It’s Ruqayyah, one of the five Canadians from the 2022 Exchange. I am writing this still in Helsinki, and the only Canadian still here for the time being. The past 3 months have felt like a dream, just enjoying the Finnish summer weather, nature, and Fazer chocolate of course. It’s hard to believe that the summer is almost over, it feels like just last week we were arriving in Helsinki to rainy May weather, getting our accommodations sorted, touring Kamppi (of course) and stocking up at Ikea.
Anyways, for the past three months I have been working at Swappie, a company aimed at reducing technological waste by refurbishing and reselling iPhones – their motto is “buy smart, not new.” It’s been an interesting time; I work in their repair department and fix up the phones before they get sent to customers all across Europe. I had no previous experience working in phone repair but have learned quite a lot and know that I will end up being my family’s tech support going forward :). Ironically, many of my coworkers are not Finnish, so I did not get to experience too much of the Finnish work culture, but they are wonderful and welcoming people, nonetheless.
The benefit of my early workdays at Swappie, 6am-2pm, is that I can take my afternoons and evenings to explore Helsinki when not working on my online summer courses (thank you OISE). My favourite place that I visited so far has been Suomenlinna and was just there this weekend. But other than that, some of my favourite places include the Haaga Rhododendron Park, which was stunning, the Nature Preserve that I stumbled upon in our neighbourhood of Koskela, and of course the entire road trip hosted by the Finns. Aside from Helsinki, I have been able to go back to Tampere and Hameenlinna, along with visiting Warsaw and Krakow in Poland, Tallinn in Estonia, and Kaunas and Vilnius in Lithuania on my weekends off thanks to good deals on flights.
Anyways this summer has been absolutely amazing, and I will miss Helsinki and the Canadians and Finns who made this summer so memorable. I am leaving next week and am going to make the most of my last week here. I am very grateful to Kalendonistit for this opportunity, and for this literal once in a lifetime opportunity. Kiitos paljon Suomi!