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Pekka Korhonen,

Slovak students in Lybecker Institute, Raahe, Finland

Follow a group of Slovak students while they study in Lybecker, enjoy finnish winter and introduce slovakian culture to finnish students.

1st week - Monika Vargova

The first thing we saw after a plane descended below the clouds were beautiful forests snowy plains, giant lakes and small towns and cities scattered throughout the nature. After a smooth flight from Vienna to Helsinki and the second flight from Helsinki to Oulu finally the plane landed safely and we found ourselves standing in front of the airport admiring the magnificent nature all around us. Then, Mr. Juha Hautamaa took us to Raahe and showed us around a little. He was very kind and helpful. We were exhausted after the whole day, so went to sleep early.

At the beginning of the week our tutor students showed us the city and we met Mr. Pekka Korhonen who is an international coordinator. He helped us with practical details a lot. He showed us around school. The institute is well equipped. There are a lot of Cintiques, Motion Capture, a big variety of software products for example Maya, 3ds Max, Unity 5, Toon Boom, Photoshop and many more. All the teachers are really nice and willing to help us whenever we need. There is also a canteen in which the cooks prepare delicious meals. In the Institute is friendly, creative and welcoming atmosphere. We enjoy that every day. Moreover, our teachers are amazing. They can say anything with a smile and a positive spin.

We enjoyed the first week being here. Mr. Pekka even took us to the ice hockey game in Oulu. It was the amazing semi-final match. Seated in the fans’ section we cheered for the Oulu team and after the long game and a lot of cheering they have won. It’s unforgettable experience.

Week 2 - Dominika Pisonová

Finland only seen through a television screen is very different than Finland experienced in person.

We got used to here really quick. In our apartments we are mostly together, so we are not homesick. From our apartment it takes about half an hour to get to school by walking, so morning walks to school became our routine and we enjoy them very much. We can see life in the town, people who do not hurry to their works and students who cycle to schools.

The opportunities offered to students, in Lybecker Institute of Crafts and Design, are huge indeed. You have everything you need for being a productive, enthusiastic, motivated and active learner: stimulating environment – a lot of space for studying, including computer rooms and a great choice of courses. We appreciate that we can try various art techniques like chalcography, serigraphy and scratchboard because we have never tried it before. We are looking forward to develop our skills.

We had already made some friends. At the beginning we realized that Finnish people are a little bit shy and quiet but when you get to know them, they are very friendly and helpful.

Together with our tutor students we visited two museums in Raahe – one of them was fascinating home museum, featuring the interior of a ship owner’s home from the 19th century and exhibits one of the most extensive collections of pharmaceutical objects in Finland and in the second one we saw the world’s oldest surviving diving suit – Old Gentleman.

After that we had dinner together at our apartment and spent rest of the evening chatting about Slovak and Finnish cultural differences.

How the time flies we like the school more and more and we don’t want to leave.

And our friendship with the Finnish people is becoming stronger and stronger.

All things considered, we are enormously happy to be here.

The third week – Kristína Roxerová & Klementína Knezlová

Our third week in Finland is going great. It’s not a surprise for anyone. It has been more than 20 days since we have arrived to Finland and we are not homesick yet. I mean, of course that all of us are looking forward to go home. But we already got used to this place and we really love it in here. We would like to go home just to bring our pets, one or two friends with us and go back here.

Day by day, our morning walks to school seems to be shorter. We like spending time together more and more. We spent our last weekend with our friends from school by playing video games and watching videos. This weekend will be no exception. Yesterday (on Saturday 24.4.2016) we went to Oulu to see an art exhibition K2 Unplugged and then we went for shopping. The exhibition was amazing. It was fabulous to see the work places of the artists.

Our time at school gets more and more exciting by every day. This Monday 18.4.2016 we did our first prints on printmaking lessons. Thanks to our great teacher who explained and showed us everything, step by step, we could experience this traditional art technique.

On Thursday 21.4.2016 evening we were cooking with our friends from school and some teachers. We had so much fun during cooking. It was hilarious. Finnish students prepared sandwich cakes – one with salmon and the other one was vegan version. We really liked both of them, they were fresh and delicious. We prepared two Slovak meals that we usually prepare at home – „šúlance“ (potato rolls) and „lokše“ (potato pancakes). Šúlance were with hazelnuts and melted butter and there were two versions of lokše – sweet (with nutella) and salty (with melted butter and salt). There was a perfect balance of sweet and salty meals that evening and we had a great time eating all those things. We enjoyed this day spent together and we are getting exctied about or next but last week here.

Our fourth and final week in Finland is coming to an end, while we feel quite sad about how everything has gone so fast – it is almost like we have arrived few days ago. Besides looking forward to seeing our friends and family, we will miss all those friends we have made in here, since it may take a long time to see them ever again. At least, a thing called the Internet exists, so we can still stay in touch, no matter the distance.

We spent most of our time during this week finishing our assignments  – being at the school as much as possible, trying to get the most of the last few days of our stay. Honestly, we would take the whole building with all the people to Slovakia with us – sweet dreams…

We took a break from all the work on Wednesday, when we went out for our trip to Rovaniemi to meet Santa, wondering what is he doing throughout the whole year, while he does not have to care about all those presents. Fortunately, besides Santa, we had a chance to see a real reindeer and have a small ride around. We enjoyed our trip a lot.

On Friday, we prepared our assignments  for the evaluation. It was a really good experience to get feedback on our work from teachers in Finland, making us look at it in another perspective and showing a whole new way how we can approach it in the future. At the end of day, everyone got their certificates, but being quite sad after realizing that it is time to go home now. 

After all, we loved being in here. We enjoyed every moment we could, getting as much experience as possible in such a short time. We would have come every year if we could, but everyone must get their chance, right? For now, we have to say goodbye, being thankful for such opportunity we had to be here. Maybe, we will come to Raahe in the future, to see all those friends we got in here, but who knows. Hope they will not forget us, because surely, we will remember all of those nice people for a lifetime. Goodbye, Finland!