My Time in Finland: A personal journey by Eilish Barber

My time in Finland: Activities arrival at recess and being greeted and welcome to by the Finnish participants we introduced ourselves and played Icebreaker games to get to know each other a little more. After lunch we went for a walk around the city to get a tour of it. We were taken to a hotel restaurant that has an elevator that took us to the very top of the building. From there we got to see the entire city of Tampa. We had it back and had a welcome dinner. We reflected on our day at first and then we gifted by them Irish souvenirs and products such as soaps sweets chocolates pictures and homemade gifts.


 Today was rather exhausting since we had a long flight beforehand. I was also highly anxious to meet these new people and was worried about first impressions. I kept a low profile as I wanted to concentrate on taking everything in first. Tampere is beautiful! I love walking through the parks. The colours of nature gave me a sense of peace and happiness. It was nice to observe the environment and take everything in on the first day.


Thursday the 10th of October 2019. Activities: our first activities of the morning were Art workshops. We could decide between painting mural photography art creation or self-portrait from magazine clippings. Photography since it was an outdoor activity and I loved the park. The team was connecting with people or nature. We were put in pairs to do this. The person I was paired with did not want their picture taken so I agreed for it to just be me in the shots. When we finished we met at the cafe that also sold photography and 3D printing services. We printed our shots and spoke about what they were supposed to mean. Afterwards we were granted an opportunity to visit the rattan and shopping centre in the city full stop afterwards we did a reflections on the day before calling out again.


Comments: today I feel tomorrow at ease knowing that one of the hard part of the trip was over and I got some rest. Engage with anyone all that much. Or at least didn’t make any new friends. I was still on the Edge and laying low for the time being. At least I got to be part of a conversation when we spoke about the photos we took. Also the walk to return and was long. It was a top half an hour but we got there in the end. We had a Mosey around the various different shops but I couldn’t really buy anything due to how expensive everything was. I didn’t up with some of their delicious chocolate though and some chopsticks because my lips were sore from the cold. We couldn’t stick around for long because we get caught for time so we headed back. Today was a better day and I felt a bit more settled and relaxed.


Friday the 11th of October 2019 activities. Today we got a language lesson as well as been taught some facts some funny facts about Finland culture. After lunch we went for a walk to the museum. We were in groups and we could see any section of the museum we wanted to. We headed back to do our reflections and we had dinner again. Comments. Today was a good laugh we were taught a few funny facts about Finland we didn’t know their grammar and language worked we were stunned to learn that an entire sentence can be condensed into one big long word. They also showed us some rather amusing drama and expressions that they used. The museum was amazing. The entire Museum was divided into sections and not just about one thing. They had a history of gaming TV and media natural history war and economics full stop my personal favourite was the Natural History. They had displays of animals that typically lives in Finland including wolves bears Weasels Alex cold dwelling fish etc. I also enjoyed the rock and mineral display as they had. They had many beautiful and rare gemstones and rock formations and fossils from different countries. I get time to get some souvenirs to bring back with me too. Overall it was a very good day was very worth a long walk.


Saturday 12th of October 2019. activities.

Today we had options to participate in either baking or theatricals. I supposed to do the baking. We made sourdough breads buns and cinnamon rolls. We were supposed to go to the park but we had cancelled due to weather conditions. Instead we played minigames instead. We did a reflections and had dinner afterwards.

Comments. The baking was fun. I love to bake but I don’t always get the opportunity to do so. The pastry made with delicious and the other group enjoyed them to. You got to see how the drama and acting crowd were doing. One of the actors about laughter and we’re all in stitches from laughing so hard it was contagious. . Since we couldn’t go to the park we played a game instead. We were split up into groups and we were given an egg. The goal was to build something around it because the eggs were going to be dropped from the balcony and it was a competition to see which egg would survive the drop. Are groups did thankfully. It was confusing to do it at first since we couldn’t decide what are protective casing was going to look like and there was a few arguments over what materials could be used as they have to be recyclable. In the end we showed great teamwork and our egg survived. 


The weather cleared up eventually and we were allowed to visit a charity shop a short distance away. I managed to grab a good cheap jacket and a scarf and hat since I had none of those for the trip only hoodies haha.


Sunday 13th of October 2019 activities day trip to the National Park. Hiking along and nature trail and cooking lunch in one of the outdoor fire huts.  we took the bus then to Martin and youth centre where we will be staying for the last 2 days of our trip. Comments. Today was awesome it was time to say goodbye to her staff and move on. We spent the day in the National Park. I really enjoy the visuals that nature has to offer. It is a very respected and protected Park. We had to stay on the trail to prevent any damage caused by us. We then had a rather lovely feast in one of the outdoor kitchen huts. There was a fireplace in the centre and a grill. You could light a fire and then cook your food on it. It was a nice view of the late to that made for a great photo opportunity. We soon headers for Martin. When we got there we were greeted by auntie where I assuming was the director or manager of the centre. You welcome to Sol and gave us a room keys. We had to share rooms which I didn’t mind too much. When we were told we could use the sauna I couldn’t wait full stop after dinner I’ve wasted no time slipping into my swimwear and heading in with my roommates. It was a very tranquil and soothing experience. It was a perfect compliment to a hard and action filled week. I also try to dip in the lake afterwards and Oman was it Baltic. Needless to say I didn’t stick around in there for too long. It made it easier to sleep though. 


Monday 14th of October 2019 activities guided tour of the youth centre and minigames with auntie. We later went up to the mountains to do the bridge jumping. We have the gym and sports hall booked for us afterwards.


Comments the beginning of the first full day at the youth centre. And she showed us around while also engaging with us and encouraging us to talk to one another. As for a socialising went through the week I felt like I have done pretty well despite my weaknesses. I managed to get along well with the Finland crowd and made some friends with our own group and the group that came with us so I’m happy about that. I am going to miss them a lot when I eat because I will likely never see them again. On a more positive note I jumped off a bridge. It’s not what you think don’t worry. We had a bridge swinging instruction give us the opportunity for swinging under a bridge and you rock abseiling or descending. I was originally going to go for the letter but decided not to because it looks too hard. Instead I watched a few others take on the bridge jumping then a while later I finally decided to agree to it. I wasn’t totally petrified but I was shaking in my shoes for on the other side of the bridge barrier clinging on. It didn’t take me long to jump. It was so much fun such excitement. I was screaming and howling the entire time. It felt like a funfair ride. After I got reeled in, it took me awhile to come down afterwards. My heart was still going miles a minute about half an hour later haha. Of course I was willing to support others who wanted to do it but were too scared at first. Later on we did various activities at the sports hall. We did Falling basketball tennis badminton etc. . I myself to try my hand at boxing. I got some gloves to coat a large cylinder play block and day with the old one 2.


 Tuesday 15th of October 2019 activities. We did reflections in group on our entire group trip. We each added our own opinions and thoughts on it. Within made a small presentation based on what we wrote. We received are you fastest today. For the final night at the centre we had a party and a bonfire night. We had to leave at 2 a.m. to bring the Finland students back to 10 pair and us to Helsinki Airport. Comments. Looking back on it now is amazed me how much the time flew. I think we all had so much fun together and I felt kind of sad that it was over already. I will ever meet there’s where shed when it came for writing a little thank you speech for everyone to hear. Even if I didn’t done strongly with anyone the interactions are still worth it and I will treasure them. I received a Youth Pass. It was a very special moment for me to be recognised for my efforts and participation. I felt very proud of myself that I made it through the entire week. I showed my gratitude to the leaders and students. I didn’t have long left in the course I was in so I wanted to leave a good lasting impression. We went out with a bang. We had a sauna and bonfire party to celebrate the end of a long week. We had a lot of fun roasting tasty marshmallows and sausages full stop that will be one of the most memorable part of the trip. All good things come to an end sooner or later. At 2 a.m. the bus came and picked us up. We had to be fair well to the Finland crowd since they needed to be dropped back to temper and emotional moment for all. As much as I will miss Finland and the beauty of it all I will also miss my home and I will look forward to coming back to a warmer country again ha ha. To sum it all up it’s been a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime experience and if I could go again I would snap off the opportunities so fast. I had a fantastic time doing all the things we did some not possible are accessible in our country. I will miss the Finland and Carter serving group and will always be thinking of them and the company they showed. I learnt a lot about the country and the culture just spending a week there. That’s the best way of learning about different countries in my opinion. Sadly I never copped the language outside of hello and goodbye and thank you haha. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone who wants to visit Scandinavia step outside their comfort zone and try something different or just coming to learn interact and socialize I do want to come back. I will try to do so once I have money saved!

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