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Daily life in Helsinki

Niklas Stahlke

Fencing lesson. Photo: Niklas Stahlke.

Maybe you remember the book review I wrote in the last edition, for this time I thought it might be interesting to write about what has changed in my life so far in Finland and how my daily life is going. Of course, everything changed because it’s a completely new life here, but I will talk about differences in specific.

The most time consuming thing right now is, of course, school. The school here is very different from the one in Germany. The students here are much happier with school and don’t hate going there, which is, I think, a result of the low pressure and generally good atmosphere in Finnish schools, at least in mine. Just the fact that you can call your teacher by first name and the very free and independent teaching represents this really well in my opinion.

Another thing about school, which is really different, is the level of digital media being used in school. Maybe this is a bit extreme, but I’ve never seen Kahoot, Quizlet or Google Classroom before coming to Finland. Special about Finland is also Wilma, which is a devil and an angel at the same time. For sure it’s extremely useful in every way, but it also takes away the possibility of skipping a lesson without the parents noticing.

All of this playing together, I had to remember a lot of passwords in my first week and get used to a lot of new things. Now, after two and a half month I can comfortably confirm, that the Finnish school-system is superior to (at least) the German one. Some of my personal preferences aren’t exactly satisfied in school, for example taking notes on paper or writing exams on paper. Besides these things, it’s really impressive how Finland managed to achieve this.

Let’s now talk about the other things in my daily life here in Finland, y’all probably already heard/read a lot about the school. In the beginning, I was actually super lucky, in comparison to what I’ve heard from other exchange students. Just at the first day in school (which is also a big part of social life), another student showed me the way to the sports place and we got to talk a little. This dissolved my fear of not having people to sit with at lunch and it started a really good friendship.

In the first weeks here in Finland, my days were really filled by just spending time with the family, walking through Helsinki like tourists with other exchange students and making friends in school. This was a really packed phase and brought a lot of nice experiences and great people into my life here. In my opinion I even were super lucky, because I have no other exchange students from my organisation at my school, which means I’m really having my friends in the groups of Finnish people.

So, at that point, I missed doing active sports, so I got myself (by suggestion of my hostmother) a Funactioncard. This was a great decision, as I could try many different sports all over Helsinki for a super low price. Right now I’m doing Street Workout, Boxing, Kickboxing and Fencing once a week, which may sound like a lot but really it’s great. There is still enough time on evenings and weekend to spend time with family and friends. Most of the coaches are even teaching in English, which makes it perfect for an exchange student like me. Otherwise, my free time is very much spent in the Finnish course, which is twice a week.

I hope I could give you a bit of a general view of my daily life here in Finland and how it developed and in the next article I may talk more about differences in smaller situations of life.

Teksti ja kuva: Niklas Stahlke