I am using this blog to tell everyone what I'm thinking and doing beforehand, during and after my exchange year in Finland for 2011.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Getting my SACE

You thought I wouldn't get a post in for today! Hah! You were right :( because it is now 12.04 and that means it Saturday which means no post for Friday!! I have been posting at such strange times.....

Anyway I have been a bit concerned about how I would get my SACE while i'm in Finland, because the new SACE is very strict and you have to get 70 units! I went to meet with my principal today and he sort of told me that I just have to show evidence that I did a full year at school and I can apply for year 11 "status." The only other thing was the PLP, Graeme (my principal) was pretty sure that just getting in to the exchange pretty much covers all the capability's so the SACE board might let them submit that as ""complete" if not I just get graded at our next Learning Conversation, like all the year 11's. I felt pretty good afterward because it doesn't sound that complicated, I just have to make sure I keep records of what I do, to prove I did a full school year.

I actually had a really interesting day, at lunch time there was some dancers down near the library and it was fun to watch all the people who had probably never danced before, try to copy what the professional dancer was doing! It was a preview for a Zumba club they are opening at Flinders. Nikki and I want to join!! :P

I had work tonight and I was finding it sooooo hard to concentrate! All I could think about was pins for my blazer, plane flights, Eurotour, thermals and snow at Christmas. It was really annoying, I had to tell myself to snap out of it numerous times! I have to find ways of concentrating, now that I ALWAYS have something to ponder.

Rotary exchange lets you learn more about another culture apart form your own but I think it also lets you get to know your own culture better as well. I have started noticing things that are very Australian, or things that I will definitely miss when I leave and its opened my eyes to the sort of things that we take for granted, just assuming every where else has the same circumstances.

Totally unrelated little fact that I found out this week, the Americans don't use Christmas crackers at Christmas, it is only a tradition in Commonwealth countries! The poor Americans :( Crackers are awesome! I'm not sure if they have them in Finland because its not part of the Commonwealth. I might bring some Christmas Crackers with me, or maybe just get Mum and Dad to send them to me in December.

I just realised I don't have a picture or a video to add to this post!! 
So here is a Christmas Cracker!! 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shopping for Finland

I know I've already posted today but I went shopping for Finland tonight. We went down to Marion and we looked at some fleecy jumpers and then I tried on some thermals and goose-down feather jackets in Kathmandu. Thermals would have to be the weirdest things ever! They are really thin and stretchy but I was literally sweating after 10 seconds of putting them on!

We didn't buy anything we were just sizing up and seeing what brands were good and working out what sort of options there was. I rally liked the big puffy "Eskimo" jackets, they were very snuggly. 

This is the jacket that we all liked, I tried on a shorter one but this one fitted better. 

Once we had finished at Kathmandu we went to Jay Jays and I got a Green eggs and Ham t-shirt. It was nice to spend the afternoon with Mum and Amy but I am absolutely spent now from trying on a thousand tops, jumpers and leggings! 

We also went to see Kimberley in the travel store and she gave me some brochures, not that there is a lot of Finland in them though, Finland is often forgotten! 

Right now I am listening to Mikä Boogie, which I know means "What's Dancing" and thanks to a friend in Finland, it is basically says that they like it when woman dance! I guess some things don't change in different countries! 

Mikä Boogie

I heard my very first piece of Finnish music today. It found it on another blog and apparently it is one of the most popular songs at the moment! 

Its called Mikä Boogie and it's pretty catchy! I can't wait till I can actually understand what they are saying. 

Just a short post today because I was very busy with homework last night (and watching LOST, which was super confusing!) I have become obsessed with exchange blogs!!!!! They are so helpful! I have contacted a few of the people just to say thanks for the help that they have given me, most of them are American but I found one blog for a girl from Brisbane who is Finland now, she doesn't update very often though. 

I can't wait until my orientation day, its still FOREVER away!! :( I know its going to be good though, Rotary kids are awesome :) 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Helsinki - Capital of my world

Helsinki is the beautiful capital of Finland and I found out some interesting facts about it today.
That most shocking was that the highest temperature ever recorded at city centre was 31.6 °C  on July 18, 1945 and the lowest was −34.3 °C on January 10, 1987.

32 degrees! The highest ever recorded! Thats cold! It is pretty awesome that i'm going to have a warm birthday though, even saying that it's still normally about 15 degrees in our winter and not -30!! 

Helsinki has an average of 121 rainy days, a third of the year! I love rain, I am definitely going to invest in a good rain coat! The funniest thing I discovered is that Helsinki's plant symbol is a maple and its animal symbol is a squirrel! That sounds so much like Canada to me!! 

Finland has pretty much taken over my life, I live, breathe and dream Finland; even though i'm still in Australia. Weird, I know. Sometimes it gets annoying, I get mad at Finland for stealing all my thoughts! 

I have been talking to heaps of Exchange students, all at different times of their exchange and from different countries and they have given me so much good advice. 

I have also been reading a lot of blogs, and it has given me lots of tips on how to keep this blog interesting and informative at the same time. I actually really love my blog, its so therapeutic to write down every thing your thinking, even if no one reads it. 

Is it just me or are the houses in Helsinki really cool! They look like colorful Lego blocks, stacked up on top of each other! 

This is a satellite view of Helsinki, The actual city covers 686 sq km but only 186 of that is land! 

Hauskaa päivän jatkoa 
(have a nice day)

The J is said as a Y like German, I wonder if that means my name is said Yulia??

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monty Python - Finland

This is the song Finland it was part of Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album and I thought it pretty much summed Finland up :)

Finland, Finland, Finland
The country where I want to be
Pony trekking or camping
Or just watching TV
Finland, Finland, Finland
It's the country for me

You're so near to Russia
So far from Japan
Quite a long way from Cairo
Lots of miles from Vietnam

Finland, Finland, Finland
The country where I want to be
Eating breakfast or dinner
Or snack lunch in the hall
Finland, Finland, Finland
Finland has it all

You're so sadly neglected
And often ignored
A poor second to Belgium
When going abroad

Finland, Finland, Finland
The country where I quite want to be
Your mountains so lofty
Your treetops so tall
Finland, Finland, Finland
Finland has it all

Finland, Finland, Finland
The country where I quite want to be
Your mountains so lofty
Your treetops so tall
Finland, Finland, Finland
Finland has it all

Finland has it all

Micheal Palin went to Finland as part of a TV show and he sung the song as he went over the border

Monday, May 24, 2010

My New Blog

Hello everyone! This is the first post in my new blog and to be honest it feels bit strange! 
The closest I've got to blogging is facebook and the limit you to 470 characters! 

Well the main purpose of this blog is to make it easier for people to know where I am with my exchange to Finland in January 2011. I might slip in random blogs every so often. 

Just so this blog becomes like a start to finish journal of my trip, i'm going to just post a quick timeline of all the key events that have happened up till now. 

Early Jan - Became very interested in applying for a rotary exchange so I contacted almost a thousand clubs and representatives until I was, in early February, put on to my district Chairman who sent me a Expression of interest form. 

Mid Feb - My expression of interest was picked up by Glenelg Rotary club, and I went for an interview with my two soon to be counselors Pam and David. I was really nervous but pretty confident when I went to my interview. I was a little disappointed at the end of the interview because they told me that there was very little chance of being sent to America because I had displayed the ability to learn a foreign language. I said I was fine with it, but I was honestly a bit sad, because I really wanted to see the US. 

March - Most of march consisted of putting my application together and changing my country preferences around. I had since gotten over my initial disappointment of missing out on the US and my country choices were now France, Finland, Switzerland and Belgium, but France soon became unavailable as well.

April - In mid may I had my district interview, I was very confident that I would do well, but still nervous. I had my application all in order and it looked very nice all collated together :) My first interview went well, I was asked about my family and school and what sort of hobbies I was involved in. I was very thorough leading up to the interview, trying to read up on all the advice they give students before they go on their exchanges. One comment that one of the interviewers made which made me laugh a little was "how would you feel if you put on weight?" I thought it was such a strange question but she went on to explain that because host families are very hospitable, students sometimes eat a lot more snacks than usual. 

My second interview was harder, they asked a lot of "how would you feel if..." questions and they are hard to answer because you've never actually felt those feeling before. Then I had the last interview, which wasn't really an interview, I just had to sign lots of sheets. After everything had finished my Counselor told me that I was pretty much guaranteed a spot, I just had to find out where I would be going. 

On Tuesday 27th of April, I got a call form my counselor telling me that I was being sent to Finland! At first I didn't know what to think, "Its really cold" and "the language is really hard" were the majority but after only 2 hours I was fully excited and couldn't wait for the 250 days or so until I could go! 

I did a lot of social networking after that, chatting to rotary kids who were in Finland and reading some blogs of people who were in various country's. I have learnt so much already, and I keep learning things everyday! I am going to start learning Finnish soon, I just want to wait for school to calm down a bit, because right now it is hectic! 

Its pretty late now, so I should probably head off, but i'll update regularly on things I've learnt or exciting things that have happened =)


Finland is beautiful!