keskiviikko 23. tammikuuta 2013

The Survival of the Fittest

Tuire Ranta-Meyer

In my last blog (Dec 3, 2012) I mentioned that the most wide-spread presumption of Finland is it being a country with a very severe climate. That’s why I was amused to read the Helsingin Sanomat columnist Cristopher Sloan, originally a Frenchman, writing about the same topic two weeks later (Dec 17) under the title Surviving in the Cold .

Sloan told how impressed he was by the Finns when moving to Finland. They seemed all, without an exception, to be extremely well equipped for the winter season. It would be hard, he said, to convince a Frenchman to wear a woollen stocking cap as he wouldn’t take any risk of looking silly. The Finns, in opposition, would have no difficulty to  dress in a full winter outfit: a warm beanie, gloves, a scarf, pullover, a thermo baselayer, a waterproof  parka, a windstopper pant, woollen socks - and a reflector to help the drivers to see you in the traffic.

My German parents in law always used to say that they have never experienced anywhere else such warm houses and apartments as in Finland. For them it was very exotic to see us being barefoot at home with 20 degrees below zero outsides. Sloan has excactly the same notion: “The truth is that it is much warmer for me here in Finland than it was in France in the winter. In France, the radiators were often out of order and the windows couldn’t be closed properly.” In Finland you have three-layered window glasses, an extra door behind the frontdoor to keep the warmth inside and maximum temperature in the radiators even if nobody would use the room.

There are, still, some similarities between Finns and Frenchmen. According to Sloan, when it is freezing cold in France, people tend to say again and again to themselves that the suffering will be over in a couple of weeks. Here in Finland I use to think likewise, but in months: “After two months the snow is going to melt, after one month there will be considerebly more daylight, in a three months time I can start biking to my working place again etc.”

I’m pretty sure that the ability to dream of better times has been the most important factor in the survival of the fittest.  

maanantai 14. tammikuuta 2013

Tervetuloa Suomeen - Welcome to Finland!

Tia-Maria Sjöblom & Marika Antikainen

The School of Culture and Creative Industries had a great start to the New Year 2013 with the arrival of a record-breaking number of new incoming exchange students. In the spring semester, altogether 45 students will be studying different fields of culture on the Tikkurila and Helsinki campuses. Six of these students are already experts in the Metropolia life after having spent also the autumn semester here, continuing for the spring, and 39 are new students, currently experiencing their first exciting days abroad.

The exchange students arrived to their new home country during the first days of the year, with a surprisingly warm weather, around +2 C, and a light rain. The students were welcomed by their student tutors at the airport and helped to their apartment for the first good night’s sleep in Finland. 

The official programme of the semester began on January 3rd with the incoming exchange students’ orientation, held together with the field of technology. We, the international coordinators, together with the wonderful volunteer student tutors helped the newcomers to settle in and to get familiar with Metropolia, Helsinki and Finnish culture. All students were excited about their spring on exchange and motivated to dig deeper into Finland. For example, despite the long and intensive orientation days packed with important information, they still found the energy to learn the basic vocabulary of Finnish: kiitos (thank you), moi (hello) and moi moi (bye bye) and so on. Their pronunciation was excellent already on the first try!

We had a great time with the students and we wish to spend an excellent semester with them. 
 It only begins now! Welcome, tervetuloa!

Tia-Maria and Marika
International coordinators
School of Culture and Creative Industries

tiistai 8. tammikuuta 2013

My exchange life in Finland

Chen Li
20 years old
Metropolia exchange student from 2012 to 2013
From Donghua University in Shanghai China
Majoring Fashion and Clothing

What a luck that I am an exchange student in Finland, in Helsinki Metropolia. Sometimes I say this to myself. Life here is so great! I love Finland.

I will never forget 17th August, of 2012, I was with what a kind of mood to say goodbye to my parents and then go into the security check without looking back. I knew that I was strong enough to start a new life in a foreign country. And I promise I will enjoy the time there and to be better me.

More than ten hours of flight, I cannot imagine the place waiting for me. Nordic countries are a magic place for the majority of people. Same to me.

So far, I have been living in Finland for three months. It was special, wonderful and amazing. I saw many nice things, went to famous places, visited museums, went to fashion shows with friends, joined the 2012 Helsinki Design Capital Week, had friends from different countries, learned some Finnish and so on.

My major is Fashion and Clothing, and all the equipment and machines are quite good and the classrooms are so nice. Teachers and students are very kind to me, and always explain things to me. My study group has only six students and the professor always give us enough space to design clothes we want.

The university's courses are not too many, so I still have time to go around to know more about Finland. I love to take the camera, wandering on the streets, aimlessly to explore the original Finland.

So lucky I came here in 2012 , the year Helsinki is the World Design Capital, there are many shows and exhibitions in city, and at the same time in Shanghai China, there are some shows from Finland. Metropolia had exhibitions, workshops and presentations and seminar in Donghua University in Shanghai (My school). 26 Finnish students and professors travelled to Shanghai for the event. It was a big success.

I was honored to join in the preparations of the event, and I could eg. organize the Donghua students' organization to assist the exhibition. In this work, I met the Dean of the Faculty and other professors, they are easy-going and I learned a lot from them, also we became good friends after the exhibition week.

I have had here the chance to travel with friends in other Nordic countries: Sweden, Norway and Denmark. And also Estonia and Latvia. They are so great with natural view or historic things. I love them! These are unique experiences and I will certainly explore still more European countries.

I am now living here, I have learned how to cook, how to take care of myself, learned to enjoy life, learned to change the mood into a Nordic way. I even tried the Christmas in Finland style. I have been here for 4 months, and I wonder what will happen in the following 6 months? Let us see it!

At the end, I need to say that we are having the dark winter season now, but I am not afraid of it at all, because in this gorgeous country I have friends, and have nice things to do end to seek. I love it here!

A Very Happy New Year!

Chen Li