One night on a ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm and a day in a train through Sweden took us to Copenhagen. Dinner in a cosy hamburger café, then to a train again. Amsterdam, here we come!
We all are going to Amsterdam with an idea of some kind – a dream. We want to put our knowledge and skills into action that contributes to solving problems we see in contemporary and future world, whether they are cultural clashes, throwawayism, or hiding information behind dry jargon and unappealing presentation. After spending several years studying Polish language and culture and Eastern European Studies at the University of Helsinki, I have realised I have got to know many people with amazing amount of knowledge on these countries, their cultures and languages. What I would like to do is to build an active network which would organise a variety of activities that would increase awareness of Eastern European cultures and studies in Finland.
Together with the inspiring co-travellers I have already got fresh views that perhaps never would have come to my mind without letting other people to think about my idea. Could we tailor a personal mini guide for travellers going to explore Polish mountains, Sarajevo, or L’viv? Sure. Could we do background work for journalists, officials, or companies working on Eastern European issues? Why not. Our knowledge of the local languages and cultures could help them to access the information that is not available in other languages. Our contacts and knowledge of the societies can help find interviewees to share their experiences from a local point of view. These are just few of the thoughts the workshops and discussions on the road have evoked.
But this journey is not only about getting a list of tasks we could do. First and foremost it is a journey to transfer vague ponderings into clear ideas what my dream is about and how to give it a form that creates value to others and meaningful work to us. Tomorrow we are going to have a workshop given by experts in service design, the Design Thinkers, in Amsterdam. Let’s see what kind of shapes and colours my idea gets there!