Published: September 4th 2008September 4th 2008
Hello everyone! It seems like everyone has some sort of "year abroad" blog, so I figured that I should get one as well.
As you most likely already know, I arrived in Finland last Thursday on the 28th of August. I flew from Berlin to Helsinki via AirBerlin (which I would highly recommend for flights to Finland) and spent the evening at a Finnish friend's house in Helsinki. I got to see a little bit of the city such as the Tuomiokirkko (the national Cathedral), Finlandia Hall and the Baltic Sea, but I am planning on going back to spend more time sightseeing at some point.
Friday morning I took the train to Joensuu, where I have been since. Joensuu is about the size of Bloomington and is known as being a "University Town". It is divided by a river in the middle; my house is on one side and the university is on the other. My house is located fairly far away from the University, about 5km or 2.5 miles, so I bought a bicycle to ride to classes which I enjoy (not so sure how enjoyable it will be in the winter!). Most of this week I have spent at the "International Students Orientation" and running around town registering, setting up a bank account, getting linens, ect. I have been really happy that I have been able to speak and listen to Finnish, and that people will not automatically speak to me in English, and I really think that my Finnish language skills will get much better while I am here. I was really proud that I was able to set up a Finnish Bank account speaking only Finnish.
Next week my "History of Russia from Christianization to Revolution" class begins, and I also plan to begin reading for my exam class. Hopefully I will be able to post pictures next week so you can see a bit about where I am.