And so, after more than a week of being only about 1 or -1 each day and night, the snow is starting to melt and I hear that such weather will continue. The people are unsure of what this means- are we pleased it’s not so cold, or is this slush even worse? Is it good when it gets colder- will this make it freeze neatly or will it be icy and dangerous? Or is winter over and spring is here? Or is this the sign for a truly long and elongated winter? Who really knows?
I am currently pretty busy, which I am enjoying very much, with a constant lifestyle of lectures, practical’s ,learning spanish , french and german , teaching english, riding the bicycle, making friends with new greeks , russians and some genuinely cool Finns , and taking full advantage of the luxurious Erasmus lifestyle. Today, I got up at seven, ate some Finnish “Bread-Cheese” (I have started recklessly buying things again), went to a biology practical and dissected a load of perch (a fish), but in a last minute email we were all asked to bring our equipment, so some of us turned up with dissection kits and scissors, others with kitchen knives, pocket knives and kitchen shears. We cut up the fresh fish and measured and weighed their hearts , livers and gonads , then at the end skinned and filleted them and took them home to eat- mine are currently buried in the snow outside the BioChem department waiting till the end of the day. Some of them were a bit too fresh , one’s heart was still beating and another twitching ominously! Bringing knives into Uni and dissecting your dinner- you’d never get this in England. Might fry them or bake them or make a stew, I’ve never tried perch. Doing some Geography practical’s too, viewing 3D images of landscapes to identify landforms.
Also, I am doing a language tandem with a Spanish couple, one of whom is a nurse, so we were practicing job interviews and the vocabulary of the operating room today yesterday, and spoke some Spanish yesterday.The Spanish is showing good progress, I can understand always foreign Spanish speakers, but the true Spaniards are much harder. However some new Italians in town are making me really miss speaking Italian -which has almost left my brain, so I am once again, linguistically torn. The German is progressing slowly too, but is incredibly hard- It is the only language where you can know loads of verbs and vocabulary and still not be able to say anything at all. But of all the foreign peoples in Oulu, the Spaniards are the least likely to talk to you and operate almost exclusively in Spanish groups , having their own Spanish-only Facebook groups, apartments, friend circles, parties , conversations , dining times and dining tables, and there are a few Spanish people that have possibly never spo0ken English in two semesters in Oulu. This unfortunately, puts me off speaking Spanish a bit, but I know Oulu Erasmus experience isn’t representative of the real countries’ people. Met my Kummi family too, they were kind and we had salmon, and talked for many hours, but I am still not sure if they enjoyed the experience or not, such is the Finnish way. This Friday will be pretty sad , being 2000km away from my love on valentines day , but I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve so it should be ok.
I’m looking into doing a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course this summer- I’m sure I will blog a lot more about this during the summer when I am staying in Germany and there’s not so much going on. I’m looking to a do an affordable but well regarded one , as TEFL qualifications aren’t standardized like GCSEs , technically a post-it note written by your mum can be referred to as a TEFL qualification, so you need to make sure your not getting ripped off. Ideally you want it to be backed up by a big names , and I found one that gives you 20 hours of face to face learning and 120 hours of internet learnings that I can do this summer in Germany , hence giving me the minimum 8 hours face to face and 100 hours learning required by more serious TEFL employers(like those employing in Asia!). I checked out some different companys and one website gives 30% of for students or the recently graduated , a nice course , is backed up by the Education Institute of England (I checked to see if this actually exists) and the face to face courses are in some cool places relatively near to me in England. So by getting this piece of paper I will have a pretty fine qualification allowing me to get jobs (in theory) all around the world as an English teacher, allowing me to travel and also, potentially make a life for myself in Germany. Like all qualifications, it’s another card trick up your sleeve, its another tool in your tool belt- and yes, unlike bananas, a degree or a TEFL qualification doesn’t go off with time, but it’s important to remember that having completed your qualification one month ago sounds a lot more employable than having done your qualification two years ago and never using it since. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about life after university , sometimes with absolute fear and trepidation ,and now , once again , I’m pretty sure it’ll all be alright. There’s about a million things I’d like to do in my life , and many of them I’d be happy to do all my life , so with a BSc in my pocket , some pretty employment-friendly life experiences , maybe soon a TEFL qualification and I’m looking to do a internship in an environmental agency in the summer or next year , I think that when reality strikes and university kicks me out onto the streets, my student accommodation lease ends ,and my friends go on to their lives as businessmen and engineers , I’m sure I can pick myself up and find a place somewhere in this world.
For photos of Oulu and me look no further than here.