I’m leaving for Finland in less than two days. I wouldn’t like to say I’m perfectly prepared for whatever comes up, but I think I packed everything I might need and still have some extra space.

Anyways, I’m leaving at 7.45 from Warsaw Airport and the arrival at Helsinki-Vantaa airport is planned for 10.50 (there’s one hour difference between Poland and Finland). Initially I was planning to take the bus to Jyvaskyla, which would take about 4-5 hours and would involve a lot of sightseeing ;]. Also, since I’ll get my Finnish student ID only after my arrival to Jyvaskyla, I would pay something around 50 euros for the bus =/. That’s quite a lot for a 270 km trip. So I started to think what I could do to minimize the costs. And then it came up to me: carpooling!

Carpooling sign

I was able to find two Finnish carpooling websites that have English versions: Kyydit and Kimppa. The first one is more popular and also more developed. I guess you can tell by the page design. There’s also a Facebook group for those travelling on Helsinki-Lahti-Jyvaskyla route (Kimppakyyti Helsinki-Jyvaskyla). It’s mostly in Finnish, but it’s also possible to write in English and find someone to travel with. I wasn’t very lucky with finding someone, who’s going to drive to Jyvaskyla from Helsinki on 2nd January at a convenient (for me ;]) hour. But I saw one ad that involved a trip in the afternoon. I wrote this person an e-mail and eventually we agreed on 13.00 as the departure hour. According to what Mari (the driver) said, it’s going to take about 3 hours to get to Jyvaskyla. And I will share the costs of petrol with her which means I’ll pay half of the bus price. Also, she’s going to drop me off almost in front of my apartment, which is very convenient both for me and for my student tutor, who is going to give me keys to my room. So I guess it’s a win-win situation. I just hope everything goes well and Mari is trustworthy. Well, if you don’t hear from me in a month you can be sure, that something has happened to me ;].

As for other things I think I have everything under control. During the first week I’m going to be pretty busy with all the “orientation” events organized by the university and Erasmus Student Network. The week ends with an Ultimate Sauna Xperience, organized by ESN Jyvaskyla. Apparently we (international students) are going to be divided into groups and have turns in a sauna that is located just next to the lake. After the “sweating part” we’re supposed to take a three-second bath in this lake. I guess the water temperature is going to be something around -20 or even worse. To be honest, I can’t wait! I’ve read ioannapech’s blog post about winter swimming and I’m now pretty psyched about it ;].

I’m also really curious about my roommates. I have no idea, who I’ll be living with. My gut tells me it’s going to be an interesting mix of nationalities, but I have to wait and see. I wonder if they put people in apartments according to some system. E.g. assign people of the same nationality to the same apartment. I’ve been told that there are some other Polish students expected to arrive for spring semester, but they’re listed as political science students. It would be nice to meet them, but I would rather be “forced” to use only English (and maybe some Finnish :>) when communicating with others.

Well, that’s it for now. I don’t know how long will it take to have internet at my Finnish apartment, so don’t expect me to write very soon.
I wish you all a Happy New Year and may your dreams for 2013 come true! =]