Hey, and so I’m in Finland. I have been here for four days already and I have to say, that there is so much going on, that it’s almost impossible to write about everything.
My trip to Helsinki from Warsaw was really nice and also I met a Polish girl who lives in Espoo with her Finnish boyfriend. Both of them later helped me find my way at the airport and also invited me to visit them when I’m in Helsinki (Espoo is quite near). Like I wrote in my previos “Erasmus” post I arranged a meeting with a Finnish girl, Mari, who was driving to Jyvaskyla the same day I came to Helsinki. And so we agreed to share the costs of petrol and thanks to that fact she dropped me off in front of my apartment in Jyvaskyla. That was very convenient both for me and for my tutor, who helped me with my bags. I strongly reccomend this way of travelling in Finland, because apart from the fact that it’s cheaper than bus or train, you can also meet some Finnish people, who – I’ve seen it for myself – are really, really nice and helpful.
And while I’m at it, I have to say, that I’m really lucky to have Milja as my tutor, because I sense a kind of a soul mate in her. She’s very responsible and well organized, so our group of five didn’t have any problems with all the arrangements (signing the rental lease, getting Internet etc.) after our arrival. But some people from other groups weren’t this lucky in that matter. I met two Polish girls from Poznań, whose tutor failed to show them the way to the housing office and as a result they still don’t have internet (bummer!). Also two Croatian girls have a tutor that doesn’t even say hi to them… So… Milja, thanks for being my tutor =].
I live in a “district” of a city called Ristonmaa. It’s really close to the university and city centre, so I guess I had luck also in that matter, because I can walk almost everywhere and it’s not so tiring. And as a part of the admission package I got a map, so finding my way is not so hard. Well, maybe with some exceptions: I got a little lost three days ago. I was walking with my friends from a group and one girl from other group (all of them from Germany), my tutor showed us a way, but I missed my turn and walked too far with others. Some Finnish girl was walking her dogs, so we asked her for directions, but she didn’t know them, so we went. Couple minutes later she caught up with us and told us that she has a map on her phone. But then she was struggling with it for 5 minutes or more and eventually failed to help us, so once again we went. And then she caught up with us once more, but this time she was with some other Finnish girl, who knew the way. She said that the other girl has to walk her dogs anyway, so she’ll walk with me and show me the way to my apartment! It was really nice of them both to be so eager to help me, really.
Back to the apartment. I live with two Chinese girls who are really friendly and open. Every evening we sit in the kitchen and talk about all sorts of stuff. For example we had a really long talk about our native languages and also other languages we know or know something about them. I learned how to pronounce their names correctly (because first they told me their English nicknames, but then I insisted they told me the real ones and they were really happy about the fact that I can pronounce their names the way they should be). But they call me Justine, because Justyna is apparently too difficult for them (although they have no problems with my surname ;]). It seems that the letter Ł in my surname is causing some kind of excitement both to YingHua and XingXin as well as my tutor ;].
So the first days went really fast and we (exchange students) spent them mostly in the auditorium listening to different people from International Office, some departments and also to some Finnish students from the Erasmus Student Network Jyvaskyla. They were telling us about the university, courses and some events organized by the Student Union and ESN. It’s called an orientation programme and we still have one day left. On Monday we’re going to find out how to use university library, and what the Language Centre offers. We’re also going to tour the main campus and see our departments (mine is Faculty of Socias Sciences, which is located on the hill near my place, so it’s going to be quite a climb ;]).
As for the people it’s hard to say anything yet. Everyone is trying to get to know everyone and that’s not really my thing. Yesterday we had an impromptu kick-off party at Rentukka restaurant&pub located on the other side of the city and many people came. So, as a loner, I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the noise and fuss, but I managed to meet some new people. With some of them I’m going to meet during classes which is cool. I also decided to join the ESN Jyvaskyla and be a part of the event organizing comittee or something like that. I guess I’m unable to be passive and I have to do something meaningful, even when I’m here. I’d really like to be remembered. And joining the ESN gives me great opportunity to meet Finnish people – let’s be honest, that’s what I came here for. I’ve been already taken for a Finn by some people, so I think I’m starting to blend in XD.
Today I’m enjoying a quiet and peaceful Sunday at my apartment. I want to rest from all the walking to have strenght for tomorrow. Everything has been going smoothly so far and I hope it will continue to be that way.