Long-term mobility of three students in Nousiainen in Finland
On 7th October 2023, three of our students – Johana Ludvíková, Veronika Klugerová a Tereza Marešová - set off for a long-term mobility in Finland. They will spend there 6 weeks studying at a local school in Nousiainen and exploring the country. Their stay there is organised and financed as an Erasmus+ project.
This is what the students wrote about their first two weeks in a foreign country:
The first week was definitely very rewarding and full of new experiences. It all started when the host students picked us up at the airport in Helsinki. After arriving home, I met the rest of the family, we had dinner and went for a drive around the neighborhood. The next day Sini (an exchange student who stayed with me) and Henni (my host sister) and I headed to the nearby city of Turku for lunch/dinner. After the meal, we wandered around town and bought some typical Finnish sweets.
So Monday came, the first day of school. After a quick tour of the school, we headed to art and English class. The main difference between the lessons that I noticed is the extensive use of technology and the 80 minute long classes. On Tuesday, Erasmus Day was held at the school, students who have experienced a stay abroad said a few words about their experiences. Next, teachers from the Czech Republic said some information about the Czech Republic and our school. To celebrate Erasmus Day and our arrival, the school prepared delicious cakes with Czech flags on them.
Later during the week I visited my host sister's siblings and their families, took a scenic walk around the neighborhood, visited a pumpkin festival, and went to the movies.
The weekend came as fast as lightning and we went on a very popular holiday for Finns: 22-hour boat trip to Sweden, around the Åland Islands and back. The catch is that you don't get off the ship, you just enjoy the program, delicious food and shops. The program included, for example, various band concerts, the well-known Finnish singer Benjamin, playing bingo, karaoke and movie quizzes. After a few hours of sleep, everyone went to the tax free shops. The cruise was truly a breathtaking experience, full of fun with the rest of the exchange students and their families.
Overall, I would say that it was a very successful start to my stay in Finland and I can't wait for what comes next.
The second week, the Finns had their week long autumn break. For us it meant a lot of trips and a busy schedule prepared by our host families.
On Monday, we caught up on sleep after a boat trip on the weekend, but we still had some plans. I went for lunch to an Asian buffet with my host sisters and then visited the local gym. Tuesday was a very exciting day because we went for a whole day to the capital city Helsinki. After the train journey we visited the National Museum, the Evangelical Catedral, the Uspenski Catedral, Esplandi Park, the President’s residence located by the harbor, the parliament and the very modern and advanced Oodi library. It was equipped e.g. with sewing machines, a recording studio, 3D printers, an extensive collection of books and plenty of space for studying and relaxation.
On Wednesday we just rested and recharged our batteries for the next day. Thursday was spent at an amusement park in Tampere. Due to the freezing weather most of the attractions were closed. What was open was a tower with a view of the amusement park and the whole city and an aquarium in the tower’s underground. Of course we tried some attractions and we ended the trip with a visit to the Haunted House, from which I left in tears. When I got home, I was so cold that my host family heated up the sauna for me. I quickly understood why the Finns love it.
Fridy came very quickly and we had a weekend by the sea planned. We stayed in a cozy apartment right by the sea. The question is…. what do the Finns do by the completely cold sea? The answer includes activities like boat rides that will leave you cold but the views are worth it and the perfect recovery for the cold is a sauna. In the evening you can bake cinnamon buns with special seasoning called cardamom and end the day with Christmas movies. A walk along the shore at sunset is also very much worth it.
We ended the week with another small trip to the nearby city of Turku, by taking a beautiful walk through the local parks overlooking the sea. It was truly a very enjoyable and well spent week.
This is what I experienced in the first week. We arrived at Helsinki airport late afternoon and headed to our host families. At the begging of the week, I was just exploring my new home´s surroundings and getting to know the host family. We were going on walks with the dogs and I admired the stunning Finnish nature. I fell in love with the lovely forests and the cold winter vibe of this country. The next day, on Monday, we were ready to gain new experiences and knowledge at school. It was fairly shocking to see that people at the school weren´t as smiley and loud as in the Czech Republic at first sight. Some aspects of the school system, and its functioning in general, also surprised us because it was pretty different from the Czech one. We quickly got used to it and even managed to find some friends, despite the fact that Finns are often very shy and not very talkative. After you get to know the people here, they aren´t as cold, although they don´t have much of a sense of humor. At the end of the week, we had a big family dinner with a lot of delicious traditional food. Over the weekend, we had a huge trip where we went on a cruise ship. We had a good time on the ship with very fancy dinner. I enjoyed the weekend with the food and music and also had fun buying a lot of souvenirs.
This was my second week in Finland and it was quite different it was school holidays the whole week. On Monday, I was just relaxing at home. I went on a beautiful nature walk with my host family and their dogs and that was really enjoyable. The next day we had planned a trip to the Capital of Finland, Helsinki. A modern and historical city, which kind of reminds me of Hradec Králové in Czech Republic. On the other hand, some places look like a modern city in the USA, New York. We saw not only the main tourist spots (like Helsinki Cathedral, the Parliament House and Uspenski Cathedral and the Presidential Palace from outside) but we also visited local shops and second-hand shops nearby that were super cozy. We settled in a modern library (Helsinki Central Library Oodi), where I was very impressed by the possibilities of activities in various sections on the first floor of the building. There were a lot of music and work studios, a room for cooking and more. It was so breath-taking and super interesting. We really enjoyed this day, at least until our train was an hour late in the evening, but we survived and managed to get safely. Next on the program was an amusement park with a Halloween carnival, which I enjoyed very much until that cold weather. On the weekend, we spend the time by the sea in a small, pleasant apartment with Tereza and Henni. We were watching movies, baking cinnamon buns, and getting to know each other better. We also tried sauna, which I discovered was very refreshing and nice. It was maybe that good because of the cold windy weather, but we understood why Finns like it so much.
This was my first week in Finland. I have experienced so many new things like never before in my life.
We arrived on Saturday, so we had a lovely time getting to know the family and being welcomed again by the host students, as well as familarization with the environment where we will spend the next 6 weeks. I live in a remote place by the sea, and it couldn't be better. The nature is beautiful. It absolutely exceeded my expectations. In just a week, I learned to row a boat, catch fish into a cage, tried the famous Finnish sauna, and above all, appreciated the beautiful nature.
On Monday, we started at the new school, and there are a lot of new things that surprised us. From walking without slippers to the lunches, where we explore what we're actually eating and what combinations even exist, to the length of the lessons, which is 75 minutes.
We also notice a lot about the students and their behavior, which differs from the Czech one. They are not as active and noisy in classes, but also during breaks, as we are, and we are a new element for them at school. What is a very interesting fact, though, is that a lot of people are blond, and sometimes we don't even know if they are siblings or friends.
On Tuesday, the Erasmus Day took place, and the Finnish school students prepared a presentation about their Erasmus travels, and our Czech teachers presented about our beautiful Rychnov. Even the school cooks baked a beautiful cake for us, and we also found out that we appeared on the school's Instagram. That was really surprising.
We finished our first week with a trip on a really big cruise, where we had a great meal and also experienced a night in a cabin. We were told that this is typical Finnish fun, and many people just go for a ride like this. For me, the rocking of the boat was sometimes uncomfortable, but it was still an experience. Overnight, we sailed all the way to Sweden, so we can also say that we've been to Sweden, although we didn't see anything of it. I really appreciate being here, and I hope my stay here will continue in the same spirit.
My second week in Finland, we all welcomed the holidays. All the students were very happy.
On Monday, I went exploring the local beautiful forests and immediately combined it with mushroom picking - funnel chanterelles. I found it funny that we had to wear red hats on our heads so the moose hunters could see us. We don't want to end up with a bullet in our head. The local flora is absolutely amazing and I really love the forests here.
On Tuesday, the school organized a trip to Helsinki for us, and the entire female part of our group went on a day trip. We visited the National Gallery, the Evangelical Cathedral, the Assumption Cathedral, Esplanadi Park, the Presidential Palace, the Parliament, and, most impressively for us, the Helsinki Central Library Oodi. We had a great time, thanks also to our visit to a second-hand store, and despite a train delay, we arrived home enthusiastic, although tired. My wonderful host family even prepared dinner for me, which was greatly appreciated after such a trip.
Wednesday brought us nice, although cold weather, and since I live by the sea, my host family and I went out on a boat. I really enjoyed it, and the views were great. It's a shame I didn't see a swimming moose. In the evening, we even went to the town of Salo, where there was an exhibition of Halloween pumpkins, and I had the opportunity to taste glöck, which is a traditional warming beverage.
The girls planned a trip to Tampere on Thursday, where there's a big amusement park. Here, we realized for the first time that winter will soon be a major player. We rather underestimated it. In addition, there was a Halloween program, so there were zombies among us.
My host mom's mother owns a summer cottage on an island by the sea, and Hanna was so kind and wanted to take me there. We went there together by boat, which functions like a bus, with the host dad on the island. I've never seen anything like it. Janne didn't stay with us overnight, but my host mom and I did. Besides the beautiful nature, I even went for a swim in the sea (more like a quick dip) and enjoyed the great sauna. The experience was absolutely amazing.
Sunday was about resting and preparing for work after the week of holidays and also for relaxation before the next week.
„Financováno Evropskou unií. Vyjádřené názory a stanoviska představují názory a stanoviska autorů a nemusí nutně odrážet názory a stanoviska Evropské unie nebo Domu zahraniční spolupráce. Evropská unie ani poskytovatel grantu za ně nenesou odpovědnost.“