Midsummer (Juhannus in Finnish) for Finns means celebration and the long, white night which is said to be the “nightless” one (yötön yö). In the Helsinki region the sun sets at about 22.50 and rises again already around 4.00 o’clock in the morning. In the Northern Finland the sun does not set at all! The nightless night of Finnish midsummer gives a great contrast to the darkness of the winter time.
Many Finns leave the cities for Midsummer and spend time in their countryside cottages. Midsummer celebrations traditionally include bonfires, sauna, good food, possibly swimming and of course spending time together with family and friends!
If you’re in Helsinki but you don’t have the possibility to visit a Finnish summer-cottage, there are also some midsummer events in the city area. You can take it easy or party all night long.
Juhannus in Pihlajasaari: Friday 23.6.2017, starting at 21.00 when the bonfire will be set on fire. Also grilled food and traditional dance music. Location and how to get there instructions can be found here Please note that the last ferry back from Pihlajasaari to the mainland leaves at 01.45 o’clock in the morning.
Text and Photos: International Student Ambassador Shirajum Monira
Where have you heard about Finland? This question may appear often in a friendly conversation with Finns, or you might stumble upon a stranger trying to start a conversation while waiting for bus at the bus stop or in a university party. Many of us heard about Finland before as a country of midnight sun, Nokia, the real Santa Claus from Lapland, and some of us did more research before deciding Finland as our next home away from home. However, there are much more the land of Sisu has for its visitants to explore and admire.
Studying in Finland brings you an amazing opportunity to explore the hidden beauties Finland has to offer. Starting from the old capital of Finland till the home of indigenous Sami people, there are hundreds of attractive places you can plan trips with friends at reasonable prices and bring back pleasant memories to cherish.
As an international student studying Physics at the University of Helsinki, life has been quite stressful with assignments and exams, but weekends and summer breaks brought unwastable scope for me to visit places I have always dreamed of. In this blog I would like to share some of my trip experiences and information which might be handy for the future tourists.
There is a joke or even misconception among Helsinki-dwellers that there is not much to see or do beyond Kehä III, the ring road furthest from the city centre. But there is indeed a lot more to Finland than just Helsinki! Here we have listed three urban centres worth paying a visit to. Finnish nature deserves a whole other blog entry, so let’s just focus on some cities this time! In this instance, they are all around one to two hours away from Helsinki, which is ideal for a day trip if you want to also save some money and not have to pay for accommodation.
Tampere is sometimes given the nickname “Manchester of Finland” due to its industrial heritage. Have a walk around the so-called Finlayson area, where most of the old, red brick factory buildings are located. If you have a bit of time, go into the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas – admission is free! A museum I have found particularly interesting is the Spy Museum, which is as cool as it sounds: there are lots of gadgets and interesting stories to learn about. And while we’re still on the topic of museums, on May 9th 2017, a Moomin Museum will open in Tampere Hall. It will be the only museum of Moomin art in the world, so it will definitely be worth a visit!
So, it was about this time two years ago I got an email accepting me to my course at the University of Helsinki! I remember shaking with shock, excitement and disbelief! There were excited phone calls made and I remember checking out the campus on google street view with a friend.
Shortly after, there came an interesting offer of joining the summer school, there was a Finnish course specifically for new master’s students. I decided it was a good time to find my feet, hopefully make a few friends and learn some language skills, even better was that the credits counted towards my final degree so that was a head start. As a side note, you don’t need Finnish to survive here, English is widely used but it’s nice to have a little understanding and you’ll look like a genius going home and speaking Finnish, even if you only order a coffee.
In short, I had an amazing time! I made lots of friends who are here doing their degree but also I keep in touch with other people I met during the summer school parties and events. Summer school appeals to so many people and has such a wide variety of courses that the social events are not to be missed. The people involved are the most eclectic and interesting bunch to get to know. The first day I attended the grand opening, we were warmly welcomed with fun entertainment, a group photo and a social gathering afterwards. We were given name badges with our course on and it was a good talking point, especially finding someone on the same course.
Come spring all the lucky and talented students who had applied at the University of Helsinki will receive their acceptance letters. Congratulations! We will be so glad to have you here with us. Go on, accept your study place and book your tickets for the incredible journey you are about to begin. But remember to apply for housing well ahead in time so that you may have a roof over your head (place to stay?) when you begin your studies in fall.
They say being born in Finland is like winning a lottery. I say studying in Finland is better. No amount of money can beat the amount of new friends, adventures, and experiences studying here will give you. During the summer you will get a letter from your tutor, but I wanted to greet you with a few welcoming words first.
The University of Helsinki is one of the best universities in the world. This is not only my opinion. The university has been several times ranked among the top 100 universities in the world. We are known particularly for the quality and amount of research. At the University of Helsinki, all teachers participate in research. Believe it or not, our best professors can also be our best teachers!
To keep business and pleasure in balance, the University of Helsinki has an active student life. With over 35 000 students, there is always something happening. Running in the forest with a map and a compass, wine tasting with surgeons, bar touring dressed up in overalls, taking a cruise to Sweden with your fellow students… All of this and a lot more is organised by the students of our university. If you get tired of student life, the city of Helsinki has also a variety of sights and attractions to offer. There are plenty of parks, museums, shopping malls, and cafes where you can take a break and have a moment to yourself. And then return to student life.
It is normal to feel nervous before starting studies in a new country. There is a lot to do and to remember in a new city with new people. This is why we have tutors, students at the University of Helsinki who are trained to take care of you and help you with your journey into the academic and student life. All the questions about certificates, documents, course registrations, and campus area are answered by the tutors. They also take you to the best parties and organise hangouts. A tutor is someone whose goal is to make you feel welcome and like home here.
We are all looking forward to meeting you at the end of August. Let the adventure begin!
Hey! My name is Alexandra, I am a second-year master degree student at International Business Law programme. I run my own Lostinlaw blog (https://blogs.helsinki.fi/lostinlaw/). Today I am going to tell you how not to get “lost in law” actually in Finland. I base my observations on my common sense, a couple of years of experience of working in legal/related field and my experience of being an international student myself.
First, a couple of general advice. You shall remember that it is impossible to know EVERYTHING about the risks you may possibly meet when renting your first apartment in Finland, signing your first work contract in Finland or opening a bank account. But you should always ask yourself following questions:
On Monday 30th January we visited the Observatory, one of the Helsinki university museums. It is incredibly easy to get to, a leisurely short walk from the city center. We were greeted by Paula, a very energetic, bubbly and extremely knowledgeable tour guide who made us all feel at home.
The observatory was completed in 1834 is now a museum but was lived in as recently as the 1960’s by the professor of astronomy. There are several fun reminders of its residential history such as a section of the wallpapers through the years or the antique cooker near the cloakroom.
The tour begins in a room with some fascinating old equipment such as telescopes and documents and we even discover that the lounge ceiling would have opened to allow the astronomer to lounge back on his chair and study the night skies. It sounds very idyllic and extremely romantic until we discover that the fireplace in the room would have remained cold as the heat would cause visual disturbances. Perhaps a little chilly in the winter!
On the 27th of January, a bunch of us Student Ambassadors were lucky enough to get a guided tour of our university’s museum. We are definitely privileged as a university to have a museum dedicated to safeguarding the entirety of our institution’s history.
The University of Helsinki’s rich and long history can be divided into three main eras. It was established in 1640 as the Royal Academy of Turku. In the 1800s it was moved to Helsinki during the Russian Imperial era, hence becoming the Imperial Alexander University in Finland. It was during this period that the university became increasingly more scientific and research-based, kind of like we know it today. Finally, in the post-Independence era, it became the University of Helsinki. These periods are all easily colour-coded in the museum’s itinerary, a set of informative displays under some gorgeous and ever-changing ceiling lights.
You may have guessed from roadside trees for sale and twinkly lights popping up everywhere that it’s the final countdown for Christmas. But what exactly does that mean in Finland?
There is a very beautiful tradition of visiting the graveyard on Christmas Eve and lighting a candle to place on the grave in memory of those friends and family members not with us anymore. Finnish graveyards also have special areas that are for all those without a resting place or buried elsewhere which anyone is welcome to visit. Hietaniemi cemetery can be visited at Hietaniemenkatu 20.
Father Christmas is called ‘joulupukki’ in Finnish and he lives in Lapland (ask him yourself if you don’t believe me!). But because he lives so close Finnish children get the benefit of being first on the list and they get their presents on 24th December. It is fairly common Santa arrives on the doorstep at some point during the day and personally hands out the presents.