What if I told you that last month I had a mixture of Mexican quesadillas, Pakistani and Indian food in one sitting? Was it good? Would I do it again?
The answer is yes, and definitely yes. The food was made in a gathering of friends from different countries and backgrounds. After eating we played music from our respective countries (and tastes) to share with each other.
Whenever someone here asks me to play some Mexican music, I always choose the traditional music genre of my state in México called “banda sinaloense”. I am not the biggest fan of it but I have to admit – you can have a blast dancing it at parties. So, it is nice to see people from all over the world listening to it and having a piece of my culture.
As an international student, being able to try and taste foods from different places is a great opportunity to learn more about other countries and to get a grip of their culture. Sometimes things that seem unmixable taste surprisingly good together. For example, in one of the gatherings at one of my Pakistani friends’ place we had chicken with some yogurt. Back in my place in México, I had never imagined that such kind of mix would taste so nice.
LUT is a university where different cultures converge and coexist. While walking through the halls of the university you can hear many languages being spoken in tandem. During classes I have taken part in some projects with multi-cultural groups and I can say it is really interesting to work with people from different backgrounds and working rhythms.
Since the beginning of my stay, my tutor group was comprised of people from Russia, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Mexico and Finland. The group got along really well and we became pals quickly. It was funny that the first thing that I said to my Indonesian friend was that I liked a movie from his country (The Raid Redemption, the only Indonesian film I have ever watched).
Parties are where you can really get a taste of how numerous different cultures can coexist and have a good time. The important matter is having fun. For some, getting drunk, for others, dancing or meeting new people. The student culture here helps this kind of integration, with parties (and sauna!) almost every week. We went to some parties together and then we got into the lake and almost froze (and it was the end of the summer so the temperature was ok at the time).
I was surprised by the student culture in Finland and how people wear overalls (each from every guild) to the social events. The badges sewed on the overalls tell the story of the user and the events he or she has gone to.
After seeing so many people wearing the overalls and their importance in the Finnish student culture I wanted to get mine as quick as possible. I became a member of Kaplaaki (the Industrial Engineering Guild, the one my master’s program is affiliated with) and waited for the overalls.
Well, now we are in April and the spring festivities are at hand. I have heard a lot of good stories about them and I am looking forward to participate. I finally have my overalls that I will proudly wear and if I have learned something from them is that I suck at sewing those badges.
The writer is a 2-year industrial engineering master’s student from Mexico, inspired by alcohol, movies and maybe too much coffee.