Written by Andreas Hansen, Germany
Helsinki! You made it! You have succeeded in the application process and reached a new level in your personal development. All your worries are left behind, and the dream rapidly materialises. It is time to embrace your studies, the city, new people and surely new friends. As the joy might slowly fade away and the grey reality of life’s triviality hits you hard, it is about time to get out and embrace your new home. Afterall the daughter of the Baltic waits for you, so do not let her wait for too long!
My first weeks at the university were packed with loads of welcoming events that ensured a smooth start to my studies and the life outside of the lecture halls. In this article, I would like to introduce you to some things I enjoyed in the last two weeks!
CISSI A question you will stumble upon quite frequently if you study at a programme of the Faculty of Social Sciences is, have you heard of CISSI? Short CISSI is the student organisation for International Social Scientists and offers a perfect meeting place for all Internationals and those locals who are interested in exchange within an international atmosphere. So, to all exchange students out there who seek to escape the infamous ERASMUS bubble, this is your chance! Those of you who raise their eyebrows and regret not being a social scientist, don’t worry I am not either and yet I mingle among them enjoying the company.
Chamber Choir EOL Do you feel the urge to sing in a choir and want to meet some Finns? The Chamber Choir EOL might be the right place for you. Even though my humble singing skills were not enough to pass the auditions, this should not stop you from trying! I have no musical experience after all, except for some sessions in Karaoke Bars and the daily singing under the shower… may someone have mercy with my flatmates, as I have a certain lack of it.
Strolls around the city. I have heard many things about the beauty of Nordic Skies, and I am not talking about Northern Lights, a phenomenon of beauty without a doubt but also not a daily sight. I am talking about the daily sunsets in the city! Just imagine walking calmly around the city, enjoying the sounds of bypassing trams and other pedestrians. Well don’t imagine it, do it instead!
Bookstores and Libraries Do you love books? If you do, you will certainly understand my passion for bookstores and libraries. If you don’t, well university life will certainly force you to enter these temples of knowledge anyway. In any case, the libraries and bookstores of this city are a delightful place to be and are certainly inviting you to stay for a bit longer. In general, Helsinki is far from being a hectic and fast city, but time simply stops in the bookstores and libraries placing you in a state of meditation and calmness. Just stay for a moment and appreciate a moment of intimacy. No matter if its Kaisa-talo, Oodi or the Academic Book Store.
Lectures Of course, does the life of a student also consist out of lectures and despite all these things around us we shouldn’t forget our studies. This might seem a bit strict and patronizing, but if you know how the lectures and seminars are conducted you will know that it is not. Teachers are really enjoying the things they are doing and are very happy to explain things you might have understood wrong and are up to debate issues which are critically approached by you or your fellow students. If you are unsure whether your question seems worth asking, please do not hesitate and state your question(s). In the end, we are all in it together and learn from each other. A sentence often used but indeed lived at our university. That’s why I am openly admitting that lectures are something I probably enjoyed the most in my first two weeks!