My arrival in Finland:
Hi, that’s making six days I’m arrived in Finland, and that was not a short trip. I left Angers the 21 of January by car to come back to Lille (approximatively a 6 hours trip with the traffic jam). After that I slept two hours before taking a car to the Charles de Gaulle airport.
Indeed my plane was at 6am so I had to be there two hours before. So I took it but it was delayed by the cold, the result was I was not able to take my connection. As result of that, the airline company gave me another ticket to a flight six hours after and 10€ to wait in the beautiful airport of Munich. If you go to this airport one day, enjoy the free coffee and an internet connection very pleasant.
But, even if this airport was pleasant I continued my trip and I arrived to the Helsinki airport at 7pm, time to take my baggage and found a train ticket to Seinäjoki it was 8pm. Note that, Bandidos (an illegal motorcycle club for the FBI) take the plane and the train.
The train was punctual and like everything in Finland, with a free Wi-Fi. During this part of my travel I found another Erasmus student, the question is, were we so recognizable? I think yes, maybe because we didn't understand a word of finish except “Kittos” which means “thank you”.
When I finally arrived to Seinäjoki, my student buddy was here but sick, so we didn’t speak to much but he gave me my keys and took me to a nonstop supermarket, but what it fundable in it will be the subject of another article.
Antoine Guillot, 28/01/2016
Feelings about Finland
We cannot really say that we have a timetable overloaded at the school level (approximately 8 hours per week). Big peculiarity of the professors which shocked me: they wear sandals with socks!
Days parade with an average temperature of -2°C. It snows from time to time, but when it’s the case, it can last all day long.
Here is for today, following in another article...
Antoine Richard, 14/02/2016
Then we headed to Seinäjokiin a great bus, it had the Wi-Fi!
When we arrived in Seinäjoki my companions and I, three Finnish students greeted us and led us to the student residence. They are very friendly and speak English very well.
Hi, I am writing this article from my student residence near the Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences in Finland, where I arrived almost 3 weeks ago.
To begin our trip, we stayed a night and a day in Helsinki. The capital of Finland was rather quiet that day but a clear difference of temperature regard to Nantes: -16 ° C. Our hostel was located near the Senate Place where the impressive cathedral Tuomiokirkko stands.
Cathedral Tuomiokirkko, Senate Place, Helsinki
Marttilan kortteeri, Seinäjoki
My arrival in Finland:
Hi there !
Here, I will talk about my Erasmus exchange in Finland and my feelings about the people, the culture....
So, I took the plane from Paris to Helsinki on Friday 22nd of January and when I arrived my first impression were the weather witch was very very cold like more than -20 degrees. I arrived approximately at 4:45 pm and it was night already so that was weird.
We stayed 2 days in Helsinki to visit the city and do shopping . I thought it was a beautiful city with its monuments and especially under the snow. But I found the city empty compared to the other capital cities like Paris, maybe due to the weather.
Then we took the bus on Sunday to go to Seinajoki. After more than 5 hours of road, I finally arrived in Seinajoki. My apartment is just near the University I will study in, so it’s very practical. Moreover I have I beautiful view on the Seinajoki which is the river wich separate my apartment and the University.
In the next article, I will talk about the people I met, their culture and the city of Seinajoki.
So, hope you enjoy this article and see you in the next one!
Benjamin Sabaron , 14/02/2016
Weather in Finland
Indeed, we can’t open windows except some littles (one or two by room). Like you can see in the photos below, they are in three parts. Maybe if this is just to cool the room. The others windows just don’t have any handle but they are in three parts two.
The same place in two days apart looks totally different, someday there is only some traces of snow when you go to sleep and the tomorrow morning there is snow everywhere. And in particular where you want to pass to go to the university.
But the weather is also quite cool some days with a real blue sky and a lot of sun; ok, that’s only during the day light, so between 10pm and 4am when we arrived. But now the days are longer and the climate is a little bit hotter. But I don’t think it will be like in Angers.
Hi, today I will talk about the weather in Finland. Indeed, it is quite surprising so much it can change from one week to the next. Look at photos below:
Photos of the view from one of the university window.
Two windows of the apartment.
Way to the university.
View from the kitchen window.
Thank you for reading :).
Antoine Guillot, 28/02/2016
My first impressions about Finland, part 2 :
Almost two weeks have passed since my last article publication, and so it gave me some time to discover other Finnish customs and particularities I’m to going to present you in the rest of this article.
One of the first things which surprised me when I arrived in Finland, and which still amazes me, is that there is Wi-Fi everywhere. Whether you’re walking in the street, taking a bus, traveling by train or boat, it is simple, you’ll always find a Wi-Fi hotspot near you where you can connect. This probably stems from the fact that access to high speed internet is a right in Finland since 2010. Moreover the connections quality is good, and so it is an attractive feature if don’t want to spend money on internet contracts.
Another Finnish thing which astonished me is that you can recycle plastic bottles and cans and get discount coupons for your next purchases. Recycling a plastic bottle gives you forty cents, and a can is worth fifteen cents, so it is always good to consider this given that food and drinks are a bit expensive in Finland.
Nathan Hardy, 28/02/2016
Finnish recycling machine for plastic bottles and cans.
Interior of the recycling machine, where you put your stuff to be recycled.
News from Finland
This Wednesday we will start our trip to Russia. We will spend a day in Tallinn which is the capital of Estonia and then we’ll go to St. Petersburg for two days.
The journey is organized by an association called OpenYourRussia (link towards the site), this association is managed by local Russian students who love and know St. Petersburg from the inside and they want to share the spirit of this magic city with us. After all who knows Russia better than Russians do?
In the next article, I'll share my impressions on this journey to Russia.
See you later.
Antoine Richard, 28/02/2016
Now, it has been one month since we are settled.
I still enjoy the snow and the landscapes of Finland.
Moreover, not long ago, about 20 centimeters of snow fell in Seinäjoki, it's nice because the snow began to melt.
The courses are going very well, as I said in my previous article, we are not submerged.
Other hand, there are many extra-curricular activities: student parties, campfire, meeting with other Erasmus students, ...
Recently, we went to the Seinäjoki ski resort: it was awesome!
At the top of the ski resort Joupiska, Seinäjoki
Next week is a free week so i will spend some days in Tallin (Estonia) and then in St Petersburg (Russia) so it promises to be an amazing trip.
Well, see you In the next article and hope you enjoyed reading this.
Benjamin SABARON, 28/02/2016
Well, the last two weeks were really interrestings and dynamics.
Indeed, i went in the middle of the Finland near Viitasaari to see giants frozen lakes. That was awesome to walk on it, it was like a desert of ice.
I saw also people who fished in a hole dug in the ice.
There was some very lovely houses around the lakes totally cut off from the world.
Concerning the courses in the university, it goes very well. We have on only 8 hours a week approximately so he have the time to hangout and discover Finland ans his culture.
There is a sky ressort very close to the university witch is Jupiska, so we decided to go and have some fun.
There was only 3 ski slopes but i was still really nice.
Moreover, it was quite cheap for students with the student card like 24 euros for 3 hours including lift tickets and equipment's rent.
Trip to Tallin :
The first was the Three Dragons tavern where we ate and drank like Vikings (if you are one day on this town, you have to try the cider and the beer of this tavern!).
But that was before we found the old town; this part of the city is really nice with their paved streets and colorful houses. But the best part of the town is maybe its restaurants. According to the advice of our Russian guide we tried two different amazing places.
Hi everyone! Today I will talk about our trip in Estonia. Indeed, we spent a couple of hours in Tallinn before joining the Russia. Firstly we arrived in one of the city harbor and the view was not very interesting.
Photos of the view from our arrival in Tallin.
The Kompressor (pannkoogipubi).
The Three Dragons tavern.
Some photos of the old town.
That’s all for today, thank you for reading :).
Antoine Guillot, 13/03/2016
The second place was like the town itself, firstly we thought that was not the right place but after we passed the second door, we certainly found the best pancakes of Tallinn.
Finally we had to take another ferry to finish our travel to Saint Petersburg but before that we made a stop in an Estonian liquor shop. A very touristic place for Finish people, indeed the price is divided by two or three compared to Finland… At the point some people come with empty suitcase…
Alcohol is dangerous for health, especially 80% ABV.
Trip with OpenYourRussia
During this stay, the things I liked the most, whether in Tallinn or St. Petersburg are:
- Welcoming people, their hospitality towards the foreigners
- The food
- The cost of living: especially in St. Petersburg where we had to make a change of currency in ruble and so with only 45 € (about 3600 ₽) I was able to pay all entries in the monuments, my meals, bars, etc...
We were like kings!
See you later.
Antoine Richard, 13/03/2016
We had a week of holidays the first week of March, so we took the opportunity to visit Tallinn and St. Petersburg through OpenYourRussia.Our journey began with a day in Tallinn, capital of Estonia. For lunch, we ate in the hostel of the 3 dragons to taste specialties of Viking, it was delicious!
Monuments in St. Petersburg, Russia
Follows two days to Saint Petersburg where we visited the main monuments of the city, in particular Saint Isaac Cathedral, Hermitage (the main museum of the city), Kazanskiy Cathedral, Catherine Palace, Monument of Lenin (leader of communism), The Church on the Spilled Blood
Entrance of the hostel the 3 dragons in Tallinn, Estonia
Trip To Russia :
We came back last week from a trip to Estonia and Russia which was really great, so I decided to share my feelings about it by making a quick recap of this journey in this article.
The trip was organized by a young structure called “Open Your Russia” which allows you to visit St Petersburg without any Visa for three days maximum. All you need to bring is a valid passport. You can start your trip from several big cities around the Baltic Sea like Stockholm, Helsinki or Tallinn, and there you take a ferry by night which goes directly to St Petersburg.
Once there the guides take charge of you and take you to the hostel which is very well located right in the town center, and where you can leave your luggage. The guides spoke well English and were very friendly and involved to share their knowledge about St Petersburg history. We went to many historic places around the city, and visited some monuments like Saint Isaac's Cathedral or the Hermitage Museum.
St. Petersburg's Subway, Russia
Saint Isaac's Cathedral in St Petersburg, Russia.
You have to pay for the lunches and the entrance to the main monuments, but as life in Russia is very cheap the entire trip costed around 250 euros, and it’s really worth it. So if you’re going to the Baltic Sea in the future, I strongly encourage you to sign for this incredible trip.
The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia.
Nathan Hardy, 13/03/2016
My first impressions about Finland:
We finally arrived in Finland two weeks ago, and I’m only posting this article now in order to share my various experiences and feelings on the past days spend there.
We landed in Helsinki on a Friday evening, and we spend one day and night in this city which was surprisingly quite quiet and empty on a weekend. The streets and stores were deserted, and the fact that the fast-food restaurants close before 9 p.m accentuated the sensation the city was nearly uninhabited.
We moved to Seinäjoki by bus on Saturday, and the weather during the last two weeks was above our predictions. The average of temperature was around -4°C and we only hit a minimum of -16°C contrary to expectations of less than -20°C.
Speaking English in Finland is not a problem as most of Finnish people understand and can speak a bit of it, so there is no language barrier. The problem is that everything is written in Finish or Swedish on the products in the shops, so it is quite hard to know exactly what you’re buying as there is no translation into English. This led us to buy some local food without knowing what it would taste, but we’ll share those culinary experiences later in another article, so stay tuned.
Nathan Hardy, 12/02/2016
Trip To Lapland :
We just came back from a three days trip to the Lapland region, Finland, which gave us the opportunity to see different landscapes than the ones we see since we arrived, and to experience Finland’s wild nature.
It took us almost eight hours by bus from Seinäjoki to reach our final destination Luosto, a very small but touristic town in the heart of the Pyhä-Luosto National Park. We first visited the Santa Claus' village in Rovaniemi, a city at the edge of the Arctic Circle.
Cloudy view on Lapland's forests from the hill of the Amethyst Mine
Santa Claus' village in Rovaniemi
Then we went to Lampivaara Amethyst Mine, which is one of Luosto main attraction. This deposit is born of the depths of ancient mountains, which now became a small hill from where you can have a view on Lapland’s forests.
Husky ride in Lapland
Nathan Hardy, 27/03/2016
In Luosto you can do a bit of skiing on the few slopes the hill offers, with a 500 meters difference in height. But Luosto is especially known for its many excursions it offers as husky rides we experienced, reindeer rides, snowmobiling or snowshoes excursions in magic landscapes.
Of courses being at the Arctic Circle means that if you’re lucky you can maybe gaze at some Northern lights at night, which was not the case with us as the sky was very cloudy.
Some reindeers in Lapland
Weather in Finland (2) :
I know this article has one day of delay but I was in Lapland. But that is not the subject of this article. However, I invite you to read the Nathan’s article if you want to know more about our trip to Lapland.
Let’s refocus on the subject: the weather in Finland. I know, I talked about it in one of my previous article… But, after two months in Finland I could offer you more information about it. Indeed, when I made my bags in France I thought that the weather will be very cold according to the weather forecast. But I have never seen the minus 30°C; ok, there was a lot of snow in the street but these days the temperature is always more than 0°C and the snow disappears in Seinäjoki…
Is it the global warming or am I just lucky about the weather ? I don’t know but in few days the only trace of snow will be the gravels on the road.
Photos of the campus.
See you in the next article :).
Antoine Guillot, 28/03/2016
Last week and Lapland
We left Lapland in noon to arrive at the end of evening at Seinäjoki.
Bye for now!
Antoine Richard, 28/03/2016
Last week, with the SAMO international club of the university, there was a baking activity. We discovered two delicious Finnish specialties :
Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi, Lapland
This weekend, so we went to Lapland. The journey to get there began on Friday at 4am. After a few short stops for breakfast, stretch your legs and for lunch we arrived at the Santa Claus village which is exactly on the Arctic Circle, north of Rovaniemi.
Pulla : a delicious gourmet cinnamon
Karelian pie : Karelian pie + egg butter , Karelian pie is made of rye flour and rice porridge and egg and butter egg butter is mixed up
Around 5:30 pm, we finally dropped our bags in our cottage in Luosto, which incidentally has a sauna and a fireplace. The morning of the second day, towards the only amethyst mine in Europe. To get there we used a vehicle with caterpillar. Inside the mine everyone can dig to find a gemstone that can take away.
The afternoon was free, some went skiing and others visited around enjoying each slope to use sleds that were available to us. Finally our trip that ended with a visit to the husky farm where we could make a sleigh ride.
My opinion about our rent :
As nothing special happened the past two weeks I decided to write about the apartment we rent here in Seinäjoki, in order to give you my opinion on the place where we lived for the past two months, if by any chance you were interested to rent the same type of flat.
As we already said in the information we gave in the “Accommodations in Seinäjoki” paragraph on the “Home” page of this blog, there is an organization in Seinäjoki, called “Marttilan Kortteeri”, which offers several flats of various size, ranging from one room to four. The procedure to rent one of those apartments is pretty easy: all you have to do is to go to “Marttilan Kortteeri” website, and fill in a form to submit your application.
The rent price depends of course on the flat’s size, but the average is between 300 and 400 euros. There is a furniture fee of 15 euros if you want your flat to contain a kitchen table, several chairs, curtains, a desk, a bookcase, a wardrobe, lamps, and a bed. If you choose an apartment with two rooms, the bathrooms will be shared, otherwise there will only be a common one.
The kitchen includes a sink, an oven, a gas stove, and a large refrigerator. All the extra furniture like cutlery, plates, glass are not provided, but if you’re lucky there could be some stuff left by the former tenants, otherwise you’ll need to buy it or ask someone else if they have what you’re looking for.
A room in a 2 rooms flat with the rented furniture.
Nathan Hardy, 10/04/2016
Personally, there were all the things we needed to cook and eat when we arrived, but I had no pillow, so it is really a matter of luck. Finally the living area in the flats is very decent, neither too big, nor too small, the habitation are well located, closed to the Seamk University, and almost in the middle of Seinäjoki, and the rent also include free access to laundry, gym and sauna, so I can only recommend to rent in “Marttilan Kortteeri”.
The common room and kitchen in a 2 rooms flat.
Courses in Finland :
Today I will talk about our courses in Finland. Indeed, there are a lot of difference between them and our courses in France. Firstly, the courses are for the most part based on exercises for subject like object oriented programming where we only make exercises and be rated on these.
For the C++ programming where we learn to use control board, the courses never are lecture courses like in France. So, every time we learn how to use a functionality we can test it and be sure we had really understood how to use it.Finally, in the software project course we have a total freedom of choice about what we want to do: a game, a manual…
To conclude, I think this is a good thing to make courses like that, because the students are always concerned with their studies. Furthermore they are not rated on things like if they know the name of every function of the C# language but on exercises. And in the world of work people want results, not things that can be found by searching it in Google.
Antoine Guillot, 10/04/2016
Over the past two weeks, the weather warmed and all the snow has melted. With other Erasmus students, I participated in a race in Seinäjoki which consisted of little games, wages and in surrendering to different places in the city. Although we are not from Seinäjoki and found some places with simple clues requires to know well the city, we finished 6th out of 10 teams.
Antoine Richard, 10/04/2016
Thanks to a very sunny weekend, we decided to make a barbecue followed by a nice campfire. We were around thirty, all origins mingled: there were German, French, Italian, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Spanish, Finn, Belgians, Turks, …
We had a great time, we played ultimate (team sport played with a Frisbee) and football. After 2 and a half months here, these students have become friends and we are accomplices.
My team for the race.
From left to right : Hana (Slovak), Antoine (French), Kim and Daniel (Germans) and Pierre-Louis (French)
End of a wonderful stay
Throughout the school year, the international students have the opportunity to making discover their country through a presentation in an amphitheater and then to make enjoy the specialties of their country.
Last Tuesday, some Bulgarian made us "travel". After learning more about their traditions, dances and have been able to observe beautiful landscapes, they cooked us some typical dishes: Bulgarian moussaka, a surprising sweet pasta cake, a delicious brioche and a strange drink with a spicy aftertaste.
Antoine Richard, 24/04/2016
A paintball competition was held at a beautiful sunny day. On a dozen of teams, 3 were composed of international students. We had a lot of fun.
This week will be the last of this fabulous, week consists of exams and a huge event to celebrate the 1st of May (Labor Day). The students, for the occasion, organize numerous activities and parties. They call this event “Wappu” and it can last a week.
Recap of this amazing stay :
As our stay in Finland is going to end next week I decided to write a short summary of this trip to give you my opinion about it.Generally I’m very delighted to have been able to do this trip to Finland. Everything went well from the beginning to the end, and Finland is such a nice country, with beautiful landscapes. The cold didn’t show often – the minimum we hit was -16°C– which enabled us to go out frequently.
The flat we rented was decent and it had a very good location, right between the University and Seinäjoki’s city center. The fact we hadn’t many courses allowed us to travel to different places such as Estonia, Russia and Lapland, and the prices were very attractive. Many activities were planned by SAMO, the student association of the University, and so it prevent us to get bored, but it also allowed us to meet people from other European countries as Seinäjoki welcomes every year many Erasmus students.
Nathan Hardy, 24/04/2016
On the other hand I’m a bit disappointed of the courses we had. Indeed we only had four different courses, and we only spent 15 hours per week at the University. 6 of these 15 hours were dedicated to independent work, so I don’t have the feeling I’ve learned something new during those three months.
Despite this little negative point, I really enjoyed this trip and I’ll keep good memories of it.
Courses in Finland :
This is the end, in a couple of days I will be back in France… But before that, I have to pass my exams in C# and C++ to make finally the presentation of our Raspberry project. Fortunately I will get some day off in France before to come back at Esaip. But, unlike last time, that will not be to go to Lapland or Russia but maybe to look for an internship.
Anyway, these three months in Finland were very great as well for the courses where I learn a lot of new things (to use a controller board for example) or for the open-mindedness I get during this trip. Indeed, every place where I came was very different from the others, as well for their inhabitants, their architectures or their cultures.
The only negative point is probably the real estate agency. Indeed, despite of the fact I liked the apartment, we had to pay the complete month of January for only three days… But, we will probably have to pay the complete month of May even if we had indicated leaving in April… No matter, I will keep good memories of this trip.
See you in France.
Antoine Guillot, 24/04/2016