I won’t write here about everything that students might be interested in when they think about student life in Jyvaskyla. I’m not a party person. It’s possible, that I won’t even go to half of the clubs located in Jyvaskyla (not that there are that many ;]) during my exchange period.
It’s still very early and the semester hasn’t even started for good yet, but I’ve already had some experiences when it comes to partying and I had a chance to observe people, which is one of my favourite hobbies.
First of all, there’s this student organisation, Erasmus Student Network Jyvaskyla. Basically they’re a bunch of students who care about other students. Most of them are Finnish and also had their experiences with student exchange. I’ve only had a few chances to talk to them, but I can say they’re very nice, open and helpful. ESN organizes lots of different events for international and local students, promoting students’ mobility and giving us a chance to use the exchange time to maximum. And so we had two kick-off parties as well as the Ultimate Sauna Xperience, which was mindblowing. We were invited to this place called Juhlatalo Juurikkassari, which is located at the lake and has all kinds of facilities like sauna, restaurant, boat club port etc.
We were divided in two groups and had our sauna turns after which we could jump into a frozen lake and/or roll in the snow. I did both twice and it was wonderful! People were screaming, shouting, some were also swearing in their native languages, but everyone was happy as hell =D. After that we enjoyed some sausages at the fire and also went ice fishing which would be a very soothing experience for me if it wasn’t for other people who were so loud that they’ve probably scared all fishes away. But I liked it and the view from the middle of the lake was beautiful.
Of course the events organized by the ESN are not the only thing Jyvaskyla has to offer. Because it’s Finland, you can enjoy all kinds of different winter sports as well as other sport courses organized by the university. The selection is so wide, that one can have a big problem choosing something. They even have courses in juggling!
Jyvaskyla’s hockey team is the current Finnish champion so one can also enjoy their games at the hockey arena and I’m actually planning to go this Friday. Maybe I’ll even get a media accreditation if the league will allow me. It would be fun to interview one of the players. But first I should probably expand my knowledge of hockey I guess =].
There’s also African dance & drumming school in Jyvaskyla. It’s called Mama Africa and Pape Cisse from Senegal teaches there. I contacted him a month ago to ask if I can join the workshops and he practically welcomed me with opened arms. Djembe classes begin on 24th January, but I’m already excited about them.
I want to get outside this Erasmus students’ society and get to know more Finns. It’s what I came here for: to get to know this culture, these people. Of course it’s nice to talk with other exchange students, learn about their countries and get to know their perspective, but even though I enjoy it very much I really want to have more Finnish friends. Hopefully I will, I’m doing everything I can to get closer to them.
And as for observing other people it’s really interesting to see how others are adapting to this situation of living in a different country. For now everyone is mostly “studying the area”, trying to figure out who to hang out with, where to go, what to say. We’re basically examining each other, trying out our sense of humour, our interests and personalities.
The other day I attended this kick-off party organized by the ESN Jyvaskyla in one of the night clubs, Bra. I arrived as one of the first people of course (around 22.30) and it was still pretty empty. Earlier we (me and two other Polish girls) went to this pre-party at some friends’ student flat, but it was very crowdy and loud and we also wanted to meet some other friends in the city, so we stayed for a little while and then left. Actually it was a very good decision, because the pre-party was mostly about getting drunk before going to Bra, which is not my first choice (the getting drunk part). We run into our French classmates which was very fortunate because they went with us to Bra later and I had a very nice conversation with one of them about stereotypes about Poland and France as well as some gender-related issues in our countries.
The party was just a party. People were dancing and some were already trying to hit on others (mostly guys, but I’ve seen a girl who was just all over this random guy and I’m pretty sure she has a boyfriend back home). At the beginning I was talking to many different people, made some new friends and strengthened ties with those I already knew. Like I said before: I’m not a party person, so I didn’t enjoy the music played in the club (it wasn’t so hard to do, because the DJ was quite bad and played the same beat over and over again even tough the songs were different). I just sat in the corner and watched other people, which was pretty interesting to say the least. Eventually I got back home around 2.30 and I was pretty lucky to get a lift from a friend I met that night — Italian guy, who had a Polish girlfriend and has been to Poland several times (now he lives in Finland).
All in all things are going very good. I’m starting the rest of my classes today, so this week will finally be pretty busy.