Discovering Finland's Northern Charm: Our Erasmus+ Exchange to Raahe
We, Konstantin, and Niklas, had come with dreams of personal growth and exploration, and our time in Finland certainly lived up to our expectations.
Our journey started in Munich, Germany with a stop in Helsinki and then to the final Airport in Oulu. From there, we were taken to our apartment, our home for the next few weeks, where we received a warm Finnish welcome.
Our first day was filled with excitement as we toured the Koulutuskeskus Brahe school, and we also visited the Lybecker Media Center, which would soon become a familiar place for us. The modern and well-equipped facilities set the stage for our educational experience.
At the Media Center, we were introduced to an array of fascinating classes. In the first week we visited the Graphic Design branch, where we had the opportunity to unleash our creativity. We designed patterns for school merchandise, using some remarkable buildings of Raahe as our inspiration. The process allowed us to improve our Illustrator skills and combine it with our newfound appreciation for the city's iconic landmarks, which we had photographed the day before.
During our stay in Raahe, we were pleasantly surprised to have the chance to go to the nearby swimming and sauna center for free every week. It allowed us to experience the Finnish sauna tradition, which turned out to be quite different in comparison to the German one :D
However, our adventure wasn't confined to Raahe alone. In our first week, just before the weekend, we went on a magical journey to Rovaniemi. As it is famously known as the home of Santa Claus, we couldn't pass up the chance to explore this enchanting "Santa Claus Town." As we wandered through the streets, we couldn't help but enjoy the charming ambiance and the achievement of crossing the polar circle. We also had the incredible opportunity to meet some real reindeer. These majestic creatures added a touch of authenticity to our Lapland experience.
In our second week, we had the great opportunity to learn a lot about studio photography. In this course, we had access to a professional studio, allowing us to explore various techniques and styles. We spent time taking portrait photos, more creative pictures, and recreating images we found online. Studio-photography turned out being a great new learning experience, as this was a completely new environment for us.
Another absolute highlight occurred one evening as we were able to witness the northern lights. We didn't expect to see them at all, as our app displayed a mere 20% chance of seeing them at all, with up to 90% cloud coverage. But when we stepped out onto our balcony and saw clear skies, we decided to get on our bikes for a short ride to the harbor. When we arrived, we could barely see a light green glow in the sky. But as soon as we got our phones out and took some long exposure photos, we could see it strongly. So, we decided to go to the local fireplace where Ann, our school friend, had taken us a few days earlier to make a campfire and marshmallows, and we couldn't believe our eyes. Even though it was a bit cloudy, we could see some green shimmering in the sky. What an incredible experience!
Our Erasmus+ exchange to Raahe, Finland, was an unforgettable journey filled with cultural exploration, educational growth, and the creation of lasting memories. The breathtaking landscapes, unique classes, and unexpected adventures transformed our perspective and left an indelible mark on our hearts.
Special thanks to all teachers and especially to Ann, as she helped and accompanied us through every step of our Finland story :)