Snow-covered forests, clear starry skies and -30 degrees: that's how we landed in Rovaniemi at the beginning of January. We knew that an exciting winter adventure awaited us in the midst of untouched nature, but we had no idea at the time that this nature had so much to offer us. The north of Finland is a true paradise for winter lovers - from skidoo or huskey tours through the backcountry and watching reindeer, to ice bathing in the Kemijoki river, to hours of exercising on Finland's endless network of cross-country ski trails: Rovaniemi made us experience winter in a completely new way.
Not only did Rovaniemi let us experience the winter of Lapland with all its facets, but also the Finnish culture. Dealing with this can take some time at first, but exciting courses at the university help you to understand the culture and make it easier to deal with. These courses also teach a lot of interesting facts about Finland, its systems and society, which is why they were the perfect way for us to start our Erasmus stay and many Lapland adventures.
"What are you doing in complete darkness in the middle of nowhere?" is probably one of the questions we were asked most from home. In fact, we also expected to live in darkness a lot. Yes - it is a lot of darkness in the beginning, but it is not the kind of darkness we know from home. The sky here in the north presents itself in the most beautiful colours and let us live in a continuous mood of sunrise and sunset at the beginning. When the reds, pinks and oranges slowly disappear, the sky turns a beautiful blue with all its constellations - and of course the Northern Lights.
Chasing the Northern Lights is probably one of the activities we do most here. Can you get enough of them? No. Although we have the luxury of being able to watch the Northern Lights from our windows, we enjoy many evenings around a campfire or in a dark setting by a lake with other students to encounter the Northern Lights. By now it is mid-May and the Northern Lights season is over - not because the Northern Lights no longer appear, but because the night no longer appears. From 5 hours of brightness at the beginning, we are now at about 20 hours of brightness and approaching the next phenomenon: the midnight sun. We have finished our courses and are now enjoying the warmer temperatures of Finland (15°C) in May and exploring the far north before returning to the MCI with many great experiences and adventures.
MCI tourism students Katrin, Elisabeth and Dana in Rovaniemi. Photo: Schwarzmann
Searching for northern lights. Photo: Schwarzmann
MCI tourism students Katrin and Elisabeth on the road with the reindeer sleigh. Photo: Schwarzmann
Warm up by the campfire under the northern lights. Photo: Schwarzmann
MCI tourism students Katrin and Elisabeth with their fellow Espoo students. Photo: Schwarzmann