2023-24 Isaac, outbound to Finland Sept. 20, 2023

Sep 20, 2023

Welcome back to my Journal, I am about a month and a half into my exchange and so many things have happened. I started school which has been so different but so cool at the same time, it’s a bit hard to make friends but I am managing. I never thought of school being so different in different parts of the world, but it is drastically different. The structure here is completely different, for example in Florida schools you take 7 classes every day at the same times throughout the whole school year which I basically grew up knowing and getting used to. In Finland its not like that, they have roughly around 4 classes a day, but the classes are different every day. So like Monday I have history then gym then two art classes, but then Tuesday I have a gap class for my first class then I have Art and English. Then very soon the period ends so I get a whole new set of classes. I personally think it’s really cool the way school is structured and it has gotten me interested and more involved in school. Another thing that is cool is that you can leave campus through breaks unlike in the states where you must stay on campus throughout the whole school day. The teachers and staff give the students a lot more freedom and respect and I feel like because of this the students naturally do the same back. Outside of school there is not much to do because the school doesn’t have that many clubs if any clubs at all, the school also doesn’t have after school sports either. Everyone is always very focused on their education they don’t have many school ran programs. There are many clubs and facilities nearby though where you can find clubs and sports to do. In fact, I have started American Football here and I will be playing division 3, which is fun and cool. Everything is also close so you can usually walk in most places if you need something. If you can’t, the public transportation is very big and is used by pretty much everyone. Even if you have a car sometimes it’s faster to take the train to work or school than it is to drive. Some of the things I have done here I could never do in the States as well, I have been to a couple concerts and Football games. The football players here also have a good relationship with their fans, so I got to meet most of them and the mascot. Even the away teams come to meet and talk to the fans after the games. Soon I hope to go to a hockey game and meet some hockey players as well. The food here is also amazing, I was a bit scared coming thinking I wasn’t going to like the food, but I have tried some of the best things here. My host mom loves to bake so I am always trying something new, and I love that. My favorite food so far is between two things, Korvapuusti, which is basically the Finnish version of a cinnamon roll. The biggest difference is that they don’t put the classic white cream on their buns but instead they put crystal sugar on top. It’s also not nearly as sweet but it is, if not better than the cinnamon bun. The other food I fell in love with was Mustamakkara, the direct translation is Black sausage. Basically, it’s a type of blood sausage served with lingonberry sauce. It is mostly eaten in Tampere, even then not a lot of people like it. I thought it was a bit weird but then I tried it and now I have a new favorite food. I still have a lot to see and try and do here in Finland but that’s basically how my first month went so far. Overall, been one of the hardest months of my life, and it has been mentally and physically draining. With that being said, this has also been one of the best months of my life. Throughout all the struggle I am finding things out about myself that I would never imagine. I have grown so much, and I feel like after this year I will be able to overcome and conquer anything and everything. Thank you for reading and I hoped you enjoyed my second journal entry.

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