I was one of the first exchange students to arrive in Tampere, I got here on August 4th. My flight was a very short one since I was coming from Barcelona where I spent some time on holiday with my sister, but my trip began from Mexico City. Anyways, on the plane from Barcelona to Helsinki I was very nervous. I was not sure what to expect but as we approached to Helsinki, being now over the north of Europe, I was able to see the big green landscapes. I was so shocked!
If you have ever been in Mexico or have ever heard anything from it, you must have only two (wrong) ideas: We live in little villages, ride donkeys and wear sombreros all the time, or you think we live in not that big cities with air pollution, trash on the streets, drug dealers everywhere and non safe places. The last one is not that far away from reality, but people think the worst of it. The truth is that we live in big, clean, kind of safe cities (most of us) with clean air and just a little pollution. Like most of cities in the world now, we have big buildings, subways, buses, lots of cars (too many of them I think) all kind of houses, big companies and a lot of industry. But it is also true that we don’t have a lot of green landscapes, most of them are very far away from the cities and it is very hard to get there. So, you can imagine my face when I was flying upon this new kind of cities, surrounded by the woods, so close to lakes and nature. Then I took another (very short) flight to Tampere, the view from the window was no different but better. From that moment on, I felt calm, I told myself this is exactly what I need.
Since I got down from the plane, my tutor, who has been very kind and nice to me, was waiting for me. She ran into me waving and saying “hi!” like she has known me for years. That was my first impression of Finnish people, and yet has not changed at all: Every single person I have met here has been very nice to me.
We took the bus to the city centre, and during the ride she was explaining all these things to me about the city, the school and my apartment. I have to admit, I did not pay any attention to her! (Oopsi!) I was just looking outside the window, the city was so calm, the people look like they don’t even know what stress is. It was not like I imagined at all, it was so much better.
On the second day I bought my bus card. I didn’t even know where to buy it but I went to the city centre and started asking. As I said, people are so nice here, the lady in the bus office was the sweetest person ever and answered every single question I had about the card, some of them were pretty lame, haha. With the bus card now, I have been just taking buses around the city and getting lost to get to know the city. And I must say, what I have liked the most is that the city is surrounded by woods and it is very clean and beautiful.
Text and photos: Nohemi Cuituny