This is one of the trips that had the most impact on my life. Traveling to Finland changed my perspective on life and it’s where my independence started.
I traveled to Finland for an exchange program with my High school for a month in 2014. I know that’s a long time ago but lucky for me, I kept a diary throughout my travels. Hint: Always have a diary to jot down points of your travels or have diary entries daily of things you experience that you never want to forget. I lost most of my videos and pictures of my Finland trip and hadn’t backed up any of them. If you keep a diary, you will at least have some memories left to remember the trip.
I traveled with two teachers and seven other learners from my school. We departed Namibia on 31 July 2014 to Frankfurt Airport, which we arrived at the next day. The Frankfurt Airport is by far the biggest airport I’ve been to, the fact that there’s a whole train station within it, it’s crazy. They actually have free coffee machines with different options at Frankfurt Airport. We took our connecting flight from Frankfurt to Helsinki with Lufthansa Airlines. From Namibia we used AirNamibia. The AirNamibia airline liquidated but you can still use Qatar airways for a direct flight from Windhoek to Frankfurt. The flight will take close to 30 hours with one stop.
We arrived in Helsinki, had breakfast, and took a bus to Anjala. The drive from Helsinki airport to Anjala is two hours. Upon arrival, we met other learners from Japan, France, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Italy, and of cause Finland. It was more of an arts summer camp than an actual school and we were the only African country present. The camp was focused on arts (painting and drawing), and different techniques of doing it. In the evening we would have sauna sessions and chill and throughout the day just do arts.
We spend two weeks at the camp in Anjala, Kouvola. Anjala is the historic milieu of the Ankkapurha area and the gently flowing kymi river gives the Finnish youth center of Anjala and its activities their own distinct flavor. The grounds have an interesting mix of old and new, apparent also in the electric mix of camp activities – combining adventure, history, and nature.
Activities center around the immediate kymi river vicinity and the cultural history of Anjala and the educational methods employed by the camp instructors are found in the principles of adventure education, the dramatic arts, and sustainable lifestyle choices.
After two weeks our actual exploration of Finland started as we visited Kotka, Helsinki, and Suomenlinna Island.
Finland was an amazing experience, that I would like to do again. It has the most lovely people and just breathtaking nature all over the place. When they say the Finnish are the happiest and most peaceful batch, I totally attest to that