Tag Archives: Finns

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.




How to wear and act in a snowy country

by Lackson Kashobwe, degree student in Environmental Engineering

An African man and woman in thick, colourful wear in a snowy landscape

In winter wonderland with my sister

It was more than  a  year ago, in August 2012, when I came from Zambia, southern part of Africa,  to Finland which I feel to be blessed with a lot of natural resources and also knowledge  – for  example numerous lakes, snow, forests and good health care and education systems.

I think that fashion in Finland has an original aesthetic style, unlike in any other area in the world. Residents make their style their own, with bright colors and warm fabrics, in order to combat  typical cold and dark months. Their clothing, also, focuses on the importance of handmade and high quality prints, which look both old and new, at the same time. Finnish fashion is relatively young.

God keeps his people in different ways; it’s amazing and interesting to see how Finnish people survive during winter time. Because winter time in Finland is characterized by several things such as darkness and coldness, but also this season is longer than any other season. It is also fascinating to see how developed Finland has been in almost all sectors despites long dark days and winter period.

The dressing during winter time is mostly winter jacket, long coat, long johns for males inside their trousers and thermal underwear for females.

Five people swinging light sticks in darkness on a snowy ground

Having fun outside the cottage during Christmas

I think that winter time is the best time of the year! So lovely is the snow raining down from the skies, all vegetation; houses are covered by snow so charming. The first day I saw snow was when coming out of the room and only to find white carpet of snow waiting for me to step on it. I enjoyed every single hour, minute and second of Finnish winter and luck in enough I have my sister who took me round and showed most of activities that happen during winter time. My best experience was when I visited the countryside. There we played some games, we did skinny sliding on the snow and we made snow balls. It was wonderful time of my life.

Each season has both advantages and harms. So some people may dislike winter, but what is important is to appreciate each season and learn to do something that will make the season meaningful and important in our life.



by Christos Paraskevopoulos, degree student in Environmental Engineering

Europe of the 21st century is compilation of people with different languages, religions, histories, skin colours and cultures. All this applies ideally in our multicultural community in TAMK expanding our horizons to the most distant and remote places of the world. Young people from the all over the globe add their personality and deposit their soul making our little village in the middle of Finland a vivid center of interest.

My favourite activity in Finland is sauna. On my early days in Finland when sauna for me was just a hot humid-less extra room in the house or building and I had a hard time to understand the culture behind this event.

Inside picture of a sauna: brown wooden walls, ceiling and benches - a small window as well.

My new place of harmony!

Then I found my first sauna ystävä (= friend). He had patience to explain what the Finns mean when they say “we get life and death in sauna” and how sauna is such an important integrated social activity in the unique Finnish culture. I come from Greece and when I there want to talk with a friend to get some advise, to share an opinion or just to hang out we go to a coffee house (καφενείο) preferably by the coastline or on a mountain hill and we sit there and talk for hours.

Two male winter swimmers in the hole in the ice

Fresh life!

In Finland people are more introspektiivisiä (= introspective) and sauna helps for those tough defences to drop or better melt!!! When you go in sauna and the temperature is 80 – 90°C you body stresses and your mind must decide if it should focus on preserving your suspensions or preserve your life. And guess what! It chooses to drop the defences and then the good time starts. When you enter the sauna you leave outside except from your cloths your bad attitude and you go there to enjoy yourself. You go there to have fun, to be with people you care and to clear your mind. You cleanse you body as the toxins come out from your pores and you start to sweat like not tomorrow. After a few minutes you can go out have a cold shower, dive in the cold icy lake, go out in the cold snow and my favourite drop on the snow and make little angels.

In my sauna preferences I add two of my bad habits. Cold beer during sauna and smoking a cigarette during the sauna breaks.

An angel gesture in the snow

My bright winter angel

Even after a busy day (and as a TAMK student we have many of those) when I know that I’m going to have sauna it makes my day and give me the motivation to go on. An after the Sauna experience you feel both relieved and energetic either to go to sleep or to go out and party all night. It’s up to you to try them both.

Eläköön suomalainen sauna!


Here you are: Fingerpori!

by Marja Oksanen

Fingerpori cartoon strips made by Pertti Jarla belong to the most popular ones in Finland. Now a few of them have been translated into English, too. Mostly the points of them have been tightly connected with Finnish language, but in those exemples you can find in the link below they work also quite well in English. Take a trip to Jarla’s humour!



Summer School Nostalgia

by Maksim Mandelshtam, degree student in Environmental Engineering

A couple of students sitting on a lawn, chatting and having beer.

Having a great time together!

The first vaikutus (impression) , nevertheless it’s proved to be true or not, is usually kept in mind for a long time. This applies to people, places, works of art and so on. It also works with cities. My first impressions of Tampereen kaupunki (city) were formed during my first month of stay, which happened to be August, when I was studying Finnish language and culture in Unipoli Summer school.

I have to say with appreciation that this summer school helped to understand better the city, its unique culture and atmosphere. We had great trips around the city on the first week and lectures on Finnish culture and history on the 2 others, along with intensive courses of suomen kieli (Finnish language).

A smiling girl and boy, In the background mustamakkara kiosk.

Eating mustamakkara. The literal translation of this delicate is “black sausage”, trust me!

Lots of events were held during August, when we were studying, raging from Tampere Theatre Festival and various music festivaali (Guess what it means!). I visited some of them with my classmates, which were mainly coming from outside Eurooppa (Now you can understand how to make words sound Finnish!).

The whole year has passed  by since I studied in Summer School, a lot of things have changed, many of my ex-classmates have left Tampere and a lot of new friends I have met here. But I still remember these three weeks in August, when Tampere first demonstrated some of its beauties to me and my classmates from all around the world.


Studying and living in Finland – a newcomer’s point of view

by Vera Mazaikina, degree student in Environmental Engineering

Smiling student crowd in sunshine with their overalls and balloons.

Energizing student life!

Terveisiä Suomesta! Nimeni on Vera ja minä olen ensimmäisen vuoden opiskelija Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulussa. Olen kotoisin Venäjän pohjoisosasta, Murmanskista, mutta tällä hetkellä asun Suomessa.

Local people and Finnish mentality – were the first things that surprised me. In the early days of my stay in this country, Finnish people seemed to me so reserved and shy. More than once I saw how at local bars, many fins enjoyed coming in for a drink on their own.

After a few months I have spent in Finland, I met with a lot of Finns, and now they do not seem to me slow and apathetic people. On the contrary, many of them know how to have fun and a good time. Those first two months of my life in here, created a false impression of an entire culture and people. Turned on the fact that these people are in the majority, are very kind and honest, these two qualities, this combines the features of the people of Finland. In the beginning it’s not that easy to get through to the Finns. They seem a bit reserved. But once you really get to know them, you will have a friend for a lifetime.

The second thing that must be mentioned – the atmosphere at the university. Straight away I felt welcome and well-prepared for my life in a foreign country. I never had the feeling that I was left alone with my questions, tutors and teachers are always ready to help. You are somehow on the same level with the teachers. When I think about my first weeks and months in Finland, I was really impressed by the attitude of the university staff.

In Tampere, we have seminars of the size of 10 to 25 people and a really close relationship with the teaching professors. The professors are more like colleagues here. If you want to discuss something with them, you can always arrange a meeting on short notice. Studying here is a very personal and collaborative experience.

This is completely different from my previous studies at Russian high school. Every lesson I took there was packed and impersonal.

I also would like to emphasize that the equipment of the university here is excellent. In my field of studies, this applies especially for the environmental laboratories and the extensive collection of the university library. Finland is a small but very modern knowledge society. It is easy to get access to all kinds of information, not only on the scientific level, but in everyday life. The computer facilities are usually up-to-date. A fast internet connection for all users is of course standard in the university.

I especially like the living environment. Finland is very safe country, especially comparing to Russia, you don’t have to fear neither crime nor discrimination.

For six months I have lived here in Tampere, the third largest city in Finland, and many things have changed in this short period of time. Streets, houses, and the main thing – people, do not seem to me so unknown and alien anymore. During this time, I could experience the atmosphere of this wonderful country, and the more I get to know it, the more I like it.


Coffee places for working in Finland

by Yulia Pak, degree student in Media

A student boy sitting at a cafeteria table writing his home work

Jungsoo writing Finnish exercises at cafeteria table

Working in coffee places is a special culture, at least for me. Firstly, I would like to specify what do I mean under “working”: come to coffee places to do study or work, if person is a writer, for example. As for me I spend plenty of time in coffee places by doing my studies, thinking, making notes or just meeting my friends. Coffee places can tell a lot about mentality of people and in every city or country I check how popular is this culture. Of course, I did the same in Finland. I’m not really good in making good and understandable structure of texts therefore I will write all articulately.

Which coffee places are appropriate for working?

The main criteria are quite easy and obvious: a lot of sockets, wi¬fi and light. It is good to have bright day light and when it is dark to have individual light for every table. Individual light creates a feeling of personal space which is really required for working. Personal space can also be created by good arrangements of tables. Good and calm background music is also really needed. Additionally, when I’m looking for coffee places I prefer old style places with a lot of design elements which make comfort.

Findings in Finland.

Here I would like to write some my findings about this culture in Finland. When I came 7 months ago to Finland it was difficult to find any place to study but during this time two new Wayne’s coffee places were opening and they have almost all criteria for working. But still there are not so many. Another appropriate places simply don’t have sockets or wi¬fi. Most of the people that I met in Wayne’s just come to communicate not for working. If people usually come to work to cafes because they need to isolate theirselves from home or they want to find a special mood for working. May be it is possible to say that Finnish people are really home lovers! They better bring atmosphere of comfort to home than try to find it somewhere else. I think like this because Finnish shops are full of homy style stuff but it is difficult to find cafes in this style. In this way, I really appreciate the fact but as a foreigner here with my crazy love to cafes I would like to see more cafes for working than bars.


Finns – special of their own way

by Henry Koch, degree student in Environmental Engineering

People around the lighthouse Siilinkari on a sunny winter day: blue sky, snow on the ice

People in Tampere use to gang together at the lighthouse Siilinkari when the winter sun rises higher and higher and the ice is still strong enough.

The first chapter in English, the second the same in Finnish etc.

I think that Finland, this silent and deeply forested country in the Nordic region, is a country full of love and humility. With four seasons in a year: summer, autumn, spring and winter, the spirit of my new home country never fades.

Minun mielestäni Suomi, tämä hiljainen ja todella metsäinen maa Pohjois-Euroopassa, on täynnä rakkautta ja nöyryyttä. Siellä on neljä vuodenaikaa: kesä, syksy, kevät ja talvi, mutta minun uuden kotimaani henki pysyy samana.

However, majority of the visitors who visit Finland for a short time get the impression that Finns are “cold” people. This impression is not always true! Because the people like to have their space, they live a modest way and are quite respectful of other people’s space and time. Finns never boast of their achievements.

Kuitenkin moni Suomessa vierailijoista luulee, että suomalaiset ovat kylmiä luonteeltaan. Vaikutelma ei ole aina totta, koska ihmiset vain haluavat omaa tilaa, he ovat vaatimattomia ja kunnioittavat toisten tilaa ja aikaa. He eivät kehu itseään.

One thing the Finnish people should be very proud of is their language. Suomi on maailman paras kieli!

Yksi asia, josta suomalaisten pitäisi olla oikein ylpeitä, on heidän kielensä. Suomi on maailman paras kieli!


Price plaque of winter cafeteria at Siilinkari lighthouse

When you have walked, skated or skiid to the lighthouse, do you need a hot drink or a snack?