I got an Erasmus and undergraduate exchange scholarship for the spring semester to University of Turku. University of Turku has a Food Development department which is in line with my study background in my home university (Food Science and Technology). Thus it has been popular that the educational system in Finland is one of the best in the world, so I decided to experience it by myself.
My first impression of Finland was shocking; everything was so different! Coming from a tropical country like Indonesia where the average temperature in my region is about 25-30°C, the welcoming moment when I touched down to Finland in the winter time was so memorable. I even experienced -30°C in the earlier of January. About the Finnish people, I saw them tend to love quiet moments more in general. It is so different if I compare the condition in Indonesia and Finland. The Indonesian people like to chat inside of public transportation (a bit loud for Finnish people maybe, but for Indonesian people it is fine). They like to talk about anything: family, work life, or even their girlfriend or boyfriend.
In Finland, for example in the bus, it was so quiet. The people who were talking were mostly teenagers, people on cellphone, or non-Finnish. Indonesian people are also easy to talk with strangers. When I was in Finland, I just looked at the view from the window or listened to music with earphones in public transportation. No chatting with strangers, of course.
The thing I like is that Finnish people are so equal with each other so there is no boundary for talking to older people. In Indonesia I need to set my diction to be more polite if I want to talk to older people, especially to talk with lecturers in my campus. In Finland I can talk to the lecturer more freely and they respect me as an equal; they are more open minded toward students.
Finnish people have some odd ways and of course ice swimming is the oddest! Yes, logically the water is warmer than the weather outside in winter, but it is still 4°C and it’s really uncommon for an Indonesian to swim in that cold. I did ice swimming and public sauna at Ruissalo, it was really fun. I also did ice skating at Kupittaa park, it was my first time to do that and was really hard but I saw children skating like experts and it was such a funny moment for me.
I suddenly found the Christian community IFES when I was searching for some events held in Turku on the website Visit Turku. It was so interesting to me because the ad was about Bible studies in the Gospel of John and it was open for public. I browsed more in Facebook group and their website, so I decided to go there.
For me it is important to find a constructive community that can support each other to grow spiritually, wherever I live. Moreover, it’s interesting to learn how people from other countries express their belief in Christ and it gives me a broader perspective about faith.
I believe in Christ as my saviour, that He has redeemed people from death. It is all finished, not because of my goodness but because of His favor. So because of that, all I need to do is to know Him better in life and know His purpose for me in the world. I believe that I should grow in knowledge of Christ, although there are moments I grow slowly, but I would never turn back.