Monthly Archives: April 2018

A touch to Finnish culture- part 2

Are you an international student studying abroad for the first time? Are you curious about the culture of the country you are studying in? The best way to understand about it is to make friend with local people, and thanks for the Friends Family Activity, I had such a good time hanging out with my beloved Finnish friend and getting to know the beautiful Finnish culture.

My “partner” is Liisa, who is at the same age as me. She is a kind person who passionately loves horses and doing outdoor activities. We became friends in an awkward way because of pre-arranged relationship from Karelia UAS. BUT… guess what, we are close friends since then. She is the one who let me try to ride a horse for the first time, ski like a Finn, join with me in some crazy parties.


My first-time skiing was not difficult as I expected. We had lots of fun practicing in the  “super slow” race, we fell and we laughed. What a lovely and warm memory in a cold winter day!


OMG I am riding a horse!!

Another experience I cannot forget is riding a horse. She took me to her favorite place where she often goes for horse-riding few times a week. Honestly, this is one of the scariest things I have ever tried. Getting used to this horse was not easy, but Liisa was there and controlled the horse, made her walk around calmly so I could enjoy the moment.  After 10 or 15 minutes, I gave up (how embarrassing haha) and decided to watch my friend rule the show. At that moment, I felt so proud of her and admired how Finnish children are brought up, to be strong and be a close friend with nature.

Party is a part of student’s life, of course, I cannot miss it. Liisa was officially my “party-mate” as we spent several times a month having fun in the club. How funny when we were always the last one leaving the parties. We share common crazy spirit for parties and that’s how we become even closer.

Not only me learning about Finnish culture, Liisa also had a chance to try Vietnamese things. She sometimes came to my place to taste Vietnamese dinners. It was so funny when I taught her to use chopsticks for the first time. Every time I cooked new dishes, she would show her “wow” face and laughed a lot because all of them were so strange to her.

Using chopsticks must be the most memorable moment.

Learn to be a Vietnamese

I let her try Pho (noodles with chicken) with those chopsticks, roll spring rolls, make bubble tea and dumplings. Vietnamese cuisine is what I am really proud of, that’s why I absolutely appreciate her time and effort cooking and enjoying those food with me. However, time to say goodbye is coming soon as we both have plans to move to new places, but I will, for sure, keep in touch with her and looking forward to seeing her again in Finland.

Friend family program is one of the reasons making me miss Joensuu. Hope that other International Business students will have a chance to participate in order to get the spirit of Finnish life.

Chi Nguyen

A touch to Finnish culture

Friend- family program or “ystäväperhe” is a notable feature in International Business Program at Karelia University of Applied Sciences, which allows staff and international students to exchange cultures. It is a chance for international students to have first-hand experience of Finnish culture and life in Finnish family. Meanwhile, the families get an opportunity to learn about students’ home countries and cultures.

At the beginning of the first semester, I applied for this program through my student counselor. I was a bit worried because I was afraid of not getting a Finnish family this semester due to high number of international applicants. Fortunately, after a month, I got an email from my teacher with my Finnish family’s contact information. I couldn’t wait to meet them for the first time, which was also the first connection with local people during my study in Finland.

My Finnish family are lecturers in Tourism and Creative Industry at Karelia UAS. Both of them are passionate about cultures, cooking and travelling. We decide to meet at least once a month at the weekend and stay in touch via social media. I find myself lucky to have such a local family that I always feel happy and relaxed when spending time with them. I love visiting their cozy house and I can’t stop admiring their huge bookshelves with hundreds of books as in a library. Thanks to them, I have opportunities to try as many local cuisine as possible and foreign cuisine as well. Whenever we meet, she prepares different dishes from different countries and I also make Vietnamese food and cakes as I love baking. In addition, I also keep them updated and ask advice for my study, daily life and my future plan as well, which makes me feel more secure and less homesick.

We celebrated Suomi Finland 100 😛

(To be continued)

Quynh Phan