Raahe Project Activities’ EU volunteers Andrea, Madeleine, Jana and Daniel finished their work project in Finland in late September. Project Activities’ blogger caught up with them just before they headed back home. Here’s how they summarized their two month experience in Finland.
What kind of experience has the project in Finland been for you?
Andrea: For me it was a very interesting experience. We learned a lot of new things and met really lovely people. It was really great for me.
Daniel: It was good to know the culture and to know people from here. And also the place is really different, I really like it.
Madeleine: For me it was really important because I got a chance to speak Finnish and discover more about Finland. I think Raahe is really special because the environment is very different from where I live, with the sea and the forests. The mood is very particular. It was nice to be in that mood for a while. I think that Raahe is a good place to think, because it’s so quiet. It was perfect for me.
Jana: For me it was very interesting too. Especially this place, it was great to see how the workshops work and meet the people here. And also get to know the people and hear their thoughts.
If you had to choose one experience that was the best, what would it be?
Daniel: For me it was staying in Iso-Kraaseli, I really liked that.
Andrea: For me it was when we went to Kari Haapakangas’s cottage. We did some Finnish actitivities there. We picked berries, went to the sauna and ate some traditional Finnish food. We did “vihta”, it was also very interesting. It’s something that I had never done before.
Madeleine: I learned a lot on how to be in a group. We have been together a lot. It was nice, because we got to know each other. It was nice to be a part of this project and be with people who share the same things. Aki Leppälä brought us into a lot of different places. Being on the islands was nice. Boating was my favorite thing here.
Jana: We went to the outside and the nature and made fires in the woods.
Has the experience in Finland met your expectations?
Jana: I didn’t really have so many expectations. I just thought “yeah it would be a good time”. Then I came here and it has been a great time.
Madeleine: When I came here I knew before coming here things about Finland. My family is from Finland and I was thinking “I’m going to go and visit my family a lot”. Actually I just saw them once. It was because I wanted to stay here and immerse myself in the project here in Raahe. So I didn’t leave to see my family. They came to visit me, so it was nice to see them.
The experience in Finland was really unique. There’s not one other place than Raahe and Seminaari that could have brought me the things that I have learned here.
Daniel: I had no expectations, but it’s something I could have never imagined. I really like it and I really enjoyed my time here. It was really interesting to do all the stuff that we have done.
Andrea: I had expectations, because I have been in Finland before. When I was here for the first time, it was really good for me, maybe the best experience of my life. It was also a really good time here.
What is your plan for the future?
Jana: I thought I would have a lot more time for myself, thinking about me and my life, and making plans for the future. But I was so busy with all the things to do. I think that I have learned a lot about me and my life, and really grown personally.
Madeleine: I thought, after this project I would know what I want to do (laughs) and actually I don’t know what I want to do next. But I have grown. Even if I hadn’t found a future goal, I feel that I am closer to myself. And also not being so stressed about the future.
Andrea: I have to go back to Italy, because I am starting my final year in university so this is my plan for the future.
Daniel: Like Jana and Madeleine, I thought I would find myself here. I have some ideas but not really clear.
Have you found any differences or similarities between Finnish culture and your own country’s culture?
Jana: In Finland, there’s tons of mosquitos!
Daniel: Finnish people are always on time when you want to meet them. The trains are really good compared to Spain, the public transport in general is very expensive in Spain. Here it’s the same price and better service. I think it’s really good. Also the people may be a bit more shy, but they are very polite.
Andrea: There are lots of differences. It was really nice coming here in July and the weather was 20 degrees. In Italy the weather is too hot in my opinion because the temperature is almost 40 degrees there in the summertime. This is one difference that I really like.
Daniel: Also you drink a lot of coffee.
Madeleine: People were really welcoming. A lot of people speak really good English without having been abroad, which is amazing.
Now for the last question you can say something in Finnish.
Daniel: Haluaisin ottaa santsikupin.
Jana: Voinko heittää löylyä?
Andrea: No niin (laughs)
Madeleine: ”Itketkö…” Aki Leppälä tried to teach me this sentence in Finnish but I don’t know how to say it. In English it’s ”Are you crying alone?”
Thank you Madeleine, Andrea, Daniel and Jana from all of us here at Raahe Project Activities. It was nice to get to know you and work with you during these past two months. We wish you all the best to the future!