Last modified 15.3.2011 at 13:15
Doing the intercultural
Text and photo: Laura Myllykoski
(2nd photo from the archives of Jarno Holappa)
Andrew Atkins isn't necessarily a stereotypical student. He's studying horticulture at the School of Renewable Natural Resources even though he's Scottish and the study programme is held in Finnish.
Andrew learnt Finnish in an unlikely way: at bars. He doesn't really appreciate the Finnish beer culture but since there is nothing better to offer, it has to pass.
Andrew moved to Finland in 1994 from a small town of Thurso in Scotland. Of course it was because of a woman. Since then she has kind of fallen off the wagon but Andrew is still in Finland.
- We have a child together so that is the main reason for not moving back to Scotland, Andrew explains.
And in addition Andrew has his studies. He has started them in 2004 and is going to graduate this spring. The main reason for studying a new profession was Andrew’s health; he couldn't practice his former occupation anymore so he decided to study a new one.
During his studies Andrew has also been busy in the international field. He has been working with exchange students by arranging trips, parties and other activities for them. He has also participated in many field trips around Europe.
For example about two weeks ago we had a trip to Tallinn.
Andrew has also been active in the Club KulttuRally that plans and organises spare time activities for international students in the whole of Oulu University of Applied Sciences.
Andrew tells that the exchange students have been very positive and open for all of the activities.
Sometimes the organisation takes a lot of my time and sometimes it doesn't.
Andrew has also had to deal with the police and the Customs. Some of the bicycles that the school borrows to exchange students were stolen while they were exploring the city centre. Though this isn't very uncommon in Oulu, they still had to report them stolen and that is where Andrew had to offer his help.
Picking up the language
When Andrew came to Finland he didn't move to Oulu straight away.
I've lived in Helsinki, Kuopio, Rovaniemi... a bit here and there.
Compared to Scotland Finland has a different weather. Scotland tends to be a windy and rainy place.
And of course the beer culture is different. Finnish beer isn't as good as Scottish, naturally.
Andrew speaks fluent Finnish with a peculiar accent. He has never really studied Finnish but has learnt it from Finns themselves during social gatherings, so basically in bars.
Once I learnt the language people started to act more positively towards me and I actually got to know people.
So apparently we Finns aren't as introverted as we are thought to be. At least not with a pint in our hands.
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