The story began several years ago in my freshman year as a geography student. One day in a lecture a friend of mine asked me to join him in a monthly meeting and a newbie’s evening of an international student organization, EGEA Helsinki. On my own I never would have gone to the meeting, but with friends I became interested and enthusiastic. EGEA Helsinki is an entity of EGEA Europe (European Geography Organization for geography student and young geographers), which organizes various kind of events in Finland and in the European level. It was easy to participate in the events and already in my first year of studies I found myself travelling in Poland for an EGEA exchange.
Throughout my studies I have had the opportunity to participate in several different trips to many different countries in Europe, meet like-minded people and share experiences of participation in different locations and events. And here the idea was created! For the one last time before graduation from the Uni. my friends and I wanted to organize an event where we’d combine current, scientific research themes, international atmosphere and a chance to meet other geographers. We put our years of experience, ideas and versatile organizational skills together to create a seminar.
This human and urban geography themed international seminar was organized in the Easter week 14.-18.4.2014 in Helsinki by the geography students of the University of Helsinki. The participants of the seminar were from over ten different European countries, all the way from Russia, Austria and Georgia. The seminar invited together 25 enthusiastic participants, 6 committed workshop leaders, 4 inspiring lecturers and a dozen active organizers.
The seminar was intended to give the participants a change to deepen their knowledge of multiple different themes in the field of geography through lectures, workshops and excursions. According to the Interactions in Urban Space -theme the seminar focused on urban cultures, differentiation and divisions in the city, comfort and insecurity in the minds of the people living in the city, image building and urban planning just to name a few. The workshops and lectures where planned in the way that they where interesting to both younger and the more advanced students alike.
The seminar was a scientific-cultural exchange in which both the organizers and the participants got to develop the skills and the knowledge they considered important and valuable. Through international events and meeting with other geographers a freshman and graduating student alike can create networks and develop skills of communication and interaction within Europe.
Text: Susanna Lehtovaara