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 🙂

 

 

Are the stereotypes real ? Let’s make an investigation about the clichés !

clichés

Every country have a really long list of stereotypes, and Finland is not an exception. Going in an other country can be a possibility to verify the stereotypes that you believe in which can be wrong or true.

First, to be fair and realized how we can be judged by the other countries, let’s see the clichés of each country where we, the Erasmus students, come from :

 

cliché hollandais Dutch people are constantly stoned, they don’t hesitate to dare to say to people what they have in their mind, they are rude and they become really attentive when it’s about their money.

 

cliché

The French people are really nationalist and the cheese is their God. Their jobs are always related with arts and cooking, and they are food and wine lovers “Oh là là!”, maybe for this reason they are life enjoyers.

 

 

 

spain cliché

If I say to you these following words : hot blood, fury, passionated lovers, laziness, procrastination. Can you tell me about who we are talking about ? That’s the Spanish people who take everything easy and enjoy their life with sangria and paella.

 

 

cliché germa

 

What to say about German people? Beer, wurst, beer, wurst, beer, wurst, … But even though they drink so much they are really serious and they don’t laugh a lot. Be strict and well-organized is running in their veins.

 

cliché belge

In Belgium the people are kind, naive and they are considered stupid at the same time by their neighborhood countries. They seem younger in appearance but not in mind … Drink a lot of beers and make a good chocolate are the best abilities that they have.

 

 

Now let’s talk about our adopted country for our Erasmus experience : FINLAND.

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Before coming to Finland, we didn’t know a lot about the social culture of the country and its people. We didn’t know how the people from Finland are communicating with each other, how they express their feelings or how their friendships and family relations are. Nonetheless we were expecting to find a person according to these next stereotypes.

 

  • All the Finnish people are introvert, don’t show their emotions and never smile.

This is one of the bigger stereotypes about the Finnish people, but when you spend every day with them, you realize that they are no like robots. Of course they can not be compared with the people form south Europe, but you can perceive something from them..

  • All the Finnish people don’t talk to strangers.

It’s not so easy to accost Finnish people because they look serious. And one thing to consider is : they don’t like to be near people, you have to keep a distance between you and them. But..but when you learn more about them, then this distance can be destroyed and you can talk to them easily. 

  • All the Finnish people are calm. 

F-A-L-S-E, completely false. If you live with them you can hear shouts all the day at all hours. Something that surprised and impressed us. 

  • Finnish guys and girls are good-looking.

Before coming to Finland, we can imagine that people are handsome and attractive. In fact, it’s not completely true but it can be consider by many different point of view. It depends if you like tall blond-haired and blue-eyed persons! Oh…wait.. that’s a new stereotype!

  • All the Finnish people are tall, blond-haired and blue-eyed.

Most of them are like that. If you get bored in the transport, you can play a game and try to count how are they. It can happen that some of them don’t want to belong to this figure and try to hide these scandinavian attributes by different manners.

  • All the Finnish people are depressed. 

Cold and darkness. What could be more depressing ? It’s less depressing for them when they are drunk.

  • All the Finnish people are alcoholic.

We can corroborate that this stereotype it’s more true than false, Finnish people drink a loooooooot, and where can they find so much alcohol? In Tallinn of course, you can’t find cheap alcohol in Finland, so let’s go to Estonia! But there is a good new, there are studies where is said that the consumption of alcohol is decreasing in Finland.

  •   Sauna, Sauna and Sauna. 

It’s quite strange if you describe to someone who doesn’t know what is a sauna. “Well, in Finland, I am sitting naked in big hot box and I throw water on stones…” Sounds weird. But it’s the temple of the Finns and it become ours as well because there is nothing better than relaxing and sweating in a sauna after a long day.

  • All Finnish people are honest. 

In every country there is honest people and dishonest people, and in Finland as well.

  • All the Finnish people respect the rules

They are not so different to the other european people, they also cross the road when the traffic light is red!But one of the things that impressed me, and in a really good way, is that they respect a lot of the nature, and they have a lot of rules to conserve it. Hopefully all country had the same consideration to the nature.

  • All the Finnish people speak good english.

Another false stereotype. Not everybody speaks good english, it’s more, not everybody speaks english, and you can find it out, for example, using public transport or going to the supermarket. If you take the right bus: congratulations!!

 

Can you approve these stereotypes ?

As we can see, all these stereotypes are not completely true but sometimes you can discover a little part of the truth. We encourage you to verify these stereotypes by yourself and see if they are right. BON VOYAGE !!!!!!  

Demonstration in Finland – Voices in the streets of Helsinki

Demonstrations in Finland? Sounds untypical for Finnish people right? That’s why we decided to find out just how Finnish people demonstrate. On the 12th of March we took part in our first Finnish demonstration in Helsinki. On that sunny Saturday around 8.000 Finns from all sides of the political landscape were on the streets to fight together against the “dark government cloud” and government’s austerity plans.

But aren’t Finnish people known for not being very talkative and shy towards strangers? Well…we decided to ignore that stereotype and confronted them directly. With the microphone on and a couple of questions in our pockets we tried to get an authentic picture of the demonstration while interviewing Finnish people, both demonstrators as well as rubberneckers who just watched the event. We asked about why they are going on the streets, how they feel and what they think – what their voices in the streets mean to the Finnish society.

And what a surprise! Finnish people do talk to strangers and they can be talkative! We had a couple of very interesting answers and we met a lot of very nice people!

arnaud
Interviewer Arnaud ready to talk to the voices of the streets about the demonstration in Helsinki

The reactions of the interviewees in the streets of Helsinki differ, but are mostly positive. The demonstrators were workers, students, parents, kids, elderly people and many more, demonstrating against austerity measures and funding cuts, for ecological reasons, like saving and protecting the planet and especially the Finnish nature, lakes and water as well as financial reasons like capitalism, student money and education.

The demonstration started at around 14:00 on the Senaatintori (Senate Square) with a speaker and music, people were sitting on the staircase of the Helsingin tuomiokirkko – the Helsinki Cathedral, warming up their voices to get ready for the march in streets, signs in their hands with statements to show what they are demonstration for.

_DSC7638
Demonstrators on the Senate Square holding up signs

_DSC7642 sign demo2

A lot of people also just watched the demonstration and weren’t quite sure what the voices of the streets are demonstrating for but seemed interested and wanted to know more about the demonstration. Compared to our countries, Germany and France, we noticed on arrival that the demonstration was much quieter. So why? Don’t they want to change something?

After approximately an hour the demonstration continued as a parade marched towards the Hakaniemi Market Square. Suddenly there was more movement, more noise, more people and we felt the voices of the streets, their concerns and fears. Still peaceful and calm but with more ambition.

Do you want to know why people went on the streets and how they felt about the protests? Here you can listen to the voices of the streets, their emotions, statements and fears: Voices in the streets of Helsinki

But what were our fellow exchange students saying about the demonstrations? We received the following answers from Alex and Aline, both from France (of course):

Alex: “It’s a sunny day with positive atmosphere and a lot of people from all origins, every age, it’s a very, very nice. We can also find dogs in demonstration, but dogs don’t speak very much, because they don’t speak Finnish or English very well. But I’m also a bit disappointed with the demonstration, because there is no violence, it’s too calm and with music.”

Aline: “For the beginning it’s a calm demonstration, but hopefully it will become more violent at the end because I saw people with alcohol and they might become violent because they are maybe disappointed.”

Interviewer: “And will you get violent?” Both: “No never.” Others: “Of course, for sure – French people!” 😉 Luckily we managed to keep the three French away from any violent acts, which was not easy! 😉

marching
Exchange students marching with Finns through Helsinki – trying not to become violent

All in all we can say that it was an interesting experience to join a demonstration in another country than our own, we had lots of fun while interviewing the Finns and also marched with them for a couple of hundred meters during the demonstration.

Wake up in the snow !

Hi,

We are 9 exchange students who started studying in Finland. We study at the University of Applied Science of HUMAK in Nurmijärvi. We are from all over Europe: France, Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Belgium. But why choose Finland? The beautiful nature, the interesting program, the desire for snow?  Let’s find out!
Kuva1

Sports

Being a sport-a-holic is definitely possible in Nurmijärvi. In the past weeks, we already enjoyed a lot of different activities. First of all, Finland is well known for their cross-country skiing. Here they just call it skiing. In this area you can also do it. And… It is fun! The accommodation doesn’t have skies for us. So one of our teachers brought 2 pair of ski’s that we could borrow. THANK YOU!

Kuva2          Kuva3

Once the Finnish students organized winter funny games. We played football in 20cm snow! Fun guaranteed! You slip, the ball doesn’t go the way you want and everyone is laughing. We also made ice sculptures that day. What do you think of our results?

 

Catepillar       Unicorn

                     Catepillar dragon                                                           unicorn

Further there is a gym you can always use, a swimming pool and a large sports hall. Two days a week we can use the sports hall with the students. Then we play games like volleyball and badminton.

Saunaparty

In our first week we had a lot of introduction about the Finish school system, Humak, the area… But also a lot of fun things were in the program. One of them was an outdoor sauna and a swim in ice water. The sauna is located near a lake and completely frozen. Except one part, here we could go in the water. They recommended us to first go in the water and then to the sauna. So we did, starting scared, but full of adrenalin! It was so refreshing and we felt alive. Then to the sauna. Also great! Some of us went a couple of times to the sauna and back to the lake. Already addicted after one time.

After the sauna, we stayed in the cabin and ate some cookies, fruits,… We talked and practiced our Finnish. Not a typical party, but one we will never forget!

 

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First impressions Helsinki

Helsinki is a beautiful city. It has huge buildings and is quit clean. When you take the bus from our place to Helsinki, you’ll arrive in Kamppi. This is an area where are a couple of shopping centers, a bus station, a railway station… There is also a lot of beautiful culture. The modern art museum is definitely recommendable. I haven’t been there yet. But other Erasmus students have. They were enthusiastic and when I saw the pictures, I understood why.

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          Modern arts museum                                                       Modern arts museum

Nice to know

We also had some struggles and questions the first weeks. Sometimes it’s nice to know already things before you go to that country. So here a couple of ‘nice to know’:

First, bring a picture (like the one on your passport!) You will need a student card and then this is necessary.

Another nice thing to know, don’t bring to many hot clothes. The building is quite warm! So bring 1 or 2 thick sweaters, but 5 is too much and not necessary.

Third, shops and parties are not close! The closest shop is 5 km from our staying. Some students have a car, then you can ride with them. Otherwise you can walk (1h) or take the bus. Hitchhiking is also very useful. When the winter is over, we can also use the bikes. For a party you have to be in Helsinki. That is 50km from Kiljava Opisto (1h with the bus). There is one night bus at 2u10.

You want to drink alcoholic drinks? That’s possible, but not as easy then in most countries. If you go to a normal shop, you won’t find alcohol above 4.7%. If you want stronger drinks, go to an Alko. They have a large offer of different drinks. Alko’s are easy to find, but look at their closing hours. On Saturday they close up at 18 hours.

Alko

 

And last but not least, there is a lake here! When we arrive, you could just walk on the ice. In a couple of weeks the lake will melt. We can take a boat and enjoy the lake in a whole different way. Nature is beautiful and by the changing of seasons, we can replace the winter activities as skiing  to frisbeeing!

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Citytrips

When I hear Erasmus, I automatically thing of traveling. These just go together. Above you could already read about Helsinki. But we still want to visit much more.

Some of us have visited Turku, we loved it. It is a very nice and cosy city. We went to a Castle, Biological museum, Cathedral,… Now that biological museum, not quit recommendable. But the castle is! A lot of interesting information and a beautiful building.

Further we went to a couple of bars in the weekends. We enjoyed our time with a beer (or a coke) and played games. When the Easter holidays are coming, we all have the opportunity to travel again. Everyone has their plans; Tallinn, Riga or Lapland.

We are still looking for more opportunities to travel and time by time we find those. Goal for at the end: see as much as possible of Finland and the neighbouring countries.

In turku    Turku Castle

                               In Turku                                                         Turku Castle

Communications Lecture in NJC

This blog post is written [almost] live by Humak’s Communications Manager Jarmo Röksä  who visited Nurmijärvi Campus in order to give brief introduction on the digital communication. This blog was written to demonstrate how to create strong search engine optimized content with tools WordPress gives to us.

Lecturing on Communications in Nurmijärvi

I had the pleasure to meet Humak’s Erasmus Exchange Students in Nurmijärvi today. I gave a presentation on the Humak’s communication strategy, different channels we are using and explained why we are doing the things in a way we are doing. After all, all communications you see in our internet pages – and especially what you don’t see behind the curtains – is created carefully and is continuously evaluated with the criteria we have set up for us.

This blog text was the last part of the lecture. This text were written in order to give a clear picture how to write a good SEO-strong text and what are the tricks we have to make with images. For instance, remember the meta data and the normal size for the photos you see in Humak’s web page have the width of 1200 pixels. It can be larger, of course, but large images lengthen the download times. But in order to have a good page which Google loves, it is recommended to have pictures in it.

Jarmo Röksä
Jarmo Röksä, Communications Manager in Humak, gave a presentation on digital communications for Humak’s Erasmus students.

I had our media assistant with me. Emilia Reponen is responsible for these images. She took the photos, had the fast fix to them (yes, it is a good idea to edit all the photos. The minimum should  be adding the contrast), emailed them to me and I uploaded them to this entry – all that took just few minutes. Of course, all the necessary meta data was put in to the images.

Other topics I briefly talked about were strategic communication, altering space of the media and how also our way to use social media services chances. Our way to use Facebook has evolved from the personal log book to the “meta media” – a collection of media commentary. I also talked how the younger generation finds new channels for their interaction. This obviously challenges the way how we can reach our audiences lets say after four-five years. Not only media has shattered around also our audiences are spread widely across the media landscape.

Then I went through the principles of SEO-strong text. Funny enough, in order to explain that I used Instagram photo I posted to Internet from my lecture in Turku campus. So, you can save the flap board paper and recirculate you drawing in this way. I kind of liked the idea.

Give Space to People’s Voice

Blog text is more interesting, like a good news story is, when you give the voice to other people as well. So, I shot some questions to lovely students Marga from Spain and Arnaud from France. I asked what they have learned from my lecture and how did they like it. I admit that I – with they following my writing – edited a text and deepened it a bit.

—”The subject was little bit difficult to follow, but it was interesting to learn about digital communications”, Marga said. For Arnaud it was interesting to learn strategic use of key words and how they affect to Google rankings. —”What we learned was that you have no easy way around to make well optimized pages for Google. You have to work hard for it”, Arnaud concluded.

Marga and Arnaud in Nurmijarvi Campus enjoying communications lecture
Marga and Arnaud giving a strong opinion of today’s course.

Communications can be done also by other means that the text

Roksa also demonstrated how to add video to the blog. This is called embedding and he took a random video from his Youtube channel. You copy the share -link of the Youtube video, then return to the WordPress and the editing window of the story you are writing. Select the place where to put the video in and press the button “Add Media”. Then select Insert from URL and paste the link to the top field of that page.

I chose random video from my YouTube channel. Enjoy the views of rainy Copenhagen.

— The fiirst version of this blog entry was written live in the front of the students i a class room. After returning home to Turku I edited the text and optimized it. Now this article is scoring high with all aspects of SEO.