Why I chose Finland as my exchange destination

I never imagined I would get to live in Finland for a while. But life gave me the opportunity and I feel very lucky. “Why Finland?”, many people asked me when they knew I was coming to study here and I always answered with ”it’s very different from what I’m used to” (and also because I love Christmas and we all know it’s Santa’s country). And yes, it was different from what I imagined!

My arrival was a bit catastrophic (we can sum it up in delayed flights and missed trains), but I didn’t know all the good things that were waiting for me to experience. I started meeting people from all over the world, learning about Finnish culture, exploring the corners of Pori, visiting other cities… And the more things I did, the more I became attached to this country.

I have to admit that when I arrived, the language seemed very different and fun (spoiler: it still does), but that curiosity is what motivated me to learn what little I know, although I hope to learn a lot more. In this semester, I have learned so many new things.

Leaving my comfort zone and moving to a place where everything is different is very enriching, even being away from my loved ones, although there are days when I am more nostalgic and perhaps sad for not sharing moments with them, I realise what a treasure I have because I know that they are always there despite the distance. Besides, I have created another family with the people I have met here.

The university and the study method used was another of the things that surprised me the most. The companionship, the support and trust between students and teachers, the way the syllabus is explained, among many other things, I think is brilliant. SAMK University is very good and it is an honour for me to be studying here.

One of the things that stands out from this semester is that I was able to fulfil one of my dreams: to meet Santa and visit Lapland. The excitement and joy I had during the whole trip is inexplicable. I was a little girl again. When I met Santa I brought him the first Christmas letter that my 2 year old niece had ever made, so it was a very emotional moment for me.

I had never seen it snow the way it snowed in Lapland, it was magical. Also, I saw the reindeer for the first time and tried the Finnish experience of going to the sauna, jumping in the snow and coming back to the sauna, and it is a painful but amazing feeling at the same time. I had hoped to see the Northern Lights, but it was not to be. I hope to see them one day and cross it off my wish list.

I still have another semester left (the coldest, by the way), so the anecdotes and new experiences do not end here, but it is true that the first half of my stay here is coming to an end. I hope that this country will continue to give me other experiences and memories. And if you ask me now ”Why Finland?”, I will answer: ”Because it is a very different country to what I am used to, and because it is a country that gives you very good moments and a great learning experience, and because I also love Christmas and Santa”. That’s why I chose Finland.

Kiitos, Finland!


Text: Ines-Marina Pinero-Landaeta, exchange student from Universidad de la Laguna
Pictures: Pixabay


Matkailun parhaat palat: kulttuuri, ihmiset ja matka itsessään

Kulttuuri

Minusta parasta matkailussa on kulttuurierot. En ole ehtinyt elämäni aikana paljon harrastamaan vapaa-ajan matkaamista, mutta olen käynyt jonkin verran ulkomailla vanhan harrastukseni puolesta. Kisareissujen aikana varsinkin näki isoimpia eroja maiden välillä, kun ei valittu kaikista kalleinta hotellia aivan pääkaupungin keskustasta, vaan otettiin ”kohtalainen” hotelli ja vähän pienempien kaupunkien reunoilta.

Eroja huomasi myös esimerkiksi ruoassa, kun kisamatkoilla hotellit tai kisapaikat tarjosivat aina kisapäivän lounaan sekä päivällisen. Tšekissä ollessa hotelli tarjosi päivälliseksi keittoa, jossa oli riisiä ja herneitä, kun taas Portugalissa oli joka päivä erilaisia pastoja ja jotain lihaa.



Alankomaissa kannabiksen polton ollessa laillista, on siellä suomalaisena aika outoa kulkea kadulla, kun näkee turistien sekä paikallisten nauttivan kyseistä ainetta keskellä kirkasta päivää.



Ruoka eri maissa maistuu aina paljon paremmalle kuin Suomessa, voi tietenkin olla, että ruoka on aina parempaa pitkien päivien jälkeen.

Kulttuurista oppiminen on ollut aina iso osa erilaisia reissuja minulle ja innolla odotankin jo seuraavaa matkaa.

Ihmiset

Uusiin ihmisiin tutustuminen erilaisilla reissuilla on aina pakollinen ”suoritettava tehtävä” itselleni. Uusien ihmisten avulla voi myös oppia eri maiden kulttuurista. Parasta on, jos tutustuu kyseisen maan asukkaaseen, sillä hän voi toimia oppaana ja kertoa miten maassa kuuluu toimia hyvien tapojen mukaan. Ulkomailla ihmiset ottavat oman kokemuksen mukaan suomalaiset hyvillä mielin ystäväksi ja suurin osa porukasta on aina hyvin positiivisia.

Matka kohteeseen

Matkustus on aina rankkaa, mutta saapuminen kohteeseen palkitsee. Hotellilla lepääminen on rentouttavampaa kuin kotona lepääminen, koska tietää, että ei ole velvollisuuksia. Matkustaminen on hienoa, kun koko matkan ajan näkee erilaisia maisemia ja ehkä jopa nähtävyyksiä. Matkustusvälineellä ei ole väliä – lentokoneessa voi nähdä kaupunkien valoja ja vuoria, junassa kaupunkeja, metsiä ja järviä, linja-autoissa voi nähdä käytännössä mitä vaan. Matkustaessa voi myös saada uusia tuttavuuksia ja matkan aikana voi kysellä mihin muut ovat matkalla.


Matkallani Kroatiaan näimme paljon erilaista luontoa ja yllätyin siitä kuinka paljon vesistöissä oli merisiilejä.

Teksti ja kuvat: Ella Mäntynen, ensimmäisen vuoden Matkailuliiketoiminnan opiskelija


Vaihdossa Costa Ricassa

Paras matkamuistoni on ehdottomasti vaihtoreissu Costa Ricalle. Lähdin sinne syyskuussa 2022 syyslukukauden ajaksi. Pääsin kokemaan muun muassa surffailun huumaa, tutustumaan paikallisiin riippusiltakansanpuistoihin ja näkemään upeita maisemia, kuten auringonlaskuja ja -nousuja sekä vesiputouksia, uusien kavereiden saamista unohtamatta. Espanjankielen taitoni kehittyivät myös huimasti näiden muutaman kuukauden aikana.

Olen itse adoptoitu Kolumbiasta ja kohteeseen saapuessani kävi ilmi, että myös isäntäperheeni jäsenet olivat kolumbialaisia! Alkuun tuli yllätyksenä, että he eivät osanneetkaan englantia lähes ollenkaan, mutta alkukankeuden jälkeen päivittäinen espanjaksi puhuminen alkoi sujumaan.

Perheeni tuli myös Suomesta vierailulle siellä ollessani, ja lähdimme yhdessä elämäni kolmatta kertaa Kolumbiaan viikonloppuvisiitille. Kolumbiaan paluu tuntuu aina jollain tapaa kuin olisi palannut kotiin.

Suosittelen lämpimästi vaihtoon lähtöä ihan jokaiselle jos vähänkään tuntuu siltä! Itse lähdin yksin, sillä en halunnut lähteä ulkomaille vaihtoon puhumaan suomea suomalaisten kaverien kanssa. Olen iloinen tästä päätöksestä, sillä koen, että sain koko reissusta enemmän irti, kun ei ollut tuttuja kavereita, joihin tukeutua. Kv-vaihto oli heittämällä elämäni yksi parhaimpia kokemuksia!

Teksti: Elsa Helasmo, Matkailuliiketoiminnan opiskelija
Kuvat: Pixabay


My Erasmus experience in Pori

Hello everyone, my name is Luis, I am 21 years old and I am from the Canary Islands. There I study Tourism, and in my last year I decided to do an Erasmus semester to complete my career and have a better training. Among the possible options, I decided to go to Finland.

At first everyone told me that I would die of cold there but I was brave and I went to discover a new culture and to live new experiences. The trip from the Canary Islands to Helsinki was a bit tiring and exhausting, but as soon as I arrived, I met my first friend Clara, and together we shared the hassle of catching the right trains to Pori.

Once in our destination city, we arrived at our residence and saw the rooms that would be our homes for the next 4 months. The next day was the first day of University and we met the rest of our classmates and tutors who would be the main protagonists in making this stage so beautiful and unforgettable.

After the orientation week, the group gained confidence and we started to become a team. Here the fun began because from that day until the end we have not stopped making plans, among which were hiking in search of aurora borealis, and berry picking, barbecues, playing soccer (usually French against Spanish), going to see ice hockey games and of course partying. It is true that alcohol here is more expensive than in our home countries, but we always managed to get drunk.

As for classes, SAMK is awesome, honestly the best I have ever been to. I like the educational system better than in Spain, since here they focus more on learning day by day and doing work to understand the contents than on filling our agenda with exams. Also, we have had very empathetic and understanding teachers and classmates.

Personally I have visited Tampere, Helsinki, Rauma, Lapland (where I had the opportunity to meet Santa Claus) and even made a trip to Norway. All of them beautiful and charming places, although, yes, they are all very cold when winter comes, so you have to have your jacket ready.

 I think my Erasmus experience is the best decision I have made so far. From day one I have met amazing people that I feel will be friends for life. Now that I am only days away from returning to Spain, and although I want to see my family and friends, I am a little sad to leave behind everything I have built in Pori. However, I know that I will come back in the future and relive moments and experiences, as well as see again the great family I leave here.

It’s not goodbye Pori, it’s see you soon!

Text and pictures: Luis Orejas Delgado, an Erasmus exchange student from Universidad de la Laguna


The Endless Allure of Travel Alongside Friends

There’s something undeniably fun and exciting about the idea of packing your bags and setting off for a well-planned holiday especially when it’s one, that you get to go on with your friends. It can be a set of experiences to help strengthen bonds and make new stories together. Travelling alongside friends is like setting off on an adventure with your chosen family. Sharing every moment together from the hits of turbulence on the flight to the evenings spent enjoying a delicious meal at a restaurant that you ended up picking together.

The joys of group travel

One of the biggest and greatest joys of travelling with friends is the number of memories you can create with them. Peculiar encounters, mishaps, heart-to-heart conversations after a night out, all these get engraved into our memories, helping create those lifelong bonds. Personally, my closest and dearest memories have all been created during trips with friends.

Besides making memories, friends offer a sense of diversity to trips. With varying interests and passions, doors for trying new things and activities open up. For example, trying new cuisines or going to multiple different museums to cater to everyone’s interests.

As someone who enjoys planning and prefers organized trips over spontaneous ones, friends also offer a set of helpful hands to assist with planning. That being said, it’s not always help that they offer. Having more minds working on planning might cause disagreements and different opinions on every aspect of the plan, but part of the fun and challenge is to overcome those mishaps and enjoy a lovely trip together.

Lasting memories

To showcase my adventures, I’ll use my trip to trip to the Netherlands as an example. We set off, with a group of ten people! Stayed in Amsterdam for four days, enjoying nights out, good food and fun activities. This was the first time some of us met in person. Undoubtedly, some of my dearest memories are from this time. The warm summer days spent at a lake in a park to the evenings spent chatting at a bar. This trip of course wasn’t without its challenges and mishaps, but they’re such minor parts of a great experience. I often look back at the pictures and get reminded of the fantastic time spent abroad.

Travelling alongside friends is so much more than just a journey from point A to point B; it’s an adventure to strengthen the bonds between you and your friends. While traveling together you create memories and weave your friendship to a much deeper level.

These experiences can help paint the canvas of your friendship and add hints of vibrancy to showcase all you’ve done and explored together. So I’d suggest grabbing a group of friends, get some planning done and go explore the world together!

Pictures and text:  Sara Puustinen, first year International Tourism Management student


Fuerteventura – kirosana vai ei?

Ystäväni tuleva puoliso soittaa minulle lokakuun alussa 2015 ja kysyy yllättävän kysymyksen. ”Haluaisin että lähdet Sallin (nimi keksitty) kanssa polttarimatkalle ulkomaille kuukauden päästä. Minä maksan tietenkin lennot ja majoituksen, onnistuuko?

”HELL YEAH!” Vastasin heti. Ei muuta kuin esimiehelle soitto ja matka oli sovittu. Ystäväni ei tietenkään tiennyt tästä mitään aiemmin kuin päivää ennen reissuun lähtöä. Matkakohdekin – Fuerteventura – selvisi hänelle vasta kentällä.


Väärä mielikuva

Kun itse kuulin reissukohteen olevan Fuerteventura, Kanariansaarista vanhin ja toiseksi suurin, kauhistuin. En ollut ikinä käynyt millään Kanariansaarista ja mielikuvani pitkin katuja kiemurteleviin suomituristien jonoihin ja huonosti käyttäytyvien englantilaisten ärjymiseen perustui huhupuheisiin ja tositv-ohjelmien sisältöön.

Onneksi sain kokea mielikuvani kohteesta vääriksi. Viikko Fuerteventurassa kului monipuolisesti mm. saaren vuoristoreittejä ajaen, kauppakeskuksien kauppoja kierrellen, saaren hiekkarantoja kävellen ja erilaisista ravintolakokemuksista nauttien.


Erilaiset matkailumieltymykset

Reissuparini Salli on matkaajana hyvin erilainen kuin minä. Hän oli mielellään hotellin altaalla paistattelemassa päivää, kun minä taas mielelläni liikun luonnossa ja urheilen. Saimme sovitettua hyvin erilaiset matkustuspersoonat yhteen esim. sillä, että lähdin aamulla auringon nousun aikaan kipuamaan hotelliltamme lähtevää vuoristopolkua pitkin ylös ja tein pitkän lenkin lähiympäristöä tutkien. Näimme sitten kaverini kanssa hänen herättyään aamupalalla, jonka jälkeen menimme hetkeksi yhdessä hotellin altaalle makoilemaan, minä lähinnä päiväunet mielessä.



Kaiken kaikkiaan Fuerteventura oli positiivinen kokemus. Luonto oli vaihteleva ja kaunis, ilmat olivat meidän puolella ja ihmiset ystävällisiä. Turisteja ei ollut liikaa marraskuun alkupuolella, joka on itselleni tärkeä kriteeri matkaillessani. En halua väkijoukkoihin. En muista näin kahdeksan vuoden jälkeen mitään huonoa reissusta – lähtisin kyllä uudestaan, ellei listalla olisi kasa käymättömiä ja tutkimattomia reissukohteita!


Teksti ja kuvat: Johanna Itälaakso, ensimmäisen vuoden Matkailuliiketoiminnan opiskelija


Nelli Kantola teki opinnäytetyönään asiakastyytyväisyystutkimuksen

Ennen opinnäytetyöprosessia luulin omaavani jo laajan käsityksen asiakastyytyväisyydestä. Olen aina työskennellyt palvelualalla, joten luulin tietäväni mitä hyvä asiakaspalvelu on. Opinnäytetyöprosessin aikana käsitykseni kuitenkin laajeni huomattavasti.

Asiakastyytyväisyys ei koostukkaan pelkästä hyvästä palvelusta vaan monista pienistä asioista, joita itse asiakaskaan ei välttämättä osaa ajatella. Tähän kokonaisuuteen kuuluu esimerkiksi asiakaspolku, asiakaskokemus sekä kokemusympäristö. Tyytyväinen asiakas siis syntyy asiakkaan näkökulmasta tarkkaan mietitystä palvelukokonaisuudesta. Palvelukokonaisuus vuorostaan käsittää kaiken siitä hetkestä lähtien kun asiakas kuulee yrityksestä ensimmäisen kerran, aina siihen asti kun asiakas on kuluttanut yrityksen tarjoaman palvelun tai tuotteen loppuun – ja vielä sen jälkeenkin.

Tyytyväinen asiakas syntyy onnistuneesta asiakaskokemuksesta. Asiakaskokemus vuorostaan sisältää kaiken mitä asiakas näkee ja tuntee: hajut, maut, äänet ja tuntemukset. Jokainen asiakas saa yrityksestä joka tapauksessa jonkinlaisen asiakaskokemuksen, oli palvelu ja muut asiakaskokemukseen vaikuttavat tekijät sitten hyviä tai huonoja. Huono asiakaskokemus johtaa tietysti tyytymättömiin asiakkaisiin ja hyvä asiakaskokemus tyytyväisiin. Jos jokin asia on erityisen hyvää voi se nostaa koko asiakaskokemuksen tasoa paremmaksi, ja vastaavasti taas jos jokin osa-alue epäonnistuu voi se pilata koko asiakaskokemuksen.

Asiakaskokemukseen vaikuttaa myös kokemusympäristö; esimerkiksi luontomatkailun palveluissa luonto kokemusympäristönä on keskeinen osa asiakaskokemusta. Eräoppaiden retkistä saattaisi uskottavuus kadota, jos ne järjestettäisiin kaupungin puistossa!

Opinnäytetyössäni tutkin asiakkaiden tyytyväsyyttä Koivuniemen Herran farmiin. Farmilla kokemusympäristö on huomioitu hyvinkin tarkasti; teemana on vanha suomalainen maatilan elämä. Teemasta on tehty osa kokemusympäristöä: tilalla soi vanha suomalainen musiikki, työntekijöiden vaatteet ovat vanhanaikaisia renkien sekä piikojen vaatteita ja koristeina on käytetty paljon vanhoja maatilan työvälineitä. Lisäksi yritys vielä sijaitsee oikeasti vanhalla maatilalla.

Asiakaskokemus lähtee syntymään heti asiakkaan ensikosketuksesta yrityksen kanssa. Asiakaspolku voi lähteä käyntiin esimerkiksi markkinoinnin kautta; asiakas näkee yrityksen markkinointimateriaalia joko sosiaalisessa mediassa, televisiossa, lehdessä tai jossakin muussa viestintä kanavassa. Markkinoinnin välityksellä asiakaalle syntyy ennakkokäsitys yrityksestä. Tämän jälkeen asiakas päättää joko ostaa tai olla ostamatta yrityksen tuotteita tai palveluita. Päätöksen tehtyään ostava asiakas etsii todennäköisemmin tietoa yrityksestä verkosta tai kyselee tutuiltaan. Asiakas voi päätyä ostamaan tuotteen esimerkiksi verkkokaupasta, jolloin verkkokaupan käytettävyys vaikuttaa isosti asiakaskokemukseen, tai sitten asiakas päättää lähteä käymään yrityksessä paikan päällä, jolloin asiakaspalvelija on iso vaikuttava tekijä asiakkaan kokemukseen.

Ostettuaan ja käytettyään tuottteen tai palvelun asiakas muodostaa oman mielikuvansa ja tässä vaiheessa ennakkokäsitykset osoittautuvat joko oikeiksi tai vääriksi. Hyvän asiakaskokemuksen saanut asiakas todennäköisesti ostaa yritykseltä uudestaan ja suosittelee yritystä tutuilleen.

”Asiakas ei muista sitä mitä sanoit vaan sen mitä sait heidät tuntemaan” – kirjoittajaa en muista, mutta tämä lause on jäänyt erityisesti mieleeni opinnäytetyöprosessistani. Käsitykseni aiheesta on laajentunut aivan valtavasti ja pyrinkin jatkossa omassa työskentelyssäni miettimään asiakastyytyväisyyttä laajempana käsitteenä kuin pelkästään hyvä asiakaspalvelu. Asiakastyytyväisyydestä on muodostunut itselleni selkeä kokonaisuus, jota jokaisen yrityksen ja jokaisen asiakaspalvelijan tulisi miettiä jatkuvasti.

Teksti: Nelli Kantola, matkailuliiketoiminnan restonomi
Kuvat: Pixabay

Finland as a study and tourism destination

As an Asian, education has always been something bland and boring, but it all changed when I chose Finland as my destination for my bachelor’s degree, and SAMK to be specific.

First, let’s talk about Finland’s education. It is said that Finland is the 8th most educated country in the world so you are guaranteed to have a good education here. Then about SAMK, the school teaching method is very practical, as can be expected from an applied science university. The teachers here is also very passionate, they willing to help you with any question related to your studying, even sometimes about your difficulties in living in a new country. This help me a lot in the beginning when I have no knowledge of the place I’m gonna be in the next 4 years.

Besides that, during my study in the Autumn semester, I have studied a lot (as a tourism student) about marketing and tourism as a definition. In my opinion, this is the foundation knowledge for my study in this major. So the teaching structure here in SAMK is also very good. But after all the most important thing I learned here is the ability to self-study. Since I’m a college student, this is a very important skill to have, it is a requirement for anyone.

I am happy I chose Finland

For a person that loves traveling like me (this is also one major reason why I choose tourism as my major), I am happy that I chose Finland as a place for my study. I had the chance to travel abroad to a foreign country and live here. Finland is a northern country so it does have a lot of northern traits such as the people here or the weather.

During the winter it snows most of the time which is quite enjoyable for me, as a tropical country resident, this is a very new experience for me. I enjoy seeing snow showering – in my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful weather phenomenon!

And about the destination here in Finland, it is sad that I haven’t had the chance to travel to any tourist destination in Finland yet, but I sure know Lapland is very popular in the winter (I would love to go there next year). Oh, and Finland is also famous for having the most beautiful beach in northern Europe, Yyteri, which is also here in Pori where I live!


Text and photos: Duy Le, second year International Tourism Management student


An eye-opening travel experience

I have always been passionate about traveling. My family has always traveled ever since I was a kid, so I think that has had a huge impact on my interest in traveling.

I used to think that traveling was just a way to relax and travel to another country to see the most famous landmarks, but during my early teenage years, I started viewing traveling as a way to learn and meet other people and cultures.


The eye-opener

The first trip that really opened my eyes was the vacation to London when I was 15. My friend and I designed our own trip and it was a huge change to holidays that I was used to doing with my family. It really opened my eyes to a whole new way of enjoying traveling. Obviously, we visited the famous attractions, but we tried to not be the most basic tourist stereotype. For example, we didn’t want to take any guided tour busses and wanted to explore London by walking and “surviving” on our own. Because of that we also got to hang around and play frisbee with the local teenagers.



What I have noticed after that trip is that I remember a lot more of that vacation than some of the most recent trips. The more I travel with my own freedom and with my own will the more memorable the vacation is. As a traveler, I am open-minded and spontaneous which is really contradicting to my day-to-day persona. I am really rational and I like to plan things beforehand but when I’m traveling, I really try to be a freer spirit.

When I was younger, I wanted to always have the most luxurious hotels and eat in the most expensive restaurants and we often did. I truly feel I was close-minded and later I realized how much I have probably missed during those vacations. But I’m glad that at least now I have the ability to experience more in the future.

My future plans

I chose to study tourism because of the passion I have for traveling, but also because of the reason my personality fits this field of study. I always wanted to study law and I applied for it too, but it felt kind of forced and I didn’t think I would want to have it as my professional career.



As a tourism student, I feel that I have more freedom and more opportunities in the future, and the freedom that I lacked in the law field. I don’t stress too much about my career but I do know that I want to travel and socialize with new people!

Text: Vera Karttunen, second year International Tourism Management student
Pictures: Pixabay


My Erasmus+ experience 6106,8 km away from home

I’m not sure how to start this blog post, not for lack of knowledge, but to try to summarize my experience over the last few months in a few paragraphs.

I had always been attracted by that university life in which students were given the opportunity to choose one country among many to live there for a period. And as the saying goes, ’Time flies by and my time has come’. I wasn’t sure which country I was going to choose, but when I read it, it was one hundred percent clear: Finland.

But why Finland? ”You won’t stand the cold”. ”It’s too far away”. ”It’s in the North Pole”. Really? After a lot of brainstorming and questioning my decision, it was clear to me that I wanted to go to the furthest place from my current country to be able to live and learn from a culture extremely different from mine and see what I can learn from it! And obviously to reinforce my English, of course…

But as anyone my age would do nowadays, during the months before, I had to do an FBI inspection of ’Everything I must know about Finland before traveling’ so I swear I knew more about Finland in all those afternoons than in my whole stay.

My first contact with the experience was undoubtedly the outbound flight and its tiring layovers. However, once in the country, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the incredible green landscapes. Pori, which is the city I was going to stay in, looked like a typical city out of a family movie. The organization and structures were more of the same, and although I didn’t understand anything of what the people around me were saying, they seemed to be very friendly and respectful.  

Once the weeks had passed, I had settled into the flat, scouted out the area, and knew the classes I was going to be taught as well as my experience partners, my three stages of what I call ’FIN-Enamoramiento’ began.

Fin = Finland
Enamoramiento (Spanish word) = falling in love

Phase 1 of ‘FIN- Enamoramiento’

This first phase, as in any beginning, is the phase in which you hallucinate everything: people, streets, nature, landscapes, shops, food (although very expensive), weather (in summer and with more daylight hours than normal), education, economy, etc. I couldn’t believe that I was 6106,8 km away from home and living this great opportunity that not everyone can experience. 

The campfire evenings by the river or in the park were magical; the sunsets with those incredible colors were dreamy; the parties with music (some we didn’t understand) and with a group of unforgettable friends where people focus on having a good time; those first contacts with young Finns where, as usual when learning a language, they teach you the most ’beautiful’ words (you know what I mean); the incredible beach of Yyteri or the farm of Merikarvia together with cities like Tampere, Turku, Rauma or Helsinki made my stay a place to live forever.

We were surprised how many Finns had learned Spanish through the series ’La casa de Papel’ or even shocked to have to eat lunch at 11 AM in the morning when for us the usual time was breakfast, or the emphasis and enthusiasm, they put into cheering on their hockey team; among many other cultural shocks.

Phase 2 of ‘FIN-Enamoramiento’

Once the weeks have passed and as usual, the homesickness stage begins, when you start to miss your usual place and all that goes with it: family and friends. Everything reminds you of your home country and the comparisons begin with the food, the climate, the people, etc. Added to this is the fact that we were in the middle of the change of season and although we knew that we were going to have fewer hours of daylight, we were not really used to it.

However, we can only highlight funny anecdotes such as having dinner at 5 PM in the evening, something that would be unthinkable in Spain; confusing the times and thinking that it was 11 PM and it was still 7 PM; those first slips in the snow and comparisons with the calmness with which the Finns walk when they are used to it or even that we were wearing 5 layers of clothes and the rest had only 1 or 2.

Phase 3 of ‘FIN-Enamoramiento’

This is the most beautiful stage of all. At this stage you are already used to living there, you understand the reasons for many things and situations, what to do (good manners) and what not to do (bad manners), the typical foods or the funniest phrases of the language, the exchange of cultures that occurs in many situations and what you learn from it, the desire to discover and make more and more different plans to get to know Finland and its people.

But the most beautiful thing about this phase is undoubtedly the great maturity that you manage to acquire and above all to prove to yourself that you are capable of adapting and learning on your own or with friends in every situation. 

Yes, I know what you are thinking now: ’here comes the most sentimental part to close this blog post’. And the truth is that it is. Finland has undoubtedly been the country where I have stayed the longest after my home country (Spain), and therefore where I have learned the most. Not only culturally speaking, but also because many of the best memories of my life and undoubtedly people have left their mark on me.

It is sad to think that once my experience is over, I will no longer live here, no longer see the people I always see, no longer do what I did here and what is really beginning to form part of my day-to-day life, but what is clear is that my memories will never leave.

I still have the second half of the year to live, and I can’t be more anxious to know what it will bring. Could it be even more surmountable than this one?


Text and photos: Aissatou Díaz-Goudiaby, an Erasmus exchange student from Universidad de la Laguna