Jari Lehvonen: Exchange Student from the Swedish School of Social Sciences at Helsinki University, FINLAND ( The land of Santa Claus!)
G'day Mate !
In January 2017 I departed, together with my wife Mia, the snowy and cold Finland for our ‘one year off from everything usual".
We arrived Sydney two weeks later to find the temperature rather scorching hot.
Really nice, actually. Shorts, ‘thongs’ (flip-flops!) and lots of sunscreen!
A short glance to my back ground probably reveals that I am not the ordinary exchange student.
In mid-May I will reach the noble age of 46 years. I have endured over 20 years of professional life in the capital of Finland, Helsinki. I have spent over four years advising senior police officers in Afghanistan, contributing to the development of their future police and judiciary. During my last assignment to Kabul I decided to enrol for university studies as a ‘mature age student’ , because I was eager to understand at least some of the powers and underlying reasons that inflict inequality and injustice in our global society. UTS is the perfect place to further my understanding and of course to experience the Sydney way of living and thinking.
So let’s talk about Sydney, Australia and UTS!
Sydney is very much a city, which accepts diversities and welcomes young people from everywhere. It is a bustling metropolis with so many different flavours and interesting ideas. Perhaps the reason is that Sydney, and the whole continent, is rather new place for us who have arrived from overseas and therefore is not too much burdened by obsolete traditions of judging, restricting and enforcing. Or perhaps the reason is the nice weather that light up the days. All 365 of them! (Don't forget your sunscreen)
The summers in Finland are somewhat shorter, after which a long winter forsakes the sun for up to six months; at least in the northern parts of the country. Well there are occasional ‘Northern Lights’ that amazes the sparse people who have endeavoured up there. Well, I have to admit, although the versatility of the weather in Finland is very nice, has the Sydney climate obviously something to do with my selection of exchange country.
Australia is similar to Finland. Here is a well-established and functioning society. A welfare-system is in place to support those who are misfortunate and/or unemployed. However, the use of words is slightly different. Let me explain. E.g. in Australia they have ‘penalty rates’ which imposes the employer to pay double salary on Sundays. This is an interesting choice of wording, which in my reckoning polarizes the two sides. In Finland is the worker also compensated when working on Sundays, but we call it ‘Sunday extra’, a wording that to my ear sounds more unbiased. Anyway, it is quite easy to catch up with Aussie English: "Ace!", "Avo", "Big Smoke", "Brekkie", "G'day Mate!" and so on.
UTS is situated in the smack centre of Sydney. Just walk a few blocks and you are in Chinatown, Darling Harbour. A few more blocks and you reach the Fish Market. I just love the fresh seafood!
I do not need to mention too much about the studies at UTS. It is just so good.
UTS has also additional features that I have to bring forward. Here is one;
The ActivateUTS has something to offer for all students! Great opportunity to activate yourself and meet other students.
I enrolled the UTS Squash club to have a run after the small black ball without colliding too often with my fellow players.
UTS: Communication and International Studies
FINLAND: Political Science studies at the Swedish School of Social Sciences (Helsinki University)