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Experiencing Winter in the North

Ramona – Exchange to Lapland University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Semester 2, 2016

The last month or so has been continually busy and full of even more first times here in Lapland UAS, Finland. For the first time in my life I was able to experience snow, walking on a frozen river, minus 18 degrees and falling down on the slippery paths on multiple occasions. I’m full of bruises and spend a good 5 extra minutes putting on extra layers in the morning, but that’s the experience here in Lapland, and it was the different and unique experience I was really looking for.

Snow Ramona ChachulaThe excitement I had experiencing snow, I couldn’t help but run outside, make a snowball, a tiny snowman and of course… write my name in the snow.Snow Ramona Chachula 3 I felt like I was a child again and everyone’s camera was on me because of course… Finnish people live in snow for more than half a year, so my reaction was quite surprising to them.
Riding my bike to school also got more difficult – but exciting. As the snow got thicker and the air got colder, I always found myself covered in snow and my hair completely white by the time I arrived to school with my bike.

Another quite northern experience was my Study Tour trip to Tromso, Norway. And it was beautiful. On the way we stopped at an Amethyst mine where we were able to mine and keep out own Amethyst as long as we can fit it in the palm of our hands. I took way too many photos of the beautiful snow and frozen lakes that weren’t like anything I’ve seen before. We stayed in cottages and took a cable car to see a view of the whole city by the sea. I was also able to eat in the most Northern Burger King in the world – which in my eyes is a pretty cool accomplishment I can brag about to my friends back at home.
Snow Ramona Chachula 4The way back we stopped at a waterfall called Rovijokfossen and the hike down to it was quite gruesome. As an Aussie who hasn’t really experienced an Icey floor, I didn’t have the best shoes. I was sure that I would fall down in the steep slopes, and hearing that 2 tourists had gone missing or had died by the waterfall didn’t boost my confidence. LUCKILY, I made it down safe. I touched the ice and took some great selfies. I also stood on the ice, considering more than half the waterfall was frozen. It was still quite a view and definitely one that I would never forget.

Arriving home back in Finland was relieving since the trip felt long and there was a lot of excitement throughout the whole thing. Finland is feeling a lot more like home to me, and I’m always relieved to collapse onto my bed after a long bus ride or trip from another new and exciting country/place/experience.ramona chachula

Right now I’m enjoying the cold and the snow, it gets dark quite early but the snow makes everything seem so much brighter. I definitely know when I get back home, I won’t complain about the cold weather again (maybe).