Trip to Land of Thousand Lakes-Finland
With enormous zeal and enthusiasm to see the happiest country of the world, our students boarded the plane to Helsinki, Finland.. Post their exhausting 9-hour flight, they were welcomed with freshly baked buns from the countryside and a comfortable and scenic bus ride to Iloranta.
Nestled in the midst of a gigantic lake and a plush forest, Iloranta offered a dreamy escape from the humdrum of city life. Students immersed themselves in activities that kept them immensely close to nature. They explored the forest and had an 'Alone-Time' experience where they had to listen to their inner sense and find their way through the forest populated by Birch and Maple trees. They learned forest survival basics- using the matchstick economically, sharpening wood, making fire, and boiling water. On the trails, they learnt about mushroom and berry picking- a favourite hobby of most of the Finns. They were taught to be careful to steer clear of the poisonous ones! The splendid silence of the environs was an excellent opportunity to listen to the sweet tunes of the birds, and what better to do than to ensure they stay!
Students learned how bird-houses were made and also planted one in the forest. The scenery was complete with wildflowers (which they wove into garlands), and sheep (that they fed). They attended a workshop hosted by a local, that taught them the process of spinning and felting wool. Considering this was a hands-on experience, they also got personalized souvenirs. Our students also went to the sauna, which is an integral part of the Finnish culture, and which is accompanied by a dip in the icy-cold lake!
A very appealing education system was being eagerly looked forward to. Students got the opportunity to visit a high school, a vocational school, and the HAMK University (Hameen Ammattikorkeakoulu) It was rather exciting for our students to interact with the Finnish students, and know about their subject choices, the environment in school, their co-curricular, the student body, school spaces, etc. They were quite surprised at the rarity of exams and of course, the fact that they didn’t have to wear uniforms!
One of the elements that made this trip unforgettable was the gastronomic adventure. While they got Indian food during all meals, the Finnish chefs prepared exquisite Finnish delicacies at all times. Students tried a variety of fish from the neighbouring lake, a fun selection of home-made jams and bread, and mouth-watering delicacies made from fresh produce.
It was heart-warming leaving the lovely hosts behind. But, students were all full of stories to bring home!