My first 4 weeks in Helsinki…

BEST MONTH OF MY LIFE!

The first day we got picked up from Helsinki Airport from our coordinators. They greeted us, then we jumped into a taxi which is when we met our first house mate from France. We arrived at our apartments, I looked like a lost tourist with my Indiana Jones hat on, a big fluffy coat and 3 bags of luggage. But my coordinator took me to my dorm where I would be staying for 5 months and I got greeted by to girls poking their heads when answering the door (like they do in friends). Little did I know one of these girls would be my Best Friend! I dropped my bags and introduced myself, then I knew I’m living with an Italian called Anna Ferrari (coolest surname ever) who was 19 when I met her but is now 20, my other room mate who is German called Corina Stranniger who is 19. So yes I’m the baby of the house! After we had our bonding session, we met up with the rest of the Erasmus group. There are 12 people in our group, all from different countries. There are 2 English, 3 Italians, 2 Germans, 1 Latvian, 1 Swedish, 1 French and 1 Hungarian. That first night we all had Dinner (The Italians cooked for us, of course).

The first month was generally getting to know everyone, getting to know Helsinki, our surroundings, learning and school. Once or twice a week for 4 weeks we had Finnish lessons which was interesting/hilarious/embarrassing/challenging but mostly FUN! To be honest, it was quite hard, we all tried our best but it’s impossible to learn Finnish in 4 weeks!

Throughout the 4 weeks we went on trips, from sightseeing tours to adventures in the woods with a camp-fire making our own deserts on sticks! As a group we even ventured by ourselves, bar hopping, tram hopping and train rides. If we ever got lost and didn’t know where we were we would just hop on any public transport and say “ADVENTURE TIME!” always being positive! Every week we would go to Hard Rock Cafe on Wednesday and Thursday as they were holding events such as Open Mic Night and Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is where I met loads of people that I am now friends with life and would happily meet up in a few months/years. All 12 of us were different in so many ways but all had the same interest- Travelling, this is what brought us together and bonded SO WELL! No-one ever had a major arguments, there were some dramas happening (but what happens in Finland stays in Finland)..But everyone got on so well and it was the best 4 weeks I’ve had.

Erasmus family 2015-2016!!

Here are some photos of experiencing Helsinki for the first 4 weeks..

This is the main Train Station in Helsinki and every night I have to get a train home and I absolutely love the views I have, it’s so beautiful!
  State the obvious…South Terminal in London before we had to board.   This is one of the popular attractions in Helsinki, this is called the Sibelius Monument. This was made by Finnish artist Eila Hiltunen. It’s beautiful because if you stand beneath it like I did you can hear the wind whistling through the holes and it’s so peaceful.
    This is also another main attraction called ‘Senate Square’ it kind of reminds me of New York with the red steps. I like to go there on my day off and read when it’s nice weather.
  I SAW RUDOLPH IN REAL LIFE!! oh wait…he doesn’t  have a red nose…I think it might be Prancer?


  Ok, so the first week of being in Helsinki we all decided to go out on a Thursday for no particular reason. We saw Hard Rock Cafe so of course we had to go in and check it out, would be rude not to right? We accidently joined a private event called ‘CouchSurfing’. For you that don’t know what that means, I will explain.CouchSurfing is about meeting new people whilst travelling the world, or meeting people from around the world without travelling at all if you are a host. Getting in touch with locals doesn’t only mean a free bed for the nights, but also an insider’s perspective on a new place and some company on the road. So you can either be a guests or a host, you will still have the best time! But they also hold events that anyone can attend to. For example you go in get yourself a drink (if you want) and then just go over to a random table and start a conversation, easy right? Some people you could talk to for 5 minutes or 5 hours. You talk about yourself, your interest and hobbies, what you’d like to do in the future. I have been every week since I have been here and won’t stop until I leave. I have met so many people when attending this and I love it! Every Thursday at Hard Rock Cafe I go without a doubt! It’s not just in Helsinki they do this, CouchSurfing is global. I highly recommend people to attend these events. If you sign up to Couchsurfing, they will send you emails when the next event is near you!

I highly recommend you to do this if you have a passion for travelling, as you can travel as much as you want for free. So click HERE to sign up and start your own adventures!

  


  
  I LOVE the backdrop on this! It was a stunning view on a beautiful day!!  We went on an adventure through the woods and found a cute cafe near the lake. But not only that, 3 huge houses where artist/writers live, it was pretty cool. This was one of the days we got lost…ADVENTURE TIME!!
  Art museum was beautiful!  Outside the museum pretending that I wasn’t cold! (Come on Manda who are you trying to kid? put thicker layers on)
  This was a day we went into the woods and had an activities day. Firstly, we had a BBQ picnic with sausage burgers and salad, then we got to make our own deserts, cool right? I’m not entirely sure on what they were called but it was simply dough with some seasoning inside. We had to wrap the dough around the stick and then put them over the heat and wait until they were cooked, then dipped them in sauce. After we walked to the lake, it was a beautiful and we played some games together!  Well, some played games and some…STRIKED A POSE !
  One time this man gave me a rose..  Visited an art museum and saw a lot of amazing things. But this stood out for me and made me have goosebumps. Deep but so true!

Anything Helps is a monument of guilt, a monument of class-differences. An artist from an affluent country has spend tens of thousands of euros to fly around the world and live in hotels to buy begging signs from street-dwellers with few euros. Anything Helps consists of 22 begging signs from 10 different countries the artist Jani Leinonen has been buying from beggars around the world during 6 years. There was one that touched me the most which was: . “My family is stranded…. I spent 6 months in hospital having OPEN HEART SURGERY!! My family lost EVERYTHING during that time. We lost our HOME, BUSINESS and SAVINGS. My wife, daughter and dog had to go back to Ft. Myers, FL, and are waiting for me..The Drs said I don’t have long to live and I want to some that time with my loved ones. All the churches and program’s said thy can’t help. I miss my family and they NEED ME!! Tickets are €314
PLEASE HELP!!” – New York

 

  We took a spontaneous overnight ferry to Estonia, Tallin on 3rd October 2015. This was one of the funniest nights! We all had cabins, which consists of 2 bunk beds in a cabin and it was only 20 Euros for a return. We drank a lot of alcohol on the boat, but we were only trying to experience the Finnish culture because we all know Finns like to DRINK!! But it was a fun night and it brought us all closer together!
  
    If I could live on a boat forever, I simply would. The views were AMAZING!!
    Every single house mate tells me off for sleeping too much, I don’t know what they’re talking about. Do you?
  
  Had Lunch at ‘Kappen Lounas’ it was a beautiful cafe, the building is 150 years old. When my grandma and sister came to visit I took them here and another time when my friend Lauren visited me. The design is unique, it’s friendly and they sell GREAT food and drinks!! If you ever find yourself in Helsinki and don’t know where to go for a coffee or lunch, find the harbour and you will be here!!
  Shirt. Jeans. Boots. 
  OOOH would you ever guess where I am? Hard Rock Cafe AGAIN! (I found their steps amusing and pretty! They would change colours every week!) If you follow me on instagram, this was probably all you saw..

  For anyone that knows me, knows that I HATE coffee. But i visited Roberts Coffee for the first time and I absolutely loved it!! (I recommend anyone to visit!) It’s kind of like starbucks just a THOUSANDS times better!!

    Reading ‘Just Alice’ on a lovely day!
  I found one of these in a museum, strange right? But I need a jukebox at home, I absolutely LOVE them!   The view for lunch this day was astonishing! We took a trip down to the Design District and our Finnish Teacher took us out for the day to explore and understand more of the city!
  Manda’s famous pose!
  This street reminded me a little bit of Budapest crossed with Italy! Me and Emma (Finnish Teacher) was saying that it would be ever better if they replaced these cars with 1940’s cars.  This is the famous Emma our Finnish teacher, I also LOVE her backpack!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Lottie says:

    Love this one 😀 In awe of your travels Manda!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

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