Monthly Archives: December 2013

Developing my sensitivity on culture

by Zipporah Jerugut, degree student in Environmental Engineering

A Christmas tree, a church in the background

Christmas time in Tampere city centre

A step for everyone considered to be the first on entering a foreign country, is to adapt to the society of that particular country; Finnish in this case. This is because history and culture just like any other country influences our ways of communication and doing things. My encounter in Finland have made me understand how culture impacts other people’s behavior and now am able to explain why certain things are done in particular ways-making it easier to cooperate, work and communicate.

Studying abroad contrary to touring interesting places provides a good opportunity to learn to use a foreign language in practice and even more importantly, to work and study with it. While trying to get things done, studies have forced me to interact with local people, an opportunity that touring seldom gives to experience foreign culture. I have developed some sensitivity on culture difference and confusion has seized.

As opposed to Kenya, it is not necessary to ask a secretary to make an appointment with a professor in Finland. Any student can approach the faculty directly and this as factor enables a friendly interaction with ease to matters relating with studies. Interaction with professors is very informal therefore equality between people is very evident. It is perhaps one of the nicest elements in the Finnish university system!

Finnish people as I have noticed are strict in obeying rules. It greatly moves when you see people stand at the red traffic light even though there is no one else around. This clearly potray the Finnish culture that is built on honesty and trust.

Small red shop cottages and decorative evening lights

People exploring Tampere Christmas market

Finnish people according to my findings do not practice their religion regularly as they do not consider it a very important part of their life. However, holidays like Christmas is mostly celebrated extensively as early as 23rd of December all through 26th unlike in other places where celebrations are only 25th and 26th.

Finland’s living standard is highly enhanced due to the basics needs of citizens being taken care of by Government unlike in many other countries. People primarily pay their taxes honestly because from it they gain benefits of free education, free healthcare and even the well-functioning public infrastructure. Anyone despite the family background get an access to education and is equally important contributor to the well-being of the nation. In other countries, access to education is only for those who can afford.


Cottage weekend

Nusret Ílhan, exchange student

Signpost in a snowy forestIf you came to Finland as an exchange student, cottage weekend is the thing that you definitely should experience. Two days without electricity, running water, mobile phones like in the middle age.

Young man with an axe on his shoulder on a snnowy ground, an old house in the background

Here I come – some firewood is needed!

It didn’t think that cottage weekend was going to be that hard and that funny. When we arrived our cottage, weather was chilly. I think ıt was because of location of the cottage, it was in the middle of the forest and there was a lake nearby. After we settled, organizers told us our responsibilities and divided us into groups. I took place in Fire and chopping group. Our cottage was so cold to live so we needed to fire up the fire places, ovens and of course sauna. We chopped some wood and funny part began…

I need to say that, sauna in Finland especially in cottage is totally different from your home county. We had to make a fire in the oven to warm up the sauna. And I can say that even smell of the sauna gets you in the middle age mood. I suppose jumping into lake after sauna, is like a tradition in Finland. It was crazy but surprisingly hilarious.

Moreover, I learned that, if you stay a few hours near to bonfire you smell like barbeque. But bonfire part was worth that. We grilled some sausages and told stories. It was really warm environment and I had a lot of good friend.

people around a fire roasting sausages


When you don’t have your phone with you, you have to speak with the others and if the others are in the same situation, you discover how fun to know new people. We talked for hours and played card games and performed a roleplaying game. I never thought that I wouldn’t get bored of card games and talking till that time.

Finally bed time has come but we had a big problem. It wasn’t warm enough to sleep yet. Nevertheless, I slept like a baby with a bunch of clothes.

Undone salmon fillet fastened on a plank board


İn the morning organizers woke us up at 7 am. I had to get out of my warm bed and went to hiking at -10˚C. Everybody was sleepy at first but weather did its work. After 20 minutes we were walking like hell to get warm. Forest in Finland is another beauty. Winter shows you how lovely it could be.

In the end when farewell time has come, everybody was sad about it but also we knew that we had the best weekend ever. Cottage was totally different experience for me. I had a great time and I will do it again when I get the chance.



Celebrations in other countries – Juhlia muualla maailmassa

Dumitru Coretchi, exchange student in International Business, Benjamin MacNab, degree student in Environmental Engineering, Petra Kármán, exchange student in Social Services, Lackson Kashobwe, degree student in Environmental Engineering, Daniel Bodenmiller, degree student in Environmental Engineering

Red and white twines in a bow.

Moldovalaisen Martisor-kevätjuhlan koriste

Mărțișor on vanha romanialainen juhla kevään alussa, sitä vietetään ensimmäisenä päivänä maaliskuuta. Tämä juhla symboloi talven loppua ja uuden ajan alkua. Tänä paivänä ihmiset antavat toinen toisilleen koristeen, jossa on kaksi pientä köyttä: yksi on valkoinen ja toinen on punainen. Yhdessä ne ovat Mărțișor – kevään talismaani. Mărtisor symboloi luonnon voimaa ja heräämistä, ja se annetaan läheisille ihmisille, esimerkiksi  vanhemmille, lapsille ja läheisille ystäville. Mărțișor-koristetta pidetään rinnassa lähellä sydäntä koko maaliskuu, minkä jälkeen se laitetaan puuhun, palautetaan se luonnolle.

Australian kansallispäivää juhlitaan 26. tammikuuta siksi, että ensimmäinen siirtolaislaivasto saapui Australiaan vuonna 1788.   Se on hyvin iso juhla. Minun suosikkiradioasemalla soitetaan top 100 -laulua viime vuodelta. Yleensä sitä musiikkia kuunnellaan ystävän kanssa ja juodaan paljon olutta. Kansallispäivä on yleensä kuuma, koska se on kesällä. Usein myös silloin grillataan ulkona. Se on kiva päivä.

Red-white-green decoration for Hungarian independence celebration

Unkarilaiset pitävät tällaista kokardia vallankumouspäivänä

Viidestoista maaliskuuta on vallankumouspäivä Unkarissa. Sitä juhlitaan, koska vuosina 1848–1849  syntyi moderni, parlamentaarinen Unkari. Vallankumouspäivänä pidetään lomaa: se on koko kansan lomapäivä. Silloin ei olla työssä ja käytetään kokardia, jossa on Unkarin värit punainen, vihreä ja valkoinen. Kaikissa kaupungeissa vietetään muistojuhlaa.

Sambian itsenäisyyspäivä on 24. lokakuuta. Se on mukava ja ihana päivä, koska silloin soitetaan musiikkia, näytellään, tanssitaan, syödään ja juodaan. Silloin muistetaan sitä, kun vapauduttiin brittiläisten vallasta.

Etelä-Saksassa juhlitaan Oktoberfestiä. Juhlille pukeudutaan perinteisiin baijerilaisiin vaatteisiin, esimerkiksi nahkahousuihin. Siellä juodaan litroittain olutta. Oluen kanssa syödään makkaraa ja hapankaalia. Jos juodaan       liikaa olutta, valitettavasti helposti oksennetaan ja myös pissataan  väärään paikkaan. Semmoinen juhla.