This exchange year has been a wild ride. After the first month I was just starting to get used to living in Klaukkala and going to school and then the COVID-19 situation really blew up. I only had 2 weeks straight of school because when I first got here to Klaukkala there was the exam week so I couldn’t go to school then, and after that we had Penkkarit and Wanhat, which I thought were really interesting traditions, and now all of my school courses are online through Google Meet. Everything is now cancelled, St Petersburg tour, Euro tour, Tallin trip, and everything the Rotexes had planned. All my exchange student friends at school have been sent home and with everything cancelled it’s unlikely I’ll meet all of the other rotary exchange students. These measures are crucial however, to fighting COVID-19 and if staying home is going to improve the world situation, then I will happily do so.
Regardless, my first month in Finland has been great, I’ve met so many wonderful people and experienced so many new things, like Finnish sauna, winter swimming, ice-skating, and seeing the snow. I’m so happy that I decided to go on exchange in Finland and I’m confident that these extreme measures are only temporary and everyone can back to their normal lives in a few months. This situation is bad for everyone and some people have it so much worse than I do so I consider myself pretty lucky in that sense.
What this year has taught me is that everything can change so quickly and to enjoy the little things, like meeting with friends and walking the dog so much more. This self-isolation period is a great time to self-reflect and spend more time studying, self-improving and really getting to know my host family.