The Social Services students organised the International Breeze event at Ruiskatu campus on the 2nd of February. The day began with information about the student exchange possibilities and listening to students telling about their experiences abroad.
The day continued by visiting the stands of multicultural associations and workshops held by the foreign exchange students.
Text: Emilia Uusaro and Iina Siltala, Social Services PSOSTS15C
Multicultural associations visiting the campus
There were many different multicultural organizations telling about their work, for example, Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliitto. They do preventing child welfare work in different kind of ways for example volunteering work, support person activity, family cafés, camping and friends with immigrant moms –activity. Sondip ry is The Union of Multicultural Associations in South-West Finland. Sondip does multicultural work in Turku and their work is about to keep up everyday skills and teaching and organizing events for their partner unions. Opetuskoti Mustikka organizes e.g. Finnish courses for women. They have volunteers helping with teaching and it’s possible to do a practical training placement there. Green living movement works in Finland, Zambia and Swaziland. TUAS participates in their projects and also students can do practical training in them.
Fair trade coffee and images from Africa
Reilu kampus whose aim is to make the students and the teachers aware that Turku University of Applied Sciences supports fair trade by selling fair trade products. Reilu kampus has a support group where students and staff can join in. They also have a blog named Reilumpi blogi.
There was also a photography exhibition arranged by Toivon Solmut ry. The meaning of their exhibition was to show different kind of Africa than media does. Even they have poverty and wars they still have lots of joy in their lives.
Exchange students’ experiences in Finland
Exchange students from Poland, Thailand, Turkey, Austria, South Korea, Belgium, The Netherlands and Portugal introduced their countries to the Finnish students. They also answered to some questions about their experiences here.
Why did you want to go for student exchange and why to Finland?
“I wanted to improve my English skills and get some experiences from other cultures, meet new people and do semester abroad at the beginning of my studies”, tells Verena Pertl, social work student from Austria. Also the Turkish exchange student Canan Birimoğlu agrees with Verena’s opinion. Another exchange student from Turkey, Handan Terzi, says that her “aim was mostly academic because Finland is on the top in public health services”.
Sangmin Han, a social services student from South Korea met Finns already before coming here “When I was studying in Korea I had a friend who is Finnish. He was exchange student in Korea and he was very nice. I have a good positive memory in person from Finland”.
Have you had any culture shock?
Pertl has met some unfriendly Finns “some people are very shy and they don’t want to contact with us.” But she has luckily had nice experiences too “I need to say if you go to a shop and ask for help you will always get the help”. The Turkish student Canan finds the Finns “functional, kind and friendly”. For her the food and drinks have been very different from her home country. “Here everyone drinks coffee, in our country we prefer tea.” tells Canan. It has been difficult for her to wake up in the morning, because it has been so dark. Han says that ice swimming is a curious thing “also in Korea we enjoy sauna but not ice swimming” comments Han. He adds “salmiakki also tastes weird, but I can understand why they love it because we like kimchi. It’s totally weird for people from other cultures”.