Day Three: Working hard and getting International

Sunny day in Helsinki! While the seminar participants were working on the workshops the blogger saw inspiring things on the way to the campus…

ratikkaTram bench


After the lunch Dr Gareth Rice held the second lecture of the seminar. Dr Rice is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki at the Department of Geosciences and Geography.  He originally comes from Belfast, Ireland and today he spoke on theme “Interactions in a divided city: the Case of Belfast”.

Sadly, Belfast has been famous about the conflicts between the protestants and the catholics in the area. We heard about the backgrounds behind the situation, the conflicts and the divisions in the city. The conflicts have not been religious but a result mainly from disagreement between the loyalists and unionists and the rebublicans and Irish nationalists about the issue if Northern Ireland should be a part of the Great Britain or Ireland.

Nowadays Belfast is among the safest destinations but only a couple of decades ago it was described as one of the most dangerous places on the earth. There are still so called peace walls, actually 90 pieces, that are dividing the protestant and the catholic areas to give safety and peace in the city. A survey revealed that people in Belfast seem still to be a bit scared about removing the peace walls. According to Dr Rice the psychological space have to catch up the physical space before the people are ready.

Finally, Dr Rice concluded that the development has been positive and the full peace and consensus between the groups is possible, maybe not in the next few years but after a couple of decades. He also quoted Martti Ahtisaari, who has said that sustainable peace does not only mean no appearance of violence but equal opportunities and functions available in the society. Let’s hope for the best for Northern Ireland.


Dr Gareth Rice

In the evening we had some  international activity after the dinner.  We were playing games that of course had something to do with geography or interculturality. The participants had to find their own group by “speaking” the language they had drawn from a bowl. We heard somekind of mixtures of norwegian, swahili, italese, spanish and chinese.


There were five different tasks to  do: pantomime about geographic concepts, blind story writing, drawing countries, geoquiz and a excercise where the groups were informed which part of the body and how many of them were allowed to touch the floor.


The spanish group was consentrating on the geo-guesser. The quiz is very addicting. A randomly picked picture from Google Earth will show up and you will have to guess where it has been taken! For the interested here is the link


Meanwhile at the task number two people had to draw a country, the boarderline and anything they came up while thinking about that country.


After the playing we had a chance to try international cuisine. Even if we didn’t ask the participants to bring something from their home country, the table was full of interesting products from different places. Thank you so much people, it was interesting and very tasty!


Different kinds of drinks from beer, wine, liquer to vodka were seen. Georg from Georgia had brought Borjomi, the typical mineral water of his home country. There were also breads, chocolate, candies and different kinds of bisquits.

And finally of course, there is no EGEA party without “Schatje mag ik je foto”!


Notice the sofa on the background 😉

The other must during an EGEA evening is Moskau…


I think this picture descripes quite well what is it all about EGEA. Friendship, Geography, Traditions and great FUN!


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