Terve. Minun nimini on Nicholas Beecher. Minä olen 18 vuotta vanha vaihto oppilas Australiasta, ja Suomi on tosi erilainen! Minä olen ollut tällä kolme kuukaudet, ja minä rakastan suomi!

Finnish life is very different to where I come from in Australia. Australia is quite a large country compared to Finland and has 21 million people living there. In Australia, it is quite hotter and drier, and in the town where I live (Leeton), we never see snow. In fact, when I left my home town in Australia, it was 40°C, and I arrived (to my shock) in Helsinki at -25°C. The fauna and flora are completely unique in Australia, with such animals as the Kangaroo, Koala, Platypus and many more. In Australia, my life consisted of School (which I have now completed), playing many summer sports such as swimming and cricket, playing lots of music, and hanging out with friends, usually out at the river on weekends.

Since I have been in Finland, I have loved the scenery of the snow, and now I am sad that I will have to wait another 4 or 5 months to see it again. I have been skiing at the local Äänemäki lots of times, and even had an opportunity to ski at the popular skiing resort at Ruka. Being quite sporty, I have also attempted ice skating, pulkämäki and cross country skiing, but I am absolutely dreadful at cross-country skiing and I don’t think it will be a good career for me in that direction. But many people have told me that the Finnish summer is great as well. In the last couple of weeks, I have been amazed on how different the scenery looks compared to when I first came here in January; all the snow has melted away and the scenery looks very green with lots of forest. I have travelled around Finland a fair bit, being as far north as the Arctic Circle, Kestilä, Tampere and Jyväskylä many times, and hopefully I can see a bit more southern land closer to Turku and Helsinki in the upcoming months.

Now being three months into my exchange year, I have become quite familiar with some of the Finnish ways of life, including lots of sauna (even ice swimming in the ovanto), eating plenty of Finnish foods, such as Karjalampirraka, Makkara and plenty of Ruis-leipa; my favourite is Ruipalat. I am quite a fan of lunches at school, because it is good food and more importantly, it is free. Living life in the Winter was a complete lifestyle change for me, especially because of the times of sunset and sunrise. There was only about 4 hours of daylight, and living life in the night was absolutely weird. But now almost being in the summer, I can’t wait for the fact that we will be seeing daylight for almost 24 hours of the day!

Studying the Finnish language is quite hard from an English perspective. The structure of sentences is back to front when translating, as the Finnish language uses lots of suffixes instead of prepositions. I feel that I am getting used to speaking Finnish on a small degree, and even though I don’t know much at the moment, I hope by the end of the year that I will be able to speak Finnish quite well, and may lead me to some further career opportunities. I’m surprised by the fact that Finnish people all speak very good English and I guess that has made my exchange a little easier, but I would really like to keep speaking Finnish the whole time, so that this exchange proves very beneficial for me. I have been lucky to have had opportunities teaching students about my ways of life in Australia and I think this has proved very beneficial for me. My learning of culture and life skills has been quite good, and I hope further opportunities arise for me.

Minulla on vielä kahdeksan kuukautta Suomessa, ja minä haluan tehdä erittäin ikimuistoisia loppuelämäni. Asuminen Suomessa on mahtava ja mina en voi odotta kesä tule!

Nicholas Beecher