Posts in the Tampere category

TAMK Summer School 2017 Wrap-up

TAMK Summer School 2017 concluded on 18.08.2017.

On 07.08.2017 we were thrilled to kick off TAMK Summer School 2017, welcoming students from Germany, Portugal, the Palestinian Territory, Poland, Hungary, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Canada and the United States to Tampere and TAMK.

Nineteen students spent two weeks participating in an intensive Basics of Finnish course, studying language and culture with lecturer Sini Knuutila, as well as taking part in a social programme of free-time activities. The programme included trips to Flowpark and the Särkänniemi amusement park and a kickbiking tour that ended at the Kaupinoja sauna. The Finnish food tasting event was of particular interest, giving our students a glimpse into some traditional Finnish delicacies – such as karelian pastries, mushroom pie, blueberry pie and smoked reindeer – and sparking interesting discussion on various national cuisines.

A few days into the course, students were already putting their Finnish skills to use in everyday activities in and around Tampere. Summer School students who will be staying at TAMK as exchange and degree students over the coming autumn semester highlighted the advantage of having come to Finland early to learn the basics of the language and get their bearings in the city. The course inspired interest in further Finnish language studies and additional demand for Finnish courses for exchange students. Students were eminently satisfied with the Summer School, the majority indicating that the course had been a valuable addition to their studies as well as enjoying the participatory nature of the education given during the course.

The TAMK Summer School team wishes our Summer School students a successful Autumn semester in their exchange and degree studies!

Text: Johannes Paavola

Pictures: Saara Lehtonen, Johannes Paavola, Márton Merész, Essi Sirén

TAMK Summer School Reflections

Joining the TAMK summer school is definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made. Before arriving, I did not know what to expect at all. Coming from the other side of the world, I did not know much about Finland except for the wonderful nature landscape. Friends asked me why I would go to Finland and made comments like “It is so cold and dark there, people are very reserved and it is impossible to make local friends!” After 2 weeks in Tampere, I have only met incredibly wonderful, helpful and sincere Finns. They are definitely the most genuine people I have ever met.

The summer school combining Finnish lessons and free time activities definitely helped in bringing orientation to the city, learning a lot about the culture, food and people here. This is especially helpful before the term starts, so that one can have a smooth start when the term begins. I’m particularly intrigued by the Sauna culture, because it seems to be not just a place to sweat, but a meet up point for friends. It is really a way of life! I was amazed how people were talking so much in the Sauna as if they would do at the marketplace. I also enjoyed very much the Finnish food tasting, to have the most Finnish food all in one plate!

Thank you very much for organizing. I had an amazing time 🙂

Text and photo: Isabell Koh

My First Days in Finland

I am Sarah Bali, a Palestinian Media student that got accepted in the exchange program at TAMK for one semester.  As I got here, I started exploring the city of Tampere and was astonished by the breathtaking beauty of it.

It is true that I faced many obstacles such as getting lost in the woods and having drunk people talk to me in the streets for the first time, always getting on the wrong bus and getting cold a lot, however the Finnish class and getting to know all of these amazing people from all over the world made things easier for me. I’m now a person that knows a lot of places in Tampere and I have a lot of new friends. I hope the rest of my journey here is going to be as nice as this start!

 

 

Text and photos: Sarah Bali

Text: Mirja Onduso
Photo: Merja Halivaara


Laughter and chatter in various languages filled TAMK’s cafeteria on a Friday evening in March when 59 international students from TAMK, TUT and UTA and 43 local Friend Families met each other for the first time over blueberry pie at TAMK.

IMG_3332– I was thrilled and eager to meet my friend family, said Hai Luong Dang, a first-year student from Tampere University of Technology (TUT).

Hai was one of the lucky international students studying in TUT, Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) or University of Tampere (UTA) to get a local friend family through the universities’ Friend Family Programme. His Friend Family is Mira Pihlström’s family.

The universities have been running the Friend Family Programme together for already six years, and this year a record number of 43 families got involved. Earlier the programme was coordinated by UNIPOLI staff; from this year onwards it will be TAMK’s responsibility.

The idea of the programme is to help international students integrate into Finnish way of life, and to offer families a chance to practice their foreign language and intercultural skills. TAMK arranges the first and the last meeting jointly to all participants, and the family-student pairs otherwise agree on how often to meet and what to do. The families and the students commit to the programme for one year – but may even become friends for life!

Most families ‘adopt’ one international student, some brave ones even two.

Exciting experience for both sides

Mira Pihlström was an exchange student in Spain during her own studies, so she knows how it is to live in another country.

– I like meeting people from different countries and learning about their cultures, and it’s never a bad thing to have more friends either, she said.

In her application, she wished to have a “social, humorous and chatty” student friend – and she got two social, humorous and chatty Vietnamese boys, who had never met each other even though they have both lived in Finland for almost one year.

– I didn’t know anything about Vietnam but they told me e.g. that the traffic is chaotic and that families are only allowed to have two children, Mira said.

Hai was also excited:

– Meeting Mira erased my preassumed thoughts that Finnish people are not so into small talk: she was so receptive to our conversation and it was a memorable experience. We talked a lot of many different things: life in Vietnam and for example Finnish life, food, traffic and law. We helped Mira to know a lot more about Vietnam, since she didn’t have any clues about our country before, said Hai.

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Students may live here for 4-5 years without ever seeing a Finnish home

International students often find it difficult to integrate into the Finnish society and local activities. Many have said that they have lived in Finland for many years and have never been to a Finnish home or met other people than students: children, elderly or working people.

– My first meeting with my Friend Family is actually my first time ever talking to Finnish people outside the university and supermarket, said Hai.

The Friend Family Programme is open to TAMK, TUT and UTA students and any local families. Students may be selected for the Friend Family programme only once but families may act as Friend Families as many times as they wish!

Although most of the advertising is done through the universities, families don’t need to be related to the universities: any family interested in sharing their family experiences and learning about other cultures is welcome to apply. Also, all kinds of families are welcome: families with children or no children, large families or single-person families.

Both students and families have to apply for the programme. The application period is in January-March, and the programme runs in March-December.

The next application period for 2018 programme will be in January-March 2018. The instructions can be found on the UNIPOLI website.

Kauppi forests calling in May

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Many international students are usually interested in nature – and they have often only heard stories of the Finnish summer cottages. Hai might or might not yet know that Mira’s family also has a summer cottage!

In May, TAMK usually arranges also a joint forest trip and sausage roasting in Kauppi forest for the families and students.

Before the forest walk, they have plans for May Day (in Finnish, vappu) celebration:

– I wait for more activity with my Friend Family. These weeks are very busy for us, the exam week. However, we are going to have a picnic after the exam. I hope the weather will be nice to us, wished Hai.

Hai, how was blueberry pie?

– I don’t remember, all my memory and attention was drawn into the conversation with Mira!

 

Text: Mirja Onduso
Photo: Merja Halivaara

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The mood was quite happy at the certification. Rasa Jakstaite from Lithuania.

Farewells are always moving, especially after some intense and eventful past few days. Though, everything must come to an end and now it was time for the International Staff Week in Tampere 2016.

Thursday 9 of June

Last lecture from Nancy Aalto

The final lecture of Nancy wrapped up the last lectures with culture shock and adjusting to foreign countries. These are some of the topics that are important to convey for students and staff going abroad. Culture shock can for example have physical symptoms such as different pains and bad feelings. These are mainly caused by disorientation after the initial honeymoon phase with the new country begins to fade. Loss of familiarity makes everything too overwhelming, because there is a constant need for attention.

Although, after a while it becomes easier. This might take few weeks or months, depending on the impact of the culture shock, but eventually the new country starts to feel familiar.

The familiarity starts to feel like home usually right about when it is actually time to go home. This happens quite often for exchange students – when the moment of home arrival comes, the re-entry culture shock begins. Almost the same phenomenon as going to a foreign country, but this time it is the home country causing the shock.

Intercultural Communication is a very important topic for everyone working with people from foreign countries: It helps us understand what they are going through and how we can help in the culture shock phase. This importance was recognized by the lecture attendees, as Nancy received praises from everyone. The lectures felt very personal and thus had a good impact and a meaning for practical use.

Social Media and Campus visits during Benchmarking

Last benchamarking sessions were held in quite a big group as both Library and Study services joined with International services in social media session held by TAMK’s Community Manager, Essi Kannelkoski. Along this session the HR and Sports services had their own topics.

  • International, Library and Study services had social media session called “Using Social Media and TAMK Learning Environments Through Student Experience”. Here ideas and practices were shared from social media usage in the universities. Most of the Universities had Facebook pages and some groups for exchange and degree students. Some were even on Instagram and their students had “taken over” the official page for day or two to show interesting pictures of student life. The overall Social Media activity for Universities is still in development as there were no “all-star” best practices to benefit from different platforms. It is very hard to measure the impact of different social media services, even for businesses that rely constantly on these services.
  • Sports Services had a wrap-up session of the topics discussed and went to visit Tamppi Areena, the sports center of Tampere University of Technology in Hervanta – currently the newest sports center for students before TAMK’s new facilities are finished. At Tamppi Areena, there are group activity halls, weightlifting gym and sauna facilities for the students to use.
  • HR services had a discussion about Recruitment, HR systems and Payroll. Along these topics the past discussions from previous days were recapped to have nice wrap-up.

“Graduation”

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Everyone received a sertificate and small gift bag to take a small piece of Finland back home. Silvya Hristova from Bulgaria.

With the last benchmarking sessions over and best practices pocketed for further development in each institution, it was time for the “graduation” ceremony!

Noora Kahra and Laura Lalu started by giving post letter to each participant. Everyone wrote the key learnings from the week into the letter to be sent to themselves as a reminder after the week. This way everyone could retain the best ideas and thoughts from the week. It will be a nice surprise to get an unexpected postcard from yourself.

After summarizing the week into a tiny card, the certificates were given to each participant. Gifts and hugs were given as everyone received their certificates. In these moments, the realization that it’s finally over, catches on.

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One last group photo before the farewell lunch.

Farewell Lunch and surprise Quiz 

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A wonderful sour filling wrapped in salmon.

TAMK’s hospitality management students have this great learning environment called “Catering Studio”, where they can organize real lunch and dinner events. The farewell lunch for International Week was held there. The students had prepared a very nice buffet style lunch with appetizer salads, warm Finnish foods and wonderful lingonberry mousse dessert.

Though, before anyone could enjoy the appetizing foods, there was a challenge. A Kahoot quiz about Tampere and Finnish culture. There were total of 18 hard questions and teams of five had 30 seconds to answer the question from multiple choices. Points were given based on right answer and how quick the answers were given. Price for the winner team were Fazer chocolate bars that the winning team was kind enough to share for tasting.

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Great food equals happy faces.

The food was amazing as the impressions of “yum” and “mmm” could be heard all around the restaurant. Catering Studio did an awesome job with the menu. The dessert with sour berries and sweet mousse had an interesting contrast between different flavors. It was just large enough portion to give small cravings a little extra.

With the lunch eaten and last farewells and few tears of joy given, the week was over. Many new friends and connections were made, ideas and thoughts shared, culture and customs experienced. This was the International Week in Tampere with TAMK and UTA!

Greetings from the writer

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Small reminder, every day.

After being part of such an awesome event it was somewhat melancholic after the week ended and it was time to wrap up things. Even if the week was quite hectic; juggling between organizational tasks, assisting Noora and Laura, photographing everything, giving guidance, representing student and employee of TAMK and being uncommonly talkative example of a Finnish person, I thought it was the best time of my current practical training. Especially nice was the relaxed evening get together at Plevna with those who had their home travel arranged for Friday.

I want to thank everyone who attended and wish that the next international weeks you are attending are as great and awesome as this one was for me. Thank you!

 

Text & photos: Aleksi Jolkkonen

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Morning welcome with Noora Kahra.

TAMK’s strikingly bright colored Y-Kampus was the setting for the third day of the programme. The collaboration between UTA and TAMK gave the participants some new perspective as it was time to see how Tampere University of Applied Sciences functioned.

Wednesday 8 of June – Welcome to TAMK! 

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Did you know that Finns drink more coffee per capita than any other country? Total of 12 kg every year.

 

Kirsi Jokipakka, the Head of International Services of TAMK gave a welcoming presentation about the key facts and functions of Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The big difference between TAMK and UTA is that the applied science part of practicality plays a huge role in TAMK. Many of the courses offer very practical projects and hands on experiences for the students, compared to the more academic and theoretical atmosphere in the traditional scientific University. Both of them serve an important role in educating our future generations.

Tampere University of Applied Sciences is one of the most attractive Universities in Finland. The recent applicant numbers speak for themselves: TAMK had third most overall applicants in Finland for  the academic year 2016–2017. Metropolia (UAS) in Helsinki was the first with 25 758 applicants, University of Helsinki second with 24 568 and TAMK was third with 19 202 applicants. Not bad at all! However, many of these applicants didn’t unfortunately get a study place. This is a trend everywhere in Finland as there were 151 357 applicants and only 47 473 of them were offered a study place.

TAMK’s attractiveness could be explained with the variety that comes with 7 fields and total of 17 Bachelor’s and 15 Master’s degrees. This combined with the modern and international atmosphere is one of TAMK’s strengths.

Tour around TAMK and Nancy’s second lecture

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Overhanging origami swans in TAMK’s library. 

With the quick welcome over, it was time to see the campus. Service Street was the first stop for our tour. It is a corridor which houses most of the different services that students might need during their path to obtaining a degree and beyond. Services varying from admissions to exchanges and work life services, this unique “street” is very useful for the students. If they don’t find it here, someone definitely knows where to go. Last but not least, TAMK’s library is located in the end of the Service Street.

Smaller and cozier than the huge Linna library at UTA, it serves the students by offering course books, computers, a silent room, meeting facilities and an exam room. One of the beautiful features of the library is the first floor space with sofas and overhanging origami birds. This artistic feature brings wanderlust for visitors and one can often see someone looking up, admiring the birds.

The brief campus tour ended by visiting the orange connecting tube between the main campus and Kuntokatu 4, where nursing, physiotherapy and other health care degrees are being taught.

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It is good to review previous lessons for better information retaining. 

After the tour it was time for Nancy’s lectures to continue with a brief review of the previous topic: Worldview. The topic for the new lecture was Personal Leadership as a methodology for managing and learning from intercultural experience.

The process of this kind of leadership started by recognition. Being mindful about your actions and surroundings gives a possibility for a choice. There are two of these for intercultural communication: the automatic response of previous cultural programming and the personal leadership path of taking discreet action. Mindfulness had a great importance in this, as without knowledge one cannot change their actions. The lecture continued with these themes explaining the benefits of visualization, visioning yourself and ending with listening skills.

Track programme for services

With Nancy’s great lecture over it was time to continue with benchmarking. Each service group divided into their own meeting rooms had discussions about various topics.

  • The library services went to have a deeper look at TAMK’s library and how it functioned. The Finnish library system was another topic of discussion for this session.
  • Sports services had a cozy session in small meeting space at Y-Campus. Their topics consisted of presenting their university and discussing the current issues in the field of sports services.
  • HR services dived into benchmarking the best practices of HR planning, HR development and staff training.
  • Study services had a tour around TAMK’s service street and its different services. Afterwards these functions and the ideology of collective services were discussed at Y-Campus’ workshop space “Paja”.
  • International Services group gathered in the second floor of C-building to discuss practices for risk management of student and staff mobility. With the current restlessness around the world, this topic was quite new for most and ideas were appreciated.

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The library has great teamworking rooms that can be reserved by staff and students. 

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Sports services had a nice sessions in one of Y-Campus’ teamworking rooms that can also be used by staff and students. 

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Study Services’ benchmarking session in Paja at Y-kampus.

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International Services had an exiting lecture surrounded by bright colors in the C-building.

VisitTampere city tour

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You can see almost the whole city from the Tower of Pyynikki.

For a city outside of the coastal region, Tampere is quite large. It is actually the most populous one in the Nordic countries with population around 225 000. In Finland, it is the third largest city after Helsinki and Espoo. The popularity of Tampere might be explained with the idyllic location near nature with two lakes surrounding the city; not to mention the amazing people living in Tampere.

City tour hosted by VisitTampere gave more details into the history and culture of Tampere. The tour started from TAMK and went to visit the Tampere Cathedral, Finlayson area, Pispala and ended at the “Pyynikin Munkkikahvila” tower.

The bus trailed around the city while the tour guide Ritva Haveri was pointing out the different buildings and their details. Tampere has quite the history due to Finnish civil war between the whites and reds – Tampere was a stage for many brutal battles.

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Ritva Haveri telling a story about a mother who gave birth to a baby during the civil war at the Cathedral. You can also see the two men holding hands.

First stop for the tour was the over 100-year-old Tampere Cathedral. Built from stones in similar fashion to Scottish castles, it had an international hint from the beginning. The church looks like an old castle in a way with stones lined in various patterns. After admiring the church from the outside, it was time to go in and explore further. The history of Tampere Cathedral is quite vivid, even scandalous, as the painter Hugo Simberg was gay and at that time it was considered very inappropriate. The frescoes had hints of homosexuality with men holding hands and the only angel being wounded and carried by two men. There are also naked boys all around the church. The Wounded Angel and The Garden of Death are one of Simberg’s most well known artworks.

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After the church there was a short walking tour around Finlayson area among the old cotton factory buildings. Currently the buildings house offices, restaurants and even a movie theater.

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The tour continued onwards to Pispala and Pyynikki along the world’s tallest ridge or “esker”. The weather was nice enough to allow bright views to be seen from the Tower of Pyynikki. The surrounding Pyynikki recreational area is within a walking distance from the city center and attracts joggers, dog walkers, travelers and all kinds of people who enjoy the nature.

 

Text and photos: Aleksi Jolkkonen

Tampere on kaunis

1. kuva

It’s the end of my first period in TAMK and Tampere and I can say I’m very comfortable here. I’m so comfortable that I have not even travelled to Helsinki yet.

But why move when I can make so many things here? Just getting out of my room and being able to be walking on a lake in five minutes is magical for me. We don’t have lakes where I live and let alone big amounts of frozen water.

I’ve discovered many beautiful places in Tampere and I’m ready to see more of this winter wonderland. Hopefully I’ll go to Helsinki next week and I will certainly visit some smaller cities and towns.

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2. kuva viereen

But the lake next to Lapinkaari is my absolute favourite place, I’ve seen such beautiful skies there. And of course the sauna next to the lake is a plus.

3. kuva      3. kuva viereen

I’m comfortable with the place and also with the people. I like people who don’t talk much, but honestly finns are not as cold as they think they are (but their weather is). Yesterday an old woman laughed with me at the supermarket when I accidentally pressed a button in a children’s book and it started to make an odd noise. Finns are as nice as everything else in Finland, not including food, drinks and cinema ticket prices.

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This place is very nice in winter and I can’t wait to see how it is in spring. On the other hand, I don’t want spring to come because that would mean that my time for leaving this city would be even closer.

P.S. Kudos to the munnki! 10/10 would eat 10 of them everyday.

5. kuva loppuun

 

Text and photos: Idoia Davila

 

 

Minä pidän Suomesta!

I have been in Finland for more than seven months, but unfortunately I just visited Helsinki and Jyväskylä since I had a plenty of classes last term.

For Helsinki, I went there four times, it is a more alive city than Tampere, and it makes me feel like in China. Helsingin Tuomiokirkko is the grand white Lutheran church which is located in Council Square, and more importantly, it is a symbol of Helsinki.

helsingin tuomiokirkko

As you all know, we had our Chinese Lunar New Year a couple of days ago, and there was a fantastic performance in Helsinki. I was so lucky to get a free ticket to be there, the main actors were from Beijing Art Troupe. They showed Kongfu, Lion Dance and Chinese Dance, it was really worth to been seen.

We visited Jyväskylä Chinese Student Association last October. Jyväskylä is a smaller city than Tampere and what impressed me most was that there is a wide lake and a long bridge in the city center. Besides its railway station and bus station are at the same place which is convenient to transportation. I went to the highest tower and took a picture of the whole city.

Jyväskylä

In the winter vacation, I skied at a skiing park around Lukonmäki several times which I have never done before. It was exciting sport for me.

 

tengfei suksilla

The last thing to mention is the Basketball Game, the performance during the break is so interesting, all of them were made by children or teenagers. And at the half time of the game, the little boys were playing against girls which surprised me the most.

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Summary:

Finland is a great place to live. I am living a happy and full life in Tampere although it is a little bit quiet and cold for me. I will travel to Turku, Oulu, Kemi and Rovaniemi during my Spring Week, then I shall have more interesting and funny pictures to share with you.

Text and photos: Tengfei Liu

Getting to know Tampere

When I arrived at the first of August it was cold and rainy, it was later in the afternoon and I went to buy some bread so I had something to eat for the evening. The first thing I saw from the flat was a big package of advertisement at the flat entry. Then I saw the really bright and big kitchen with much space for everyone. I was the first of us four in the apartment so I was free to choose the room. I decided to take the brighter one.

Amurin työläismuseo Storch
At the next day the sun greeted me with a warm day to discover Tampere. I took the bus to the city enter, which was an experience by itself, because in Munich you don’t have to wave for the bus to stop, you don’t have to show the bus driver your ticket and do not buy it at the driver, we have automats for that.
I first went to the tourist information to pick up a map and ask for the way to the Amurin museum. I heard there will be an English guide at 12 o’clock every Sunday. I had much time left to go there so I was walking around at the Keskustori and took some pictures.

Amuri Storch
At the Amurin museum I had a guide for myself due to all the other people wanting to have a Finnish guide… I wonder why 😉 The tour took much longer than usual, because I was asking so much about Finnish culture and history if something crossed my mind by talking about the museum contents. After that I bought a coffee and something sweet in the museum and walked back to the bus station while taking a lot more pictures.

Text and photos: Annemarie Storch

Welcome to the concert in November!

My name is Christine Schuler and I’m 25 years old. I am an exchange student from Germany.

I want to tell you something about my hobby. I like singing very much. This is why I was looking for a classical choir here in Tampere. I asked google for it and found the “Händel-kuoro”.

Soon after I have contacted them for their rehearsal date I was invited for an audition. In this audition I had to do sheet singing and a few singing exercises. I was very excited and so I was very happy when the choir leader told me that I was allowed to stay for the rehearsal afterwards.

The choir is practising for two big concerts in November. We are singing “Sound the trumpet” of Henry Purcell, which was an English Composer who lived in the end of the 16th century. His music is very beautiful but also very demanding.

As Händel-kuoro is a professional choir singing the right tones is far not enough. The dynamics of Purcell’s music become more and more important during the rehearsals.

We also had a choir camp at a school here in Tampere. At the choir camp I got to know the people (and the music ;)) better and I am very sad that I have to say “hyvästi” (which means goodbye) in December.

If you would like to have more information, don’t hesitate to ask me. Lebanon And of course we would be very glad if you would come to one of our concerts in November. 🙂

 

Text and photo: Christine Schuler