Sunday, August 21, 2011

I can adjust to this

This is a long post. Very long, but I am going to litter it with pictures to make it seem shorter. So please don't leave, it may be long, but I cover like everything. Please bare with me. 

This title refers to my regular day. Because it is awesome. Totally and completely awesome.

So what is my average day? Well I usually get up at 6:45 (wayyy to early, and the only thing I do not like about my schedule) then I get dressed and get ready for school. Then I scamper 20 feet from my house to the bus stop at 7:20. Wait there for a few minutes with a whole bunch of other people who live in the same neighborhood. Then the bus comes.

My bus card...still don't know where the bar code thing is, but when I put it against the card reader on the bus, the light turns green, and that is good enough for me

A few things about the bus in Finland. One thing, it is efficient, which isn't that big of a deal for anyone from any country in Europe, but compared to the bus that we have in summit county, it works a whole lot better. At the language camp the finnish tutors that they had there put on a skit about buses in Finland. After I have traveled on the bus a few times I now know that everything that the tutors said about the bus is a total lie. There are many things that the tutors talked about that are wrong, but so I don't ramble on for a long time, I will only list the major one that the tutors made it seem like a big deal. And that is that nobody will let you sit next to them. They made it seem like most people will take a seat and then put their bags in the seat next to them so people can't sit next to them. This is not true at all. The tutors made it seem like a lot of people would be standing because you don't sit down if someone's bag takes up a seat. But this is not true at all. The bus is very crowded in the mornings and you keep the seat next to you open. If there are two seats completely open, those will fill up before someone sits next to someone that they don't know but people don't stand if there is a seat that isn't filled with someone open.

This is outside school in the morning, since people here can't drive to school, there is no parking lot because nobody has cars. Everybody either bikes, rides the city bus, or has a motorcycle. Nobody has their parents drives, and there is no school bus. So there are bikes as far as the eye can see. 

I take the bus for about 15 minutes into the city. And when I say into the city, I mean, in the city. My school is right in downtown. It is very cool, because I am not used to city life. Even if it isn't a big city like New York. So then I get into town and get off the bus right next to my school. Then I walk up a slight hill, a flight of stairs and I am at my school! From the street you can't really see my school very well, but I have been looking at it for months on google street view even if you can't see it very well. When I was actually there for the first time, it was very cool. My heart skipped a beat when I realized that I was actually there in person, because it looks exactly the same from street view as it does in person.

This is me in front of Luostarivuoren Lukio

Then I walk into the building and up several flights of stair. When I say several, I mean, a lot! Gah! If there is anything that I do not like about being here that they are way to many stair surrounding my school! Walking up from the bus, to class, into downtown, stairs, stairs, stairs and more stairs! Gah! And most of my classes are on the top floor of the building so I have to walk all the way up, then all the way down for lunch, then all the way up again. By the time you get to your class you are sweating!

Here is another picture of me in front of Luostarivuoren Lukio. These pictures do not do the building justice in size and impressivness. It is a quite beautiful building and it is sooooo tall! Like the first thing that I thought about the school is that it is soooo tall! And that was before I went inside to climb some stairs! 

So, even though you have to walk up tons of stairs to get to school, it is not bad once you get there. My schedule of classes is amazing! At Luostarivuoren (my school's name), there are always a Bunch of exchange students, and a ton of kids that just went on exchange. So they know how to treat exchange students. There are no classes that are required to be taken by exchange students, and it is nice for me, because I am almost viewing this year as a year off from high school, because in the classes I do take, I don't have to take the tests or anything for them, I don't even have to show up. But I do because if I skipped class, the Rotary would be out for my tail.

Schedule (don't bother reading it, I list all of my classes, you just have to read on) 

So what are my classes, you ask? Well, I am taking two english classes (easy), a swedish class (the most difficult because I was only put in it because I know some norwegian and they are different languages (norwegian being better) and my norwegian sucks, so you can imagine how bad my swedish is) and am I taking a history class where I don't know anything that the teacher is talking about, I know the words for Germany and France, and there was a big lecture about some war between Germany and France, and I only know that because I could catch those two words and only those two words. So that is an interesting class....and I have spanish, which I actually think is at a higher level than I am in spanish, and it's Spain's spanish, so not really my best class, but I can at least contribute in that class, which is nice.

This was the sheet which we picked our classes off of. And I thought choosing classes in the US was confusing! Here there are abbreviations and numbers. Somehow the students understand what they mean and pick a schedule that they can be happy with. If I didn't have a teacher from the school there with me, I think I would have been asking when the next plane back to the states was leaving from Helsinki! 

In finnish high school, it is like college. Teachers do not care if you are there or not. They don't give you detention for skipping class, they aren't responsible for you in the least. So when you don't have class you can leave. I have several spots in my schedule where I don't have any class, and I have only had two days of school so far so I have only had one free period, and when I had that, I went down into Turku and sat by the river and watched as they set up some show that was for the Culture capital thing. It was very nice. I like how much independence they give the students. Because in Finnish school system, you graduate from school in 9th grade, then you can legally stop in school. But nobody does this, everybody either goes onto Lukio or vocational school. These you have to apply for, like college and you have to be accepted into the schools, so the people at these schools want to be there, because they have the choice, unlike in the US, where people are forced to stay in school until they are 18. People can drop out, but that is not something that most people do. So the people at Lukio are treated like adults. Which is a nice change from the US, where they treat us like children, and you get yelled at for having a water bottle out in the commons. But it was kinda weird to just walk out of school like it was over.

So here is my schedule:


8:10-9:30 English 8
9:45-11:00 History 3
11:05-11:45 Lunch
11:45-13:00 English 1
13:15-14:30 Spanish


8:10-9:30 Swedish
9:45-11:00 History
11:00-11:45 Lunch
11:45-13:00 Nothing (this is when my Rotary meetings are, so I will have a place to be now every week)
13:15-14:30 English


8:10-9:30 English
9:45-11:00 Nothing
11:00-11:45 Lunch
11:45-13:00 Spanish
Go home early (I only have 2 classes today!)


8:10-9:30 English
9:45-11:00 Swedish
11:00-11:45 Lunch
11:45-13:00 History
13:15-14:30 Spanish


8:10-9:30 English
9:45-11:00 Nothing
11:00-11:45 Lunch
11:45-13:00 Swedish
Go Home Early (2 classes today!)

The schedule here goes by week. We have a class multiple times a week, but at different times during the day, which is different than most schedules in the US. This is a nice schedule. I really like going home at 1 o'clock and 2:30. Even though I wake up at 6:45, some people don't take a first class, so they can sleep in *cough* My host brother *cough*

These classes only last six weeks though. In Finland there are five or six "periods" in a year. And every period lasts six weeks, and when a period ends there is a week of tests for all the classes. Then everyone has new classes. So the teachers only have six weeks to teach the entire course, so they go over stuff fast. For instance, in my history class, I didn't understand what the teacher was saying the entire lecture but the words for France and Germany, which were said a lot. But the girl I was sitting next to said that we went over like a hundred years in one class. Which is quite impressive. I think it is because whenever the teacher is talking, everyone shuts up. Which is different from the US, because you can never get any class where everyone listens. Because nobody wants to be there, whereas here, you can choose to walk out the door and nobody will say anything at all.  So I will have a chance to take less classes in the morning and more in the afternoon. And six weeks from now I will have to have another post going over my new schedule.

I ran out of school related here is a picture of the design on my key chain thing. 

Lunch is nice. I have only eaten at the school once so far, and it was pretty good. But lots of times, the kids say, that it isn't very good. That is probably because there is one kitchen in Turku that cooks a lunch enough for everyone in Turku to have enough food to stuff themselves silly. You can take as much food as you want. So naturally, the food can't be that good, if you have to cook enough for thousands of kids. I think that it is a kinda interesting system though, my host brother and I go to different schools, yet we eat the same food for lunch. Also, finns are usually spacious people, but at lunch everyone pushes and shoves to get into the cafeteria. So it is very hot and sweaty and uncomfortable waiting in line to get food.

And here is a picture of my house for your enjoyment. 

Well, this post is long enough for like six posts, and sorry about that. I applaud you that you actually made it to the end. I will have more posts about school soon, because this one is long enough for now.

1 comment:

  1. The bus card is RFID, so if you keep it in your wallet etc. you don't have to take the card out (just your wallet).