International Coordinator, Mirja Onduso and Communicator, Andruta Ilie started organizing a series of Finnish activities at TAMK for international students who study or do their exchange at Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The aim of this project is to introduce students to the Finnish lifestyle while connecting with each other and developing friendships.
Turku is Finland’s first city and also its first capital. A vibrant trading hub and centre for administration, for centuries Turku was a gateway for much that influenced Finland.
After deciding to take our students on a road trip once a month, I created a poll in our group and asked them to vote which cities and towns they would like to visit. Turku was one the first options and easily accessible via Onnibus. So I went ahead and purchased my bus tickets and confirmed with them the best timetable and all our journey details. I was thrilled to see six students at our meeting point in Kaleva, Tampere.
At our arrival in Turku, we stopped to grab some breakfast and coffee from a Hesburger restaurant located next to the bus stop. From there, we walked all the way to Turku Cathedral, which is regarded as Finland’s most valuable historical monumental building. Following the walking tour from the cathedral to Turku Castle, we enjoyed the beautiful sights of river Aura, only to reach its end and the beginning of the sea. Here, we came across Forum Marinum, a national specialist museum, naval museum and event centre with a fascinating story told by its exhibitions. We went inside and experienced the history of Finnish Navy.
Located at about a ten-minute walk from Forum Marinum, is Turku Castle, an important piece of architectural history and a cultural tourism destination. Through its history, the castle has functioned as a defensive fortress, luxurious residential palace, administrative centre, prison, granary and garrison. After exploring the castle, we all walked back to the city centre and came across an international food market with delicacies inviting to taste.
It was my first time in Turku and it felt great to be able to share this experience with TAMK students.
Below are some impressions sent to me by Anni Chen, Chinese degree student in International Business:
"Yesterday we went on a road trip to Turku and it was the first time I visited there, so did everyone else. We were all excited about the trip even though the weather was cold and windy. We first went to Forum Marinum museum which had lots of ship models and real boats in it. It was spectacular and awesome. Then we visited the famous Turku Castle and the whole experience in the castle reminded me of the movie "The Maze Runner". The castle is so huge and it took a while to go through it. It was like an adventure where we looked on the map and figured out which way to go. After that, we headed to the city centre and ran into an international food market. Since some of us would leave Turku at 16:45 and others would leave at 20:00, we separated the group into two. My friend and I, together with Andruta went downtown and looked around for a little bit, then found a good Mexican restaurant to have dinner. We had so much fun during the trip and hope we can have more trips like this in the future!"
Text: Andruta Ilie
Photos: Anni Chen & Andruta Ilie