Posts in the Tampere category

The Tampere Central Square aka Keskustori

Finland was my first option that I had chosen to go to as part of my Erasmus study abroad programme. I had always wanted to visit a Nordic country and Tampere was my only option. At first I was not very familiar with this city and had to do some online research to find out some information. As soon as I got to know that it was the most student friendly city in Finland my mind was set to go there.

The first Finnish person that I ever spoke to was my tutor, who had arrived at the airport to pick me up. My first impression itself was great. She was very welcoming and friendly to me. I had read somewhere that Finnish people do not like “small talk” but my tutor was happy to engage in conversation with me while I brought up certain topics and questions about Finland.

My accommodation in Tampere is a drive away from my university so each day I have to take a bus ride of about 12-15 minutes to get to my university. But I soon found out this was not going to be a problem since the transport system is so efficient here. There is a monthly bus pass which is available for students at a low cost of about 33 euros. With this pass I am able to travel anywhere in Tampere with unlimited usage. You put money into your card once every month. There are buses on average 10-12 minutes to my university and city centre so travelling is not an issue for me. Also the city has good transport links to other cities such as Helsinki and Turku all at an affordable travel price.

Playing Mölkky at Haikka during the Orientation week

Playing Mölkky at Haikka during the Orientation week

Now about the city itself… Coming from Glasgow, Scotland, I was not sure how the city would measure up to the Scottish city. I love the city life, the buzz, nightlife, restaurants etc. Tampere has it all. The city is filled with everything that Glasgow has to offer such as nightlife, pubs, restaurants, shopping centres, museums, art galleries, hotels and so much more. But what impressed me the most is that the city is filled with many parks and lakes. It is perfect for going for a walk or run in these parks and swimming in these lakes. They add a countryside “feeling” into this city.

The language of studies in my university is English. In addition to this just about everyone here is well educated in the English language so I have no problem finding my way around the city. The opportunities to play sports are great here, with a cheap fee of 38 euros you can use all gyms and sports facilities in all the universities in the city!

Tampere is also great for nightlife as there are several clubs and pubs. The drinks can be expensive here but with a student card you are guaranteed to get drinks at a cheaper price almost everywhere. There are student discounts on a wide range of categories such as transport, restaurants, museums, pubs, sports and much more!

I have been in Tampere for more than two months now and I already feel like I am home. It is a wonderful city filled with lovely people. I have gotten used to the Finnish lifestyle of using the Sauna and playing mölkky (a stick throwing game) and trying out Tampere’s speciality dish Mustamakkara (black sausage). The weather has been amazing here with bright sunny days so far but I am also looking forward to experiencing the Finnish winter. My exchange study here is only for 4 months but I wish I could study for my whole term. I will definitely be coming back to the city after I finish my semester here and go back to Glasgow. I am looking forward to an enjoyable stay here and experiencing more of Tampere. So for now I say… Kiitos!

 

Text and photos: Donald John

The right decision!

Between those who feigned enthusiasm, and the others who weren’t so subtle about disguising their not-so-positive reactions when I told them about my exchange plans, I wasn’t feeling totally convinced by my decision to come to Finland for this Autumn semester.

I had done very little research into my host University of TAMK, or indeed the city of Tampere where I’d be living. At every step, the countless forms and emails I filled in and sent out were completed at the very last minute; a fitting portrayal of my ambivalence towards the whole process. A constant dialogue ran in my head in the months leading up to departure day:

“Just stay in Glasgow… naaaaaah, go on, it’ll be exciting! But it would be easier to just leave it… I do like change… wait, no I don’t, just stay here, on this course, where it’s nice and comfortable. But how often is this chance going to come up?! It’s a great opportunity, go for it!”

In the end, as you can probably deduce, it was the latter argument which prevailed.

And I’m certainly glad it did.

 

Suomenlinna Island in Helsinki

Suomenlinna Island in Helsinki

 

Cannon on Suomenlinna Island

Cannon on Suomenlinna Island

Things didn’t start quite as smoothly as may have been desired; the Dutch were concerned that the the folding trays in the aeroplane wouldn’t fold properly… or perhaps it was something slightly more integral to the flying properties of the vessel. I don’t know. It was all Dutchy… but either way the flight was delayed, which were it not for the saving grace of a 100 kroner “sorry”, might have stressed me somewhat.

Stress however isn’t something I often succumb to; indeed, I arrived in Helsinki sleeping like a log. From there it was a mere two and a half hour bus journey to Tampere, where at about three in the morning on the 6th of August 2015, in the cold, dark, wet bus station, I met my first Finn.

Actually, there were two of them. The one who first introduced herself was Anni Hirvonen, whom I had previously known only through email. She was to be my tutor for the semester; a guiding hand, and ever available ally on whom I could call when facing the challenges of integrating myself into the Finnish culture. The second was Tytti Kapanen, who was to be our chauffeur.

 

A bike

A bike in Ratina

 

Tampere Orthodox Churc

Tampere Orthodox Churc

 

Needless to say I was not my usual sprightly self. A total of roughly 18 hours travelling had drained most of the life from me, so it was with limp hand and rather blunt “hi” which first brought out worlds together, and between hauling my luggage into Tytti’s car, driving, de-hauling my luggage and entering the flat which would be home for the next few months, I’m afraid to say I was a rather feeble ambassador for Scotland!

But it didn’t matter. The next day I started to get to know my flatmates, and later we met with Anni again for a quick tour of the city. Having arrived at night and in the rain, I had not come anywhere near to fully appreciating the beauty of this fair city; from the grandeur of the centre square, to the millions of trees dotted here there and everywhere, to my personal favourite of the many lakes, which have already played host to countless refreshing visits (as well as a sizeable community of ducks), the at-oneness with nature Tampere boasts is truly breathtaking (see pictures attached).

One month in, I know I made the right decision.

 

One of a thousands lake

One of a thousand lakes

 

Sunset in Rauhaniemi, Tampere

Sunset in Rauhaniemi, Tampere

 

Text and photos: Seamus Lane

Summer School 2015

TAMK summer school 2015 received 25 students in the Basics of Finnish summer school and 18 students in Tampere-St. Petersburg summer school. Basics of Finnish summer course was held on 3rd – 14th August whereas Tampere-St. Petersburg course took place on 10th – 17th August.

Basics of Finnish summer school participants in classroom

Basics of Finnish students in classroom

The free-time activities for this year’s Basics of Finnish summer school started off with Viikinsaari Island trip on the first day of the course. On the consecutive days the students were taken to Kick-biking in Kauppi, visit to Vapriikki Museum, bowling in Kauppi bowling alley, Pyynikki observation tower visit, teamwork exercises in Flowpark Varala, Finnish food tasting in TAMK, Nordic walking and Sarkänniemi amusement park trip. The design and the flow of the free-time activities was well appreciated by the students with constructive suggestions for our future summer schools which we collected from the students through our feedback form.

Basics of Finnish students at Flowpark

Summer school students in Flowpark

On the first day of Tampere-St. Petersburg summer school (10th August) we had a combined free-time programme in Flowpark Varala with both Basics of Finnish and Tampere-St. Petersburg participants. Participants from both the courses were together in the Finnish food tasting on 11th August from where the St. Petersburg participants left to Marimekko for a visit and presentation from company representative. Tampere-St. Petersburg participants also went to Vapriikki Museum on the following day.

Summer school participants in St. Petersburg

Summer school participants in St. Petersburg

On 13th August, Tampere-St. Petersburg participants left for Helsinki and eventually to St. Petersburg where they were accommodated to Hotel Moscow throughout their stay. St. Petersburg free time activity programme included guided bus tour of the City, cruise on rivers and canals, visit to Catherine’s palace, guided tour to State Hermitage Museum, and company visits.

As a farewell programme for the students, we held a dinner party in ‘Nepali Kitchen’, a Nepali restaurant in Tampere. Everyone celebrated their last day at summer school there as some of the students were in TAMK only for the summer school duration. On the other hand, TAMK summer schools were also joined by exchange students and degree students (degree students for Tampere-St. Petersburg course) who are continuing their studies in TAMK.

 

Text: Nikesh Timilsina

Photos: Nikesh Timilsina, Ursula Helsky-Lehtola, Michel Faas and Camilla Kalevo

Bändi

The local band playing in Tavastia klubi, Helsinki

Finland, land of trees and lakes. Or at least that’s what I was thinking when my plane landed at Helsinki Vantaa. Although our first conversation with a Finn wasn’t that friendly (police were looking for someone at my plane) I think I can say that this was the only negative experience I had so far. After exploring Helsinki for a few days, which I really liked, and I can recommend anyone to go there, it was time to go to Tampere. Since I’m living in a fairly big city in the Netherlands, I was a bit nervous if Tampere would not be too small for me. But I can say that I’m not disappointed at all. A lot of my favourite band are from Finland, and although I go to concerts frequently, I think I already planned more concerts in the 4 months I’m staying here then I did last year. So I don’t think I’ll be bored at all.

 

A lake near Hämeenlinna

A lake near Hämeenlinna

A few weeks ago my tutor invited me and other exchange students to his parents summer house near Hämeenlinna, to have a real Finnish experience.  And I can say that it was a real Finnish experience with sauna, hot tub, swimming in the lake and trying Finnish food. So far I’m really enjoying my stay here in Finland and I hope it will become even better!

 

 

 

 

Text and photos: Joyce van de Velde

August 4th, 2015. Vienna Airport. Time: 12:40.
„Moi!“
„Kann ich mein Handgepäck überall hier rauftun?“
„ Sorry, do you speak English?“
„Erm … erm …. can I put my luggage also up there … on the right?“
„Sure, anywhere you like.“
First time flying with Finnair and my first encounter with the stewardess after onboarding was pretty
embarrassing. Never mind.

Helsinki Airport. Time: 17.05
“Excuse me, Madam! I’m looking for the bus that goes to temper …”
“Sorry?”
“Temper? Tam … per? Pere? Tampere?”
Stammer. Stutter. Stumble. Here we go … Story of my life.
“Oh, sure … the bus station is right there!”
“Thank you so much!”

Tammerkoski2

Lapinkaari, Time: 21.00
After seeing approximately ten million trees passing by from my window seat on the bus, I finally
arrived in Tampere. My international tutor picked me up from the bus station and took me to Lapinkaari,
where my dormitory was located.
“Huh? How does this doorlock work?”
“You have to turn to the right.”
“To the right?? Are you sure? Huh? Like this? Oh … wait … wait … oh. I got it, one second. No, wait …
please help me.”
“It’s like this. Here we go, this is your room.”
“Yaay!”

Safe (but awkward) arrival … Check!

August 5th, 2015. Lapinkaari. Time: 13.00.
Meeting up with my tutor to go shopping at the city.
“You really need this? Then we need to go to Halhoiejbgdlilkatu, then move on to Laihdhdosksliukatu to
get you a 30-days ticket. Here, this is the main street Haldsjoiskloarjfnkatu.”
“Huh? Ah yeah, sure. I got it. Where is the “Lidl”? I would need food for later.”
“There is a “Lidl” at Rhoshahslkghkatu.”
“Ah? … yeah … sure.”

Timetables.docx

IKEA. Time: 16.30
“Moi! Kahdeksankkylejlsk kolmekymemtää.”
“Sorry? I only speak English.”
“That would be 80,30 Euro.”
“Oh … here, thanks!”
“Kiitos!”

Grocery Store. Time: 19.00
“Moi! Kolmetoisja viisikymmentlakj.”
“Wow, everything is quite expensive here compared to Austria.”
“Sorry? You speak English?”
“No! I mean yes! Sorry, I was just talking to myself. 13,50 Euro, right? Here, thank you.”
“Kiitos!”

Back at Lapinkaari. Time: 22.30
“Tutor … where do I recharge my prepaid SIM-Card?”
“At the kioski. You also need to recharge your bus card there every month.”
“Ah ok, kiitos! I need to go to Nlajoirötupitödkatu tomorrow, which bus do I take?”
“Number 2 and then at Kkulajlronlsidkatu you make a transfer and take the number 8 bus.”
“Ah ok … thank you! I mean kiitos kiitos.”

First culture shock … Check!

Sunset.docx

 

Text and photos: Chen Yi-Pei

 

My first encounter with Tampere

I traveled to Tampere by plane. First I arrived to Helsinki, then I transferred to Tampere. The second time I had the opportunity to sit right next to the window. What I saw was so amazing, I can’t even put that into words. Trees! Trees everywhere! Oh, and don’t forget the lakes! There were so many of them, every time I looked I could count at least five of them from the sky. And there were very small ones, just poking through the pine trees, and giant ones, mirroring the sunshine even more.

I felt welcomed from my first step at Tampere Airport. That huge ‘Welcome to Tampere!’ superscription helped me a lot in that. And of course, my tutor, who was so kind to take me home by car, and getting my keys for the appartement, not to mention the Survival Kit. She even helped me to get my bus card the next day.

 

Welcome!

I really like the weather here. In Hungary, where I´ve come from, we had the temperature above 30 degrees for weeks! It is so refreshing to have just 20 degrees, and the sun just shining warmly, not scorching.

I also like the sound of Finnish language, but whether we have Finnish-Hungarian kinship or not, I can’t understand it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to participate in the Summer School programme, but I’m sure I’ll learn many things here, even from Finnish language.

On the first evening I really felt like I need to have a little walk in the nearby forest. There is one, just next to our house. Oh, and not just one. There are many more, as I know it by now. So, I went there, and was astonished by the beauty of it. The sun was already starting to set, but it shined through the pine trees with golden light. The landsape looked just like I was imagining the forests in the fairy tales or in fantasy stories in my childhood.

 

Evening sun

Evening sun

Since that day I also had a chance to discover more things. For example, the beautiful Keskustori, the amazing panorama from Näsinneula Tower, or the outdoor concert of Tampere Filharmonia.

Tampere (and Finland with it) seems to be a strange place for me, but not in a bad way. Exactly the opposite. I feel like I must discover as much as possible during the four months I am lucky to spend here. 🙂

 

Text and photos: Anikó Naszvadi

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!

Tammerkoski

Tammerkoski

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.

Old Church at Keskustori

Old Church at Keskustori

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.

 

Tampella

Tammerkoski

 

Text and photos: Nohemi Cuituny

Flying high

On my way to Tampere

Hi, I am a student from Germany, arrived in Tampere at 1 August. I landed in Helsinki and took the Express Bus. Because this is my first time in Finland, anyway in a Scandinavian country I was really excited. During the drive with the bus I noticed the landscape, there are big differences to my home country. Much more woods and so less cities. My first real contact to a Finn was the guy from Airbnb, by whom I booked two nights to stay. Against all odds, which was formed from guidebooks I read before, he was really open minded and talkative. He picked me up at the bus station, brought me to his apartment and then walked with me through the city center and took me to Café Europa. I heard from the prices for alcohol before, anyway I was shocked.

 

Koskipuisto

Koskipuisto

The next day I explored Tampere on my own, checked how to get to TAMK for the Summer School starting the next day. My feelings about Tampere were pretty good. I thought, that it is a lovely city and I will enjoy the stay here. To orientate was easy. From TAMK back to the city center I wanted to take the bus, but nobody told me that I have to wave at the bus drivers. Second shock! – as the bus just went past. In my own town the bus still stops always, if somebody is waiting at the bus stop.

 

At my first day in Tampere I explored lovely places in the town and also learned more about differences from my home country. Prepared with this knowledge I began the Basics of Finnish Course the next day, looking forward to learn more about Tampere.

On the waves of Pyhäjärvi

On the waves of Pyhäjärvi

Text and photos: Vanessa Rodewald

A year in Finland

I didn’t know what should I write about my year in Finland as an Exchange student, so I decided to talk a couple of some of my experiences during that wonderful year.

Famous "munkki" in Pyynikki observatorion tower cafe, check it out!

Famous “munkki” in Pyynikki observatorion tower cafe, check it out!

When I first arrive in Finland, I had no idea about anything, how would be people there, what do they eat/drink, how do they behave and so on. So when I was in Tampere, I decided to take a bus to the city center and explore the “new” city, but during this process, a “small” problem happened, the bus didn’t stop here I was standing, which left me confused. Later on I found out that I need to raise my hand, so the bus would stop for me, even when only one bus passes on that bus stop. Finally I got to the center city, where I just started to walk around, looking around all those funny/strange names for me. During that walk, I realized that Tampere center had many coffee shops, more than I have ever seen in any other place, so there came my first thought about Finns, “They love coffee”, and I was right, they do love it. Learning one of the firsts words I’ve learnt in Finnish, kahvi.

One of the experiences that I was waiting for was the winter, the truly winter of Finland, and why on Earth would someone be enthusiastic waiting for the winter? Well, for one simple reason, I’ve never seen snow before. At first I thought, “ok, I’ll probably freeze to death, but it’s worth trying.” Since I’m from Brazil, anything less than 10 degrees is cold, so how about -20 degrees?

After some months of waiting, the snow finally came, and it was unbelievable how beautiful it was, and it wasn’t as cold I thought it would be, probably I got a little bit more used to the cold after those months in Finland (or it was just the hot cup of coffee that keep me warm).

First snow in Tampere.

First snow in Tampere.

With the snow there I could finally play with the snow and try some winter sports. The one that I’ve liked the most was skiing, even though I didn’t had a good start (as you can see in the next picture). But after some tries I was able to downhill skiing without much damage, haha.

My first skiing lesson.

My first skiing lesson.

Finland, where you become a coffee addict and try things you thought you were never able to do.

Mateus Engels Henke, 21, Brazilian.

Text: Mateus Engels Henke
Pictures: Mateus Engels Henke