Minä olen Virginie (or Vivi if you prefer)! I come from Belgium and I am currently following a Master in Tourism Sciences and Management at the Free University of Brussels, it’s my last year.
As a nature lover, I’ve always wanted to go to Finland, as for me this country seemed to have one of the most beautiful wide natural heritage in the world (and I already confirm it, the landscapes I’ve seen since I’m here are stunning!). So when I had to find an internship, I naturally directed my researches towards Finland (why not dreaming right?). “Nature” being a key word for me, I found the Metsähallitus website on which I discovered the Lights on! Project. As soon as I read its description, I knew I would love to be part of it, it looked original and gathered what I like: heritage, nature, sustainable tourism and innovation. Moreover, it looked like a perfect internship opportunity for my training. I did a spontaneous internship offer and by chance, the Lights on! Project managers were interested in my motivation. After all the paperwork, it was decided, I would go to Turku for my “Erasmus for placement”, from September to December 2016. I would be a project facilitator at Humak University, this “concept” is quite large and I will talk about my different tasks/trips on this blog.
My first days in Turku, quite an adventure!
I arrived in Turku on the 1st of September. I was supposed to have an apartment but one week before my departure, I was told it was only free from the 10th of September! So Nina (my internship supervisor) kindly helped me to find a family who I could stay with. This unforeseen event was actually a good thing as I’ve had the occasion to share the daily life of a Finnish family :). I also had another unexpected joke at the airport, one of my luggage was missing at my arrival! The one with all my clothes inside, of course :D. Lucky for me, they brought it the next morning, I didn’t find this funny at the time but now I laugh about this.
Since now, I’ve met a part of the Lights on! team and I can’t wait to meet the other people who are working on it! Logomo Byrå is such a great place to work at! Nina explained me what would be my first tasks. One of these will be posting a lot on the social networks, it will be quite a challenge for me, as I’ve never been used to do so. But I will learn and certainly gonna love it.
Finnish language, not the easiest one in the world, right?
When I walked into a shop for the first time here in Turku, I realized that almost EVERYTHING was written in Finnish (or Swedish, Norwegian, Russian), but no English… Well I wasn’t expecting to find English everywhere, but at least on some of the foodstuff. But you know what? No problem, I will learn Finnish then! Anyway it was in my plans before arriving.
I subscribed on Monday to a Finnish class. And guess what, another little joke, there were no more places available for the course taught in English. So I will attend the Finnish course given in… Finnish! I know it’ll be a challenge but the good thing is that I will learn much faster :). In December, I promise, I will be able to hold a conversation in Finnish! I already know some basic words like kiitos, hauska tutustua, opettaja, joo, ei, hyvää päivää, anteeksi and some others :). Already a good start, what do you think?
Here it is, this was my introduction.
The first week was aimed at discovering the project and Turku’s surroundings. Every week, I will post a little summary of my life here in Turku, as a foreign trainee for the Lights on! Project at Humak, and who’s in Finland for the first time. The potential difficulties I have, the people I’ve met, the different tasks I did, the places I’ve seen, my feelings about the project, the city, the people and so on, so stay tunned!
I am so grateful to be part of the Lights on! team and I am sure I will learn so much. I’ve been immersed into this project for one week now and the next ones promise to be full of discoveries, can’t wait!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to add me on Facebook, Virginie Demoitié, I will be pleased to answer them!