Fall at the university is wonderful. The beginning of new courses, trees on the Metsätalo courtyard shimmering with coppery colors, and most of all, excited freshmen running around and wreaking havoc. But who are these newcomers and what are they up to? BTSB interviewed four of them.
Axel Meyer, 18, comes from Helsinki and has enjoyed his time at the university so far.
What made you choose to study English at the University of Helsinki? Though I might have less of a humanist background than most people here, I’ve always had it as an option for building a possible teacher’s career. It became a reality when I found out I wasn’t accepted to the Class Teacher Program at the University of Helsinki, which was my first choice. I wouldn’t want to try getting there again now that I’m here, of course!
Did you take some time off school before starting at the university or did you come directly from high school? I wanted to keep my study routine firm so I took no time off in between. Now I’ve just got to figure out when to slot in military service and all that stuff.
How have you liked being here thus far? I’ve enjoyed my time here for sure. I’d say this is the right place for me with interesting lectures, fun leisure activities, and nice studying friends. The tutors have been great, too.
Have you had a chance to check out any parties or SUB events? I’ve attended all but one or two of them so far, I think. They’ve been lots of fun!
Which minor subjects are interesting to you? I was actually thinking about Philosophy at first, but I’ll probably end up taking Swedish in some form. It’s my mother tongue, after all, plus it’s a good combination for someone interested in becoming a teacher.
Which area of English philology do you find interesting now? I’m a big fan of Ernest Hemingway and William Shakespeare, so naturally the literature courses appeal to me. However, I can’t put my finger on anything that wouldn’t have been at least a bit interesting to this point.
What do you plan to do in the future? Well, I do plan to become a teacher someday as I think it would be a suitable job for me. If that doesn’t turn out too good, I guess I’ll just use my English degree to create memes or whatever. I hope to permanently move to Canada one day too. That would be pretty cool, eh?
Any greetings you’d like to send older students and other freshmen? “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”
Mira Pohjanrinne, 19, comes from Karigasniemi.
Where are you originally from? From this little village called Karigasniemi, but I usually just say that I’m from Utsjoki since I went to upper secondary school there and, well, it’s basically the same: cold and far, far away.
Are you living in Helsinki now? How has it been to live in Helsinki (if you haven’t done so before) I am. It’s been fun! I was already really familiar with Helsinki when I moved here, since many of my friends live here and I’ve visited the city a lot. What surprised me the most was actually that that a place that is as different from Utsjoki as possible can feel like a home so soon.
How about studies? It’s been interesting. It’s fun to use English every day, and the teachers are really nice. So far there hasn’t really been anything that wasn’t in the entrance exam books, but I’m sure it’ll get harder soon enough. All the fellow freshmen seem nice too!
What made you choose to study English at the University of Helsinki? Well, like I said, I was already very familiar with Helsinki. It’s also really easy to visit Utsjoki from here, because I can fly straight to Ivalo or Rovaniemi. I also wanted to live somewhere where students have something to do, and Helsinki has really active student organizations among other things. And yeah, I kind of like really wanted to get as far away from Utsjoki as possible.
Have you had a chance to check out any parties or SUB events? Well I’ve been to a few of PPO’s parties and SUB’s orientation week and Fuksiaiset.
Which minor subjects are interesting to you? I’m going to become the coolest teacher ever, so pedagogical studies and maybe Swedish? I kind of want to study Asian studies as well, especially Japanese.
Which area of English philology do you find interesting now? You’re asking this way too soon.
Any greetings you’d like to send older students and other freshmen? Thanks to our lovely tutors who made sure we knew what to do and where to go! And thanks to everyone who made Fuksiaiset happen! And for the freshmen: I’d really like to get to know as many of you as possible.
Venla Siikaniemi, 19, is half Finnish, half German student from Helsinki.
How have your studies have been so far? I have really been enjoying them so far. Although the lecture format is new to me, I’ve quickly gotten used to it and learned to stay focused for the whole 1,5 hours. The homework assignments aren’t that difficult either, but they tend to be time consuming.
What made you choose to study English at the University of Helsinki? I’ve always been interested in languages, because I am bilingual myself. English happens to be the language we get to hear the most. It is presented to us through movies, music, tv-series and social media. I fell in love with the language many years ago, and the technical side of language studying – meaning phonetics etc. – has also started intriguing me lately.
Did you take some time off school before starting at the university or did you come directly from high school? I came directly from the German high school of Helsinki. Although I did do a mini “gap year” during June, as I went on an epic Interrail adventure with my best friend.
How have you liked being here thus far? I couldn’t be happier about my choice to come here. I’m so glad I get to study the language I love in the city that I love and with people that I’m beginning to love too.
Have you had a chance to check out any parties or SUB events? Yes, many actually. We were partying through the whole orientation week of course, but also after that I’ve attended things like “fuksiaiset”, “sub goes hiking” and other fun events.
Which area of English philology do you find interesting now? The spoken English lecture and small groups are my favorites at the moment.
Are you interested in doctoral studies? I’m not sure yet. We’ll have to see about that.
What do you plan to do in the future? I want to become a multilingual teacher in a Finnish or German high school.
Any greetings you’d like to send older students and other freshmen? It has been great to get to know new people here and I hope we will all continue to be social and open towards new students and generally all the people we come across during our lives, let’s make a positive difference at least in our own environments.
Samuel Onatsu, almost 19, from Kerava.
Are you living in Helsinki now? How has it been to live in Helsinki (if you haven’t done so before)? Yes, I actually just moved in last Friday and it’s been quite crazy. I have an amazing view of the city and the sea, I love it. Helsinki is not unfamiliar to me, but it’s been quite strange living by myself. There’s no one to talk to! And all the work work work work work.
What made you choose to study English at the University of Helsinki? English has always been my strong suit if not my strongest suit. I love the language and I needed some place to belong. What pulled me in was the study of literature, drama and poetry.
Was the entrance exam hard? I wouldn’t say so. If you studied hard, which I did, it was quite easy. There were some challenging parts, but that was mostly on the translation side, which I did not have enough time to spend on.
How have you liked being here thus far? The student life is an exciting new chapter, maybe just the fresh start that I needed. There’s so much to learn, many new people to meet and too much going on at the same time. It’s a lot to deal with, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
Have you had a chance to check out any parties or SUB events? As much as I’ve been able to. Love it. More parties, please!
Which minor subjects are interesting to you? I’ve been thinking about TV and Film studies, maybe theatre studies, because what I really want to do is acting and film-making. Oh, maybe even some kind of literature. That would be amazing.
What do you plan to do in the future? Hard to say, but as much as I can. More theatre, more writing, more arts in general. I aspire to be an actor one day, that’s my plan.
Any greetings you’d like to send older students and other freshmen? Be spontaneous, be courageous. I think university is the best place to embrace who you truly are. Here you will find your people inevitably.