Posts in the tutor 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

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