Towards the horizon

Ylä-Karjalassa harjoittelijana oleva Matthias Bellgardt kertoo arjestaan Suomessa. Matthias on Suomessa pääsiäiseen saakka Hyvärilän Horisontti-hankkeen kautta.



Time to say goodbye. After 9 weeks in Finland it is time to go back home. It’s gone by so fast, but the first week feels also like ages ago. There were so many new impressions. I will not forget, what I have experienced here. I’m not good at saying goodbye.

What conclusions can I draw?

First: I miss my own bed.

Second, it’s hard to be pushed out of your comfort zone and even harder if this means to go to a foreign country. But it’s also exciting and rewarding. I have experienced and learned many new things here. Unfortunately, my Finnish didn’t improve that much. There were good times and bad times. The good ones of course outweigh the bad ones. Now I regret, that I didn’t used the Erasmus program, while I was studying. I can’t say, how much this experience had changed me. I think, I can say that when I’m home and have some distance to process it.

Third, stereotypes about Finns may have some truth, but individually I don’t see them apply so much. I knew beforehand, that you should not rely too much on them. They are nevertheless in your mind. First, I expected for example, the people here are distant and silent. They were maybe a bit shy, but often also curious and open minded. Maybe I subverted some stereotypes about Germans too.

Before I go, I want to give some thanks to the people I met here:

Thank you, Sanna and Pyry, for the activities and Finnish lessons.

Thank you, Eila, for your talent in organisation.

Thank you, staff of Hyvärilä, for the accommodation and the food.

Thank you, Terho and Salla, for introducing me to the Finnish sauna culture.

Thank you, Aino, for your kindness. Even with the language barrier, I liked to talk with you.

Thank you, Anu, for letting me work here. I know I am bad at first impressions.

Thank you, Tuire, for encouraging me.

Thank you, Risto, for tutoring me. I’ll also never forget you asking me once:” Do you want to have a small talk?” A question I would have never expected from a Finn.

Thank you, Riitta, you made me feel welcome, when I had no idea how to behave here.

Thank you, all of the Ylä-Karjala team, for your help and the conversations at the coffee breaks.

Thank you, Matti and Panu, for being easy-going and letting me drive a car here.

I want to visit Finland again.





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