- Tell your name, home country and reason why you chose to come to Finland.
C: Constancia Jacintho Milone Silva. Brazil. I did not know much about finland, only that it was cold, I chose because it was my best option.
A: I’m Aldo Filho from Brazil and I chose Finland because of the huge differences in the culture and in the environment.
- Did you have any expectations of this year before you came? Have they changed?
C: I thought it was going to be a year of party, surrounded by people. I was disappointed at the beginning, but everything turned out to be way better than what I expected.
A: I thought that it was going to be hard because of the weather and how to deal with Finns, and it wasn’t that hard, you get used to the weather and it just take some time to have a good friendship.
- How would you summarise your experience in Finland so far?
C: Different from my life at home in every way but yet the best months of my life.
A: Most of the time I learned how to deal with a different culture and I traveled a lot around Finland to discover the country.
- What are the things you will remember from this year in ten years?
C: The (terrible but good) winter, the nature, the hours without sun and the hours with too much sun. Going to sauna. Having to always wear a coat. The people that I have met, the school, Wanhat, having to take my shoes off. Pulla. I hope I don’t forget anything because my life in finland was amazing.
A: That I saw how can be a little hard to get along with people, but when you do it’s a relationship for life.
- What have been the most shocking culture differences?
C: In the beginning everything was a shock but nowadays the only thing that i still think it is weird, sometimes, is the silence. Finns should talk more.
A: In my country we always hug and sometimes kiss when we meet someone new, but here is a little different.
- What are your favourite words in Finnish?
C: inä, no niin, (the bad words), mitä, odota hetki. Actually, I like all the words I know. Finnish is hard, but it is beautiful.
A: No niin :).
- Are you going to return to Finland some day?
C: I really hope so. Helsinki is awesome. I do not know about Kauhajoki. But I hope I come back someday.
A: Yes! And I guess in the summer.
- What are your plans for the remaining exchange time?
C: Have the time of my life, enjoy the things and people that only Finland can offer me.
A: I don’t have much time, so I will go out more with my friends.
- Has time in Finland changed you, how?
C: The real question is: what hasn’t this time changed me? I have grown as person in ways that I could never if I had stay in Brazil. I have learned to respect and understand different people and their ways of life. I have become more patient and more reasonable. I have learned to be more quiet and to sometimes enjoy being in silence. I have changed so much that it is hard to tell how I was before coming here.
A: Yes, I got more serious and realistic, but in a good way.
- Tell us some story from your exchange year.
C: There was this one time, the first time we had sports class, my second week in Finland, and we were playing soccer and guess what, me, the brazilian, sucks at soccer. (I actually sucks at sports in general). But we were playing, and I was trying to be out of the ball’s way, but it found my way to me, and I passed to someone and this person scored. I was ready to celebrate the goal, my arms were up, I clapped, but I was the only one like that, everybody just continued playing like nothing happened. It was my first real cultural shock. I realized then that I was not in Brazil anymore and that in Finland people do not celebrate things like that.
A: In the middle of the exchange year a person hugged me and I thought it was weird, so I realized that I was becoming a Finn.
- Do you have any tips for someone who would like to experience exchange year abroad?
C: JUST DO IT!!!!! Go for it, it is scary as hell, but go, you will not regret it. There are things that we can only experience when we are out of our comfort zone. And these things tend to be amazing.
A: Don’t matter what kind and how difficult your situation is in the exchange year, with the time this will go away and you gonna enjoy a lot.