’re going indoor climbing, which gear we need to do that and how to build a low rope park. We think everybody’s special highlight was the box climbing. Sjeel, Sara and Marc climbed up 20 crates!

With the start of the weekend, we got the task to write an essay about the history of Adventure Education, which felt like the start for the theoretical base for us. This came out also this week. After a lot of sports and being outdoors, we had a whole week of lectures about leadership and group management and got group tasks. However, that didn’t mean to sit a whole day in a classroom and being bored because one of it is to organize independent hiking and paddling trips, where safety is our best friend again 😉

Our free time after the hike and lessons was well spend. Some people went to Helsinki for the weekend. They went clubbing and the next day they went to the trampoline park, which was really awesome! Also people went for day trips to Helsinki to visit the beautiful island Soumenlinna, or just went to some museums. Nomedia went to the city museum of Helsinki, she advises others to go there also! A bunch of people did go for a afternoon climbing and they had a lot of fun!

We are very exciting what is coming the next few weeks. And also we are looking forward to the vacation. People planned lots of things like trips to home, Sint Petersburg, Tallin, Riga and of course Pallas.

Moi Moi!

Written by: Sjeel, Paulina and Nomedia.


Humak Beings – First Weeks, BAM!


We all came from different places and had different journeys. Getting here was interesting, but we made it. Roel’s first night was spent on a boat while both Marc and Caymen took a long bus directly to campus. Arriving with all our luggage was difficult at first, but we were all eager to begin the adventure that awaited us.

Marc lands in Helsinki
Airbnb Roel Helsinki
Caymen’s stuff at Toronto Pearson Airport (60kg)










All of us arrived a week early in order to get accustom to our surroundings. At first the buildings maze like structure confused us, but we soon were able to navigate it with ease. The campus offered many amenities, one of our favourites being disc golf, a game in which Roel often emerged the victor. There are many natural spots we enjoyed as well, such as the lake Sääksjärvi. Here we are able to swim to our hearts content, even though the water is frigid. The people also made our time here great. Wednesday karaoke has been a blast so far and we hope it continues to be. Spending time on campus is truly enjoyable and we look forward to making more memories here.

Finnish Confusion Blocker for concentration



Swimming in the cold lake
The view is stunning





Of course, Finland is much larger than the campus, so we have tried to see as much of it as we can. From day trips to the stores in Helsinki to day hiking trips there has been so much to experience. We have explored Helsinki, where Marc was able to find his beloved Spanish sausages. Here we also saw Lapsipalatsi square and many other sights the city had to behold. The islands were also a place of great interest and we were astonished by their beauty. Our trips were not just contained to urban areas, we also took a day hike to Kuhakoski rapids. The trip was long, but amazing. We experienced different terrain and had a wonderful time.

Marc with Spanish sausages


Day trip to Helsinki


Boat trip to suomenlinna


Taking pictures of the view




Sara keeping in touch with friends back home


You can see all of Helsinki


Helsinki by night



Helsingin tuomiokirkko
Uspenskin katedraali
















Hiking to the rapids


It’s a long way away


Posing at the rapids


Traversing the area




Finland is beautiful


Walking at night



First of all, Sini share with us more information about the university and the surroundings. The first week, we start subject that name is play and games. On the reflections, the students share a lot of ideas of the objectives for this subject. We talk about warm up, communication, trust, safety, cooperate with each other. At the end of the first week, we started to practice kayak in the pool. The Erasmus students are excited for try it and do the wet exits. On the afternoon, we can get the kayak on the lake. On this second week, we have trust with the kayaks and we can do wet exits on the lake. We can get the kayaks when we want to use it. During this week, we talk about the planing of the Pallas trip too. Sini shows us all the clothes and food, we have to take it. The week ends on the forest, when we learn do tents and tarps.

Learning how to Kayak

Gear lesson



When we arrived at the campus we were greeted by one of the tutors, that was Mika. Mika helps the students to find their way on the Nurmijarvi campus, answers all the questions the students have, drives people to the supermarket, tells a lot of Finnish jokes. He is probably the reason why everyone felt at home so quickly. The joker.


Campus adventures

Campus life

We lived on the 6th floor and 7th floor. The floors under us were hotel rooms. The area around the hotel and the building was quite big and there were many options for things to do. We could go to the Gym anytime we wanted to and the pool and the sauna were open from Monday to Friday. Downstairs on the 3rd floor we had a pool table and usually once a week there was a karaoke night for all hotel guests. In winter time we went on the lake and did a few activities on the lake, such ice swimming, ice fishing, cross country skiing…

As soon as the ice on the lake began to melt, we went swimming in the lake and took a boat to go around. We all had our rooms on the 6th floor. We were 16 Erasmus students and 3 Finnish students and we all shared a small kitchen together and the living room. It was really crowded from time to time and especially in the beginning, but we worked it out pretty well. We also organized some basic rules for the living together and a cleaning plan, which was necessary!

For class we had to go down to the 2nd floor, it started at 9am, so we didn’t even have to leave the building. Lunch was always at 11 in the cafeteria: we had to get used to this because it is so early. But the lunch was quite good and there was always a fresh salad and also a vegetarian or vegan option. You could also tell them if you have special diets.

We had to get used to the living together but it was really nice that there was always somebody to talk to. If we didn’t want to talk to anybody, we just went to our rooms and closed the doors. We respected our personal space and our belongings. We watched TV Shows together, had meals together, we had parties together and we shared many laughs together.

Outdoor activities

The area around campus offers a variety of possibilities if you are interested in different outdoor activities that are connected to nature. It is possible to borrow the equipment from the school if you don’t have your own.  For example in winter time, when the lake was frozen, we borrowed some ice skates and wild nature skis from school and used them in the weekend to do some winter sports. We had a lot of fun, especially when our families were visiting us, who never tried something like this before.

The school also arranged some activities. For example in the school there was another course for people who were studying to become nature guides. One man had to do his exam and had to lead our international group. This was a good chance for him and us: one Saturday morning we went together with the group, met him and we all did some snowshoeing in the forest. It was a new and really fun experience for most of us. Snowshoes are used to walk on top of the deep snow, without falling in the snow. It looks like a duck’s leg. You can also use them to go down a hill. After that we all went to do some ice fishing together with the tour guide and made a fire outside to barbecue some sausages. It was a really fun day for all of us, filled with lot of new and different activities.

In general there are a lot of cross-country ski roads passing  our campus area and it is very easy to go out of the house and do some winter sports. Nowadays, when the snow has melted, the roads become wonderful walking roads, where you can walk for hours and hours enjoying the wonderful nature during that time. In Finland forests are sometimes so wild that you might not meet anyone for hours when you’re walking. The forests are so beautiful and green and seem almost magical. If you are lucky, you will find another lake inside the forest, because Finland is a country with a lot of lakes. But even if you don`t meet people during your walk in forest you can still see a lot of cottages, because in Finland people like to come and spend their weekends there in the silence and peace.

The lake also gives a lot of sport opportunities in summer. You can have a nice rest in the sand next to the lake, you can go swimming or just enjoy the beautiful view.

Other nice options are disc golf and orienteering roads. For orienteering the main point and start is next to the campus: you can download the map in your mobile phone and after you can go to different points in the forest. You will register all these points with your mobile phone and then you will see where is the next point. You can run and try to do this as fast as possible and afterwards compare your time with others online. It is a really fun and exciting way to get to know the area better and also spend some nice time in this wonderful nature.

Sauna and ice swimming

On the 27th of February, when the local temperature was minus 27 degrees, the Erasmus group had the opportunity to use the sauna by the lake. Put more than ten women, some of which were still not comfortable with the blatant nudity, together in quite a small sauna and you will surely have a good time.

There was a cosy and relaxed atmosphere in the sauna. Whenever someone wanted to leave about 5 people had to move positions, but this added a humorous aspect to the experience.

It turned out that this was not our only challenge of the day: we also had the opportunity to go ice swimming, a very popular sport amongst the Finnish people. In the end to my surprise almost everyone ended up jumping the water.

Most of us only stayed under for a couple of seconds, but one Finnish student even decided to wash himself with some snow.

Reactions from home were mostly along the lines of: “You didn’t stay in there for a very long time, did you?” Next time, folks.

Below you can find a photo of the ice swimming experience.


Besides of sitting in the class rooms, we did also a little excursion in the adventure education. On a nice and sunny day in May we took the canoes and did a paddling trip around the lake Sääksjärvi . First our instructor did an exercise with the group to find out on what kind of stress level we were. After this she explained everything important to us and then we took the canoes and did a practice run to improve our skills and to familiarize us with the group and the methods to turn, to stop and to move forwards and backwards. After the lunchbreak we took the canoes again and we started paddling to the little island. We did a break around the island and then moved on to a little lake next to the big one. We had to paddle through a really small and narrow canal to reach the smaller one.

After all it was a great experience and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. More expressions are in the video below.

We had the most wonderful time on campus! Thank you for the amazing experiences!

Jessica, Svenja, Taisi, Iris


Helsinki city

Hello Helsinki visitor. I would like to invite you to read our blog in which we suggest you some of the most popular tourist attractions in the capital of Finland. We tried to collect some places which could be interesting for you and hope you will spend a nice time in the third largest city in the Nordic countries.

The Design Museum

By many people, Helsinki is known as a City of Design. In 2014 the city received the UNESCO title City of Design. You can’t leave Helsinki without taking a look at the Design District. Many galleries, design shops and museums are located in this area of the city, with the Design Museum as one of the highlights. The museum gives you an introduction in the history of design, even as contemporary design. The focus is on Finnish design, but there is also design from other countries housed in the museum. To check the current exhibitions, check the website: http://www.designmuseum.fi/en/. After visiting the museum, take some time to talk about what you just saw, drink a nice cup of coffee and let yourself inspire by each other.

The following website will give you an overview of everything which is worth to visit in the Design District: https://designdistrict.fi/en/map/?filter=all.


The Cable Factory

The Cable Factory is the cultural centre of Helsinki. From 1940 until the ‘80s the building was used by Nokia to make cables. Nowadays it houses three museums: the Hotel and Restaurant Museum, the Finnish Museum of Photography and the Theatre Museum. Besides there is a book store, a restaurant, eleven galleries, art schools, artists bands, dance theatres and companies active in the creative industry. This makes it a perfect place for a relaxing cultural Sunday or just an easy way to see all kind of different cultural places without much travelling time.

More information about The Cable Factory can be found on their website: https://www.kaapelitehdas.fi/en/info.

  Cable Factory | Helsinki | Pictures | Geography im Austria ...    installation view at the courtyard of Cable Factory, Helsinki

pictures from : http://austria-forum.org/af/Geography/Europe/Finland/Pictures/Helsinki/Cable_Factory

and : http://www.yukiokumura.com/works/ss/helsinki.html

Arkadia bookshop

Close to the Rock Church, a small bookshop is hidden so well that you would almost cross it without giving it any attention. It is the perfect bookshop to visit as an Erasmus group, because you can find books from all over the world. Finnish, Swedish, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, German, French… The chance is big that every student will find a book in her/his mother tongue. Beside the wide range of international books, the bookshop is already worth it to visit because of the friendly and hospitable owner, the old-fashioned design and the cosy ambiance. Take a book, buy a tea and set yourself in a chair to read in whatever language you want!

Visit the website by this link: http://www.arkadiabookshop.fi/.


pictures from : http://www.arkadiabookshop.fi/photos/

The Winter Garden

No metter in which season you are visiting Helsinki, the Winter Garden is always a good choice. If you are interested in exotic plants and you need a place to relax, inside the garden you can enjoy your coffee or tea on the benches. In case you need guided tours should be negotiated in advance. In summer and autumn time you can also visit the Rose Garden in front of the Winter Garden.

If you need more informations about the opening hours or the guided tours visit the website below: https://www.hel.fi/helsinki/en/culture/leisure/experience/winter-garden


Helsinki Cathedral

In case if you are interested in ordinary sightseeing and you like churches than you should definitely visit the biggest one in Helsinki. This church is the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of Helsinki. It was built from 1830-1852 and before it was known as St Nicholas’ Church until the independence of Finland in 1917. The church is built in neoclassical style with Greek cross plan. It can be easily found, it is only few minutes by walk from the city centre. This is one of the most most popular tourist atteactions in Helsinki, so do not skip it and enjoy the view from the top of the stairs in front of the church. For more informations about opening hours and history of the church use the website as a help:


The Rock Church

When you read its name first time, maybe you think it is the church of rock music and Elvis Presley is the God. But actually it is a beautiful Lutheran church near to the city centre. Its Finnish name is Temppeliaukio Church. The church was designed by architects and brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969 and it is built directly into solid rock. That’s why it is one of the most interesting church what I have ever seen. You have to pay 3 Euros to enter, but defenetly worth it. The athmospher inside is impressive. The walls are rock, not the usual paintad wall. If you want to visit a special church then you have to go there.

You can read more information about the Rock Church on this website: https://www.myhelsinki.fi/en/see-and-do/sights/temppeliaukio-rock-church



If you ask me, this is the most beautiful and pleasureable place in Helsinki. Suomenlinna is a romantic island with a sea forthress. Its construction began in the mid-18th century, when Finland was still part of Sweden. You can reach it easily by public transport ferry from Market Square. It is a whole day programme, and if you listen to me, you have to see the sunset there. You are sitting on one of the rocks and enjoy the impressive view and athmosphere. I recommend you to go there weekday because in weekends it is probably crowded.

How can you reach there and how much is it? What can you see there? You find these infos on this website: https://www.myhelsinki.fi/en/see-and-do/sights/suomenlinna-sea-fortress


These are only a few interesting places and it is an absolutely subjective recommendation, however we tried to suggest to you the places where everyone might have fun. Of course, there are more popular tourist attractions beside we mentioned abow. All in all, We hope, our short collection was useful for you and we wish you a good time in Helsinki.

Janneke, Manuela, Annamária and Paul


The Finnish nature.

National Parks in Finland

Around 65% of Finland’s total land mass is covered in forest, it’s no surprise the Fins have a strong connection to nature. It’s hardly possible to find a Fin who doesn’t appreciate the beautiful environment. This high percentage of forests means that there is around 4,2 hectares of forest (an estimated 13000) for EVERY Fin!

The forest has something magical. The first day we were here as Erasmus students we could not stop looking out of the window. All this nature! At home we live in the countryside, but we had never seen anything like this! The forest keeps going on and on…

Sunset from our window. Mariona Moranta

To conserve this unique landscape and nature of the country, Metsähallitus (Administration of Forests) established the national parks all over the country.
These parks are large areas of nature
conservation. They ensure that Finnish ecosystems and biotopes are maintained and give people the opportunity to go out and experience nature. They offer marked hiking routes, trails and sites to build campfires. For the longer hikes there are even shelters and huts that nature lovers can use free of charge.

Since the first national park was founded in 1938 (Pyhätunturi) there have been added 39 more. The total combined space of national parks nowadays makes up for 9.892km² or 2.5% of Finland.  An estimate of 1.7 million people visits the national parks annually. Which is not bad for a country that only has 5.5 inhabitants.

Pallas-Yllästunturi. Mariona Moranta

When you take a time to look at every national park in Finland we can observe a real diversity and a big developed biodiversity. By the way, we can separate it in 3 big categories:

·        Little Terrestrials Parks: In major cases locate in the South of the country, these parks have the mission of protecting a wild zone reduced by the urban areas of or cultivated areas. That category regroups a swamp, a geological curiosity or a non-exploited forest. Between 10 and 60 km2, the size still not that big. E.g.: Liesjärvi National Park.

·        Riparian or Sailors parks: These parks are essentially a group of islands without inhabitants, they covered really little surfaces. That’s not officially free national parks, but the inconvenient for visiting it is the needing of have and use a boat –which can be payable-. E.g.: Linnansaari National Park.

·        Lapland Parks or Koillismaa: These are by far the most visited, even if their gigantic surface relativizes attendance. They practically all have an area much larger than 100 km², or even 1000 km² (The aggregate area of ​​only UKK, Pallas-Yllästunturi and Lemmenjoki parks represents 6 420 km², or 79% of the total area of ​​the parks.

Did you know that in Finland there is something called Everyman’s right? Probably a lot of people heard about it, but what is it?

As we already mentioned the core of the Finnish culture is about having a close relationship with nature. The concept of Eveyman’s Rights means that you can walk freely in the forest. But is it just that? No!

You may:

  • Walk, cycle or ski in outside areas, except private gardens and land which is in a certain use, for example fields or other cultivated areas. 
  • Spend a short period in areas where access is allowed, for example to put up a tent. But respect people’s privacy and don’t put it up too close to someone’s home.
  • Collect mushrooms, berries and flowers
  • Catch fishes with a rod and line. In winter you can do it through a hole in the ice à ice fishing
  • Walk on the ice during winter and go boating when the ice is melted.

You may not:

  • Harm the environment or bother other people or animals or birds while breeding season
  • Harm the trees or cut them down
  • Pick up moss, soil, lichen or wood
  • Leave your litter in the nature.
  • Use a motor vehicle off road without the permission of the landowner
  • Go fishing and hunting without appropriate permits
  • Violate the sphere of privacy of people’s homes

The Everymen’s rights give the same possibilities to everyone, it doesn’t matter who you are and where you come from. And it’s great because spending time in the nature contributes to a sense of well-being and it slows down our life which is too often too stressful. And the most important thing! It teaches us to value the small things in life – and that’s something which we forget more and more in our society.

Experiencing the everyman’s right in Nuuksio national park

In 50 minutes by car from our campus, we were in an incredible conserved area away from the city. Nuuksio National Park, a forest and lake paradise just 30 minutes away from the capital of Helsinki.

Bridge and lake. Lukas Eder

We went on a weekday, so no one was there. We hiked trough beautiful paths during 10 kilometers. The time past so fast because we were enjoying the views and the company so much. We had

lunch in a small island in one of the lakes that had a fireplace. We started the fire and grilled our sausages just like Fins do. Have you tried it? They were very tasty!! It was a very good experience, highly recommended!

Fireplace. Lukas Eder

Joren, Löic, Lukas and Mariona.




Lapland Adventure

We had been in Finland for almost a month when a once in a lifetime experience happened: Lapland.

We left on a Wednesday evening by night train and arrived in Rovaniemi Thursday morning at 7:30 am. We had our own cabin in the train so we weren’t disturbed during the night. Sleeping was a difficult quest and Leen and Rani ended up sleeping on the floor while Freya and Bente lied on the seats.

When we arrived we decided to put on more layers as it was much colder than down here, we had some breakfast and we started our adventure with a walk to the centre of Rovaniemi. After a half hour walk we got there and found somewhere to sit down for a bit and Skype with our lecturer, Juha. As we could only go to the home we rented at 16 o’clock we wasted some time in the city centre, had lunch and bought some food for the next 2 days. After that we found the bus towards our house.

Once we arrived at the home we decided to take a nap as we were already very tired and did not want to fall asleep during the reindeer sleigh ride.

At 8 PM we got picked up at our house and we were all very excited, we had already seen the Northern Lights. It was not the clearest vision because of the light pollution but that didn’t make it any less spectacular and beautiful. We also knew we were going somewhere without lights so it would be more clear to us soon.


Once we arrived at the ‘secret location’ of the reindeer safari, we got paired up for the ride. Rani and Freya sat together up front and Leen and Bente sat in the second sleigh. The three reindeers were called Willy, Yussi and Pikki, the third one had 2 other people who we didn’t know. After an amazing ride under the stars and in the forest of about 40 minutes we arrived at the destination point where a big tipi stood. Inside was a cosy fire where we sat for a while, drinking some hot berry juice and roasting some sausages, all while getting information about the location and the wildlife. To close off the night we got to feed the reindeers with their favourite treat: a mix of fungi and algae.


On the second day we went to Santa Claus Village, where we took a picture with Santa himself, got our reindeer driver’s license and grabbed something to eat.






Around noon we went on a husky sleigh ride. Before and after the rides we could pet the huskies through a fence and at the end we were allowed to get in the puppy pen and snuggle with them. The ride itself was beautiful and it was amazing to see how obedient the dogs were. We honestly didn’t want to leave.





That evening we went ‘Aurora Hunting’ and saw the Northern Lights even more clear than before. Rani and Freya also had an fun time jumping in the high snow, feeling like little kids again. On the way back to the starting point we were being transported by a snow train: a snowmobile with 3 carts attached to it. When we were almost there we crashed because our driver wanted to take a shortcut and didn’t take into account that the snow around the readymade path was very soft so we sank into it sideways. We all had a good laugh and luckily no one got hurt.


Our last day in Rovaniemi consisted of walking around the city, buying souvenirs and a visit to the Arktikum museum.

All in all we had an amazing time, it was a great adventure and we wouldn’t change a thing.





Rani Servranckx, Bente Van Looy, Freya Rostron & Leen Natalie Hofmans


The last adventure – Ruka!!!

Ruka, Lapland. Snow falling softly, gentle down on the ground and forming a smooth, thick bed of fluffy substance. The first thing you want to do when you see it is dive into it and crawl around. What do we have to do to make a winter trip in Lapland with 18 international students happen? We must all work together and divide the tasks for the trip and planning of the trip.

The adventure started with the preparations. We got an overview what and when each activity was going to happen during the week. We discussed about the roles within the group and then every student got a task. There were ‘day-leaders’, ‘kitchen masters’, ‘accommodation queens’ and more. We had an overall leader, and this time this was one of our students. Our teachers were only local guides when we would arrive in Ruka. We had to organise everything with the least help as possible.

Not only the day planning is important. Some of the challenges were waiting for us in the snow in Ruka. Before we went, we learned about hypothermia and frostbites, and not only theoretical. Like always in this course, the method of learning by doing was used. We practised how to secure somebody who has hypothermia in our classroom. We can already say, we were lucky and nobody had to be secured during the Ruka trip. But still it is important to know about these methods when someone will be in danger. After all the preparations and packing, the trip to Ruka could start.

It was Sunday morning around 9 o’clock when all our students and their luggage was in the bus off to Riihimaki. It was a long and tiring journey up North: Bus, train, train… 3 o’clock it is getting darker… Train, bus, 4 o’clock pitch black… Stop for some food… bus. Finally, we arrived at the cottages 2 hours later than planned. We prepared the beds, talked a bit and fell asleep to be energetic the next day, for our first day of winter sporting.

Adventure sports, Ruka 2017

The first day we went snowshoe hiking. The leaders of the day decided to walk 8 km in total and have lunch in a nice hut next to the mountains top. We had two groups of 9 people. The ‘faster’ group and the ‘slower’ group, which meant one would go first and arrive at the hut and start the fire and the second would wait and walk slower to get to the hut. We got our equipment at the Ruka rental shop and started hiking. Nobody forgot the compass or map, so we were able to train our orienteering. Everybody who wanted to lead the group through the snow was welcome to do it. In our group, the day leader said: “We don’t want to do an easy way so there will be some challenge.” Therefore, we had to find our own way  without following a certain path. We trained to use the baring on the compass and it worked all well. Heading for the lake, that would be in the middle of our way to the hut, we found it. It was already frozen so we were able to walk over it our leader said. But next to the lake there was a swampy part which was not fully frozen, and it made “gggrchhhhh” sounds and one of our group members got her feet wet, up to her knee. This was a somewhat critical situation, since we had to find the hut and fire to warm us fast now. Cold temperature and wet feet are something you really have to take serious because it can get very ugly. If we wouldn’t have had spare socks with us, the chance of a frostbite would have been very high. Luckily, we were prepared and we could walk further to find the hut.

We walked up the white and fairy tale looking hill in front of us, but it was not always easy to find the right way. It was exhausting to walk through the swampy area.  And the snow was high and difficult to hike through. To walk in the front needed a lot more energy than to walk in the back because the path was already made by the people in front of you. But we reached the hut and enjoyed the lunch before we climbed to the top of the ‘mountain’. (Actually, Finland doesn’t have any real mountains, since a mountain has to be above 1 km and the hill in Ruka is 500 metres. Just a nice fact.) From the top, we had an amazing view over the area. We were almost able to see Russia, but the clouds averted this. After this beautiful viewpoint, we walked back to the village and then again, we had a little stop close to the end and reflected the day. Back home we cooked dinner, went to the sauna and fell washed-out but happy into a deep sleep.


Without too much sleep, the next day started. This day the activity was going to be cross-country skiing. Almost nobody did it before. For the students who were used to stand on Alpine skis, it was very difficult, because it is completely different from downhill skiing. Everybody got it in the end and managed to ride the long thin skis down the trail. When there was a “big” slope which we had to ride down from, nearly everybody fell, but all came back without injuring. We had a lot of fun.

On the third day, we again had a new challenge. This day, everyone could choose between learning to ski or snowboard, and two of our students could get intermediate training because they already were able to ski or snowboard. There was a big difference in the level of experience, but there was a lesson fit for everyone because the more advanced skier and snowboarder could teach the other group members together with the instructor. They started on the baby slope, but at the end of the day they already went of the blue and sometimes red slopes. Even though the snowboarders fell dozens of times, they also picked it up really fast and joined the skiers on the slopes. We had a lot of fun helping each other and improving our techniques but also just playing in the snow together.


Erasmus students, Ruka
Way too fast the fourth and last day started. For this day, we could choose ourselves what we wanted to do. Almost half of us went for a sled ride with husky dogs. Truly, this was a once in a lifetime experience. The rest continued their snowboarding or skiing fun and we all had a great time in the snowy Lapland. In the afternoon, we were all together on the slopes either skiing or snowboarding. We had just as much fun as the day before and it was a nice and fun way to end the course together.

Last but not least, we were invited to a secret place for a meeting with the teachers somewhere close to the huts. With a little drawn map we navigated us to the spot and got a snack and a warm drink. This was the final reflection of the trip and a goodbye to the teachers who were going to stay in Lapland.

We drove home in the busses, trains and busses again, all worn out, sore from the sporting but content. Someday some of us will be the overall leaders for these trips and plan everything alone or with someone else. We learn a lot!

Erasmus Suomi – Study in Finland


Welcome to HUMAK’s Nurmijärvi campus! We are nine exchange students in the Youth Work and Civic Activities Program. For a little longer than three months, we live and study on the campus, all together.


Meet our lovely and colorful international group or, as we love to call it, family. First, there are our two Belgian best friends and teachers-to-be, Rani and Sarah who both turned 21 during the semester. Then there is Sonja, our mate from the Netherlands, she’s 22 and study orthopedagogy (special education) in Belgium. Julia, our youngest sister, is 19 and comes from Russia, where she studies Western Europe area. Our two sociology students, Eve-Anne and Pierre come from France. Adil, our big brother is French as well and study to become a social educator. Finally, us, Laura and Camille, are both 22 and study educational sciences in France.


Everyone who ever studied abroad would probably tell you the same, it is such an amazing experience. But studying abroad for a semester or a year is far for being trivial. It means, being far from home, family and friends for a while. Being immerged into a totally different culture is a challenge as much as it is a unique human experience.


We all came here for different reasons, most of our studies are related to education but Julia, Pierre and Eve-Anne study in different fields in their home country. We asked our mates about what they think about studying in Finland. Why did they choose this country over the others? Did it match their expectations?

“In Russia we don’t have Erasmus Program, but my University has contract with Finnish university of applied sciences, and I wanted to change my life, to meet new people, to practice my bad English, so I’m here.” – Julia

“During my studies I’ve always wanted to go on Erasmus exchange studies because I think it’s a good way to travel. I had the choice between Canada and Finland. I chose to come here because I wanted to see the education system of course, and I like Nordic countries, and English speaking countries.” – Adil

“I really wanted to go to Finland. Just to see the country, but another reason, also because I wanted to become more independent and some other stuff. What do I like here? Nature of course, and summer. Food, I like the cold, it’s a different cold than we have in the Netherlands and I like it. I like Helsinki, I like Lapland just like the all country.” – Sonja

“I was about to go on an Erasmus exchange program in Spain but, as soon as I knew that I could go to Finland, my choice was made. First, I’ve been looking forward to visit northern Europe and it sounded like the perfect opportunity to do it. Then as I know from my own studies, Finland is one of the best country regarding education, I was really willing to learn from this amazing system, totally different from the one we have in France. It was also a good point that the courses are in English, I wanted to improve my skill. And by using it every day, all of us did.” – Camille


Studying abroad may not always be a piece of cake. Although we’re trying our best to learn – thanks to our Finnish mates – none of us speak Finnish. When we asked them about the challenges they face in Finland, many of our exchange students mentioned Finnish language…

“it’s impossible to understand Finnish if you don’t know it, and Finnish is everywhere, and there is no English version, so yeah, it’s kind a problem sometimes.” – Julia

“Getting understood by bus drivers!” – Adil

“Going to Helsinki is one of them, hum, understand the language, and, hum, try to explain myself” – Sonja

Indeed, our campus is 40 kilometers away from Helsinki, it takes a bit longer than an hour to go there and there are not so many buses that stop at Kiljava. Most of our students are doing their internship in an international school in Vantaa, and have to spend almost 3 hours in the bus every day. Moreover, these bus tickets are also pretty expansive (even with the student discount!), it costs 11 euros to go there and come back. A monthly bus card costs about 120 euros.

This brings one of the other issues we all had to face in Finland, the cost of living. Food and transport are more expansive than in our own countries. Luckily, we have a cheap accommodation here and we can enjoy student prices lunches.


(French) Crepes Party

As we already mentioned, all of this awesome people live on the campus located in Kiljava, around 40 kilometers away from Helsinki. We live, eat and go to class in the very same building. Handy (we don’t even need to put shoes on)! We are accommodated for a reasonable price in single or double rooms and happily share the dorms with Finnish students who welcomed us with open arms and showed us the tricks to survive here. Indeed, we arrived in the middle of the winter, and the closest store is 6 kilometers away from the campus… More than driving us around, our “hosts” gave us a really good taste of Finnish culture and what it means to be a student here in Finland.

“We have like our own Finnish family here” – Julia

Kiljavanranta main building

Apart from a store, we can find everything you need on the campus, a sports hall that we use every Tuesday and Thursday to play together, a gym and, last but not least, SAUNA! (It may sound trivial to our Finnish mates but for us foreigners, it’s something). Now that the weather gets warmer (finally!) we can also rent bikes, to go to the store or just enjoy a nice ride through the forest, and even boats to sail on the (no longer frozen) lake. Built right next to Sääksjärvi Lake, Kiljavanranta offers a beautiful landscape and wonderful sunsets. By studying abroad, some may seek a vibrant city life but if you chose Finland, this place pictures perfectly the peaceful and quiet atmosphere of this country.

Sunset from the roof

“I feel like home here” – Julia


As we spend a lot of time together, we share a lot about our different cultures and ways of living. If you walked by the living room, you could hear four or five languages spoken at the same time. In such conditions, you get to know each other pretty soon, everyone bringing a piece to our multicultural puzzle.

Languages lessons

As you may know, living with (many) other people sometimes mean making concessions. Sharing spaces such as the kitchen and the living room may be source of conflicts. A certain organization is needed here, regarding the food and the cleaning, we established some rules together to make sure it’s a comfortable place for everyone. If community life may sometimes be challenging, it’s nothing compared to the moments we spend together. Birthdays, holidays, every event is a good reason to celebrate and spend time together, cook for eachothers, or play in this giant playground Kiljava is.

Easter Brunch

“We take care of each other and share a lot of moments, just like members of the same family would.” – Camille