Johannes aus Deutschland sagt Hallo!

I’m Johannes, I’m sixteen years old and I’m from Germany.

I live in a small city in the north of Germany where I have three siblings and all of them are older than me.

Before I came here as an exchange student I visited Finland once because we had a Finnish exchange student in our family in 2011/12 and we visited him and his family in the summer of 2013. We drove around in the country, visited some cities and saw the beautiful landscape of Finland.

This is also one of the reasons I chose Finland as the country I want to do my exchange year in because it was a great experience and very impressive. Another reason I wanted to come to Finland was that I wanted to experience a winter with a higher chance of having snow and ice than in Germany.

I think the biggest differences between Germany and Finland lay in the education. Here in Finland, the school is much more modern than in Germany. We are not using any computers in most of the German schools and I didn’t even hear about things like Google Classroom or Kahoot! before I came here. The relations between students and teachers is also very different in Germany. We have to talk to the teachers as if they were at least two steps above the students and here it’s more like a friendly relation.

Another big difference is the system with the “Jaksot”. In Germany, we have to semesters and the exams are across these semesters and not all at the same time. We also have about 10 to 13 different subjects in the same week, but most

of them just once a week. Until the 11th grade, which resembles the first year in Finland, we study in classes, in the 12th and 13th grade, we have courses like the ones in the lukio.

johannes kuva

Me and my German class. After passing the exam Astrid (down left) treated everybody to some Sachertorte from Vienna.


The Finnish culture is not too different from the German one but, of course, there are some differences. There is the prejudice that all Finns are very shy, which I can’t really support, but I think Finnish people are still a bit shyer than the average German.

The language is another topic I want to write about. I think learning a new language is always a difficult thing but it’s much easier if you are in a country where all people are talking this language all the time and you have no choice but listening to it and trying to understand what the person is saying. That’s why I think that it is easier to learn Finnish than I expected. There are some Finnish words which are, for me, a bit better than others because they are funnier or easier to learn or just sound really nice.

Some examples of this are the word “kysymys” (auf Deutsch die Frage) which just sounds really balanced and nice or even such small words as “joo” (in German Ja or Sicher) because it’s just simple and nice.

I think my favorite experiences here in Finland were finding new friends and the beginning of the year when we arrived in Finland and I met all the other exchange students and we formed new friendships really fast.

I am very happy here and I think it was a good decision to go on exchange. Of course, it’s not always easy, sometimes you are homesick and miss your family or friends or you have other problems but there is always somebody who can help you so I think in the end, at least for most of the people who chose to go on exchange, it is definitely worth it.

If you think an exchange year is interesting and you would want to do it too, you could inform yourself on YFU is the non-profit organization I used to come here. From Finland, you can go to more than 30 different countries on all continents. There are different, very good organizations as well but I think YFU is a very good choice.



R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Erasmus+ meeting in Kato Achaia, Greece in May 2018


Kreikka ryhmäkuva opet

The final meeting of our two-year Erasmus+ KA2 project R.E.S.P.E.C.T. was held in the town of Kato Achaia,  Peloponnesos, Greece, from 1 to 6 May. All the teachers from Iceland, Germany, Poland, Gran Canaria and we Finns stayed in the nearby bigger city Patras and the Greek hosts drove us to the school in Kato Achaia in their cars (early) in the morning.


A view from the castle hill in Patras


King George square in Patras

On our first day we were welcomed by the two deputy mayors of Kato Achaia. Then we headed to a primary school where the school’s choir performed us a few songs. The singing was excellent and the choir had also been abroad and taken part in competitions.






The choir at the primary school in Kato Achaia

We had our meeting in our partner school, Geniko Lykeio Kato Achaias, which is a public senior high school. The school had a nice atmosphere and the students were very welcoming to us. And a fact that caught my eye was that all the floors in the school were made of marble as it is the common rock in Greece.


The parents of the Greek students taking part in the project had prepared us a feast of Greek homemade food. The school does not serve lunch as students and teachers go home to have lunch after school.


The next day after the meeting the students performed us Greek dances and in the end we teachers also danced with them (no pictures here).

IMG_0249IMG_0268 (1)

The last day of our stay was spent visiting the archaelogical sight in Mycenae and the beautiful town of Nafplion and the citadel up in the mountain.  The visit was a success and we had a great time in Greece together, thanks to our hospitable hosts and other partners! And since we would like to go on working together, plans for a new project are already under way.

Kopio_ WP_20180505_009WP_20180505_007WP_20180505_002IMG_0525

Erasmus+ KA2 R.E.S.P.E.C.T. meeting in Valsequillo, Gran Canaria in March 2018



Arrival at Las Palmas airport. From left: Noora, Delina, Ria, Pinja, Nana and Roni


Tuesday 27 February by Roni Ritarsola


The trip started rough, waking up at 6am, 6 hour flight with no breakfast, but I was excited to arrive in Gran Canaria. I can’t lie I was a little bit nervous as well. We met up with our families and the first thing I noticed was that the greetings are way different here. In Finland there are no kisses. I met my family’s mother, daughter and uncle. The dad was at work. The uncle took us to Valsequillo, the place we were staying at. It was a cute little village, which was a good change from Finland. We ate and then I met Maria’s (the family’s daughter) best friend, who is also named Maria. We hang out and I got to know them really well, for the first time meeting. Then we went to a  park where we met everybody else from the other countries. I did expect that there were going to be people that I wouldn’t like, but I was wrong. Everybody was really friendly and nice. I was pleasantly surprised. I talked with everybody about their countries, languages and backrounds. I am hoping that they liked me, too. After that everybody went to their homes. I ate and went to sleep. But I knew that this was a start of a great trip.


Wednesday 28 February by Noora Rämö



Today we were supposed to have a school day but because of a strong wind it was cancelled. I had a peaceful morning with my host family. At 11 a.m. we met people of the project at a Canarian girl’s house. Later in the day we went to Las Palmas with my host family. We had a beautiful walk at the sunny beach. I tasted a dessert called crepe, it was delicious. We also ate Canarian traditional food called ”potato omelet” and went on a pizza restaurant this day. All the food has been really good here this far. I went to the english academy of my host sister and I loved it! We were talking today about Finland’s education system and government. Everyone were asking me questions about Finland. At that moment I was really thankful to Maria for keeping us civics lessons in English! 🙂 at the end of the day we went to my host sister’s grandmom’s house where I met their relatives.

Living in a Canarian family has already taught me a lot about Canarian traditions and culture. When I hear them speaking Spanish, I would like to speak it better myself to communicate with the local people and my host parents and their relatives. In here it feels like English is my native language. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the country, people and traditions!


Thursday 1 March by Ria Saha


I.E.S. Valsequillo


Today we went to the school and started to do our Erasmus project. It went pretty well, because everyone got to do something with their groups. We had also big break  and we took a little tour in the town. The view was so beautiful and everyone was taking pictures. The weather was so perfect, it was sunny and a bit windy and everybody was enjoying that. In the evening we went to las Palmas city, and we did also little shopping there. Near the shopping centre was a huge beach, where everybody was enjoying the environment.

I felt that the day started very well, and everyone got on well with each other. My group was so nice to me and to everyone else. I was able to say my opinion about our project, and what we should add.

In the evening I saw the most beautiful sunset ever in my life and I took so many pictures of that with my new friends. I loved the day as it was.



Friday 2 March by Pinja Stålhammar


Today on Friday we had a second school day. We finished our projects; filmed videos and made the rest of our PowerPoint-presentations. During the schoolday we also had a little walk to mountains, it was very beautiful. Rest of the time we just hang out and played some ping-pong. At the end of the school day we presented our projects. There were also a few amazing dances and singing performances by some students.
The afternoon I spent with my host family. After school me and Vicky went home and ate pizza and just talked and chilled for a while. We also had a walk with Vicky’s dogs. Around five o’clock, when Vicky’s parents got home, we were supposed to go to some place in the mountains where is very nice view. But unfortunately when we were driving there, we noticed that it was so foggy that we couldn’t see anything so we turned back to the village. But views what I saw from the car were beautiful. After that we went to a cute little cafeteria and walked around the village. Then we drove to Las Palmas. There we looked at some sights and all that kind of things. For example we visited in Las Canteras beach, which is three kilometres long. We didn’t swim because it was already evening, but we took a lot of pictures. After we came back to Valsequillo me and Vicky went to see our friends from the project. We had a very nice evening, we danced, talked and ate. When we got home it was about half past one am. It was very nice day, like all other days too in Gran Canaria. I have really enjoyed this trip.
The first time when I heard about this project I was like I have to get in that project and I haven’t regretted it at all. I loved meeting new people from different countries and making new friends. I also loved the culture of Gran Canaria, how everyone was so much more sociable than in Finland. I also liked the beautiful nature of the island and of course I enjoyed the warm weather very much. I can’t say anything else but it was such a great week!



Saturday 3 March by Nana Yeboa-Mensa

My day started with a breakfast with the family I was living with. First we went to a beach in Mogan. It was my homestays favourite beach in the world, that what she said. After that we went to another beach called Maspalomas where we met some of the other groups. While we were there we went to watch the dunes and some swam. We were there about four hours or more. After that we went back “home” to have dinner. We stayed inside for an hour then we met with the others and went to Telde to watch the carnival, where people were dressed as different characters, animals and opposite genders. After that we went back to Valsequillo to buy some pizza and went to the park to eat with almost everyone. There we ate, listened to music and said goodbye to everyone who were there. And we ended the day by going to sleep.




Sunday 4 March by Delina Yonas Fissehaie


A fairwell with all the Finnish students and their host families and teacher Laura Tilsa

I woke up in the morning at 5:45 feeling so grateful and sad. I am so grateful and honored to be in this project. And I’m sad, because I will miss everyone from Gran Canaria, especially my host family who made sure that this week would be the best week for me.

I met so many interesting people, that were so nice to us.
When we were in the airplane going to Gran Canaria we talked with an air steward, his name is Jani, just like in our Spanish book.
We tried talking Spanish with him by saying all the words that we had learned in Spanish class. He actually liked us, as we liked him too. And when I asked him if i can buy a water that cost 3€, he told me to wait a minute and went to get me,Ria and Noora waters. When I tried to give him money, he said no and he touched my shoulder and smiled kindly as he gave the waters to us for free.
It happened twice that we got free water when we tried talking Spanish and our teacher got a free coffee, for the same reason. The people were the best part in this whole trip.

We had to be at 07:00 o’clock at the airport. We took one more time pictures with everyone and at that time we realized that it is time to say goodbye. It was so hard to say goodbye, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to see each other anymore, or I hope so.

I learned a lot during this project, especially while doing the project. I was so happy that my group’s project was about Kiva- method that we use in our school in Finland. And I was the expert one in that group. I learned a lot and had so much fun.

We arrived in Denmark at 15:00 o’clock, because our transit was in Denmark.
Our teachers had promised to take us somewhere to eat, and they did that. We went to a restaurant.
After eating we talked and played all together. And after the best school trip, it was time to go home.
We had so much fun in such a short time, and we also met a lot of people who became our friends.

I also believe that I learned more Spanish during this trip.





Emilia and Kamilla’s Diary of the Erasmus+ R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Meeting in Wörth, Germany





Day one, Wednesday;

 We arrived in Rettenbach around two or three o’clock. Our host families picked us up. I had freetime for a little while and then me and Sophia walked to the other village to meet up with Luisia and Emmi. After that we went to Luisia’s house and hanged around there for a while. Then her mother drove us to Sophia’s house and we ate dinner there. In the evening we went to a workout gym.

 Day two, Thursday;

My alarm went at 5:30 am and we left for school at 7 am. Müesli,  yogurt and tea for breakfast. We went to school by a school bus. It took about 20 minutes. At school we played all types of  ”get to know each other- games”, with all the other students from Iceland, Spain, Greece and Poland and Germany. It was quite a long schoolday, from 8 am to 4 pm. The rest of the day we sat in a technology class doing the project. Well, we kind of just sat around and chatted with each other because the kids from Spain in my group said that they’ll do the project in Gran Canaria.

In the evening we went to a welcoming party. All the German kids’ parents had prepared really delicious food.




 Day three, Friday;

We left for school at the same time as the day before and went to the same class. We saw all the students presenting their presentations about their home countries. At 11 am we went to Regensburg for a field trip by bus. It was a little town where we had two hours of freetime to walk around. It was a rainy and cold day.

 Day four, Saturday;

This was our only ”day off” during the trip. I woke up at 8 am and ate breakfast. Then me, Sophia and Elias went out for a walk to an open field to see deers. At 2 pm me and the whole family left for ice-skating. All the other exchange students were there too. We were there for a few hours and then we were split into two groups. After that we walked to a nearby town where we had applestrudel and hot chocolate.



11.11 Saturday.
We drove to Nürnberg with Luisia, Svenja and Birgitta.  We went shopping and ate at a local restaurant. Later we went to a trampoline park.

13.11 Monday.
Today we have school. We rode to school with the bus. Today we finished the presentations for the projects and gave  presentations about the countries. Later in the evening we went to skittle with all the people as a farewell party and said goodbye to all the people from the other countries since we were the only people who stayed there till Wednesday.

14.11 Tuesday
Today we went back to Regensburg to do some shopping and we also ate sushi at a buffet.

15.11 Wednesday
Today we had to say goodbye to our families and we headed off to Munich with a train and a bus. We did our last bit of shopping there and we flew back to Finland.




Because we´re Wörth it! Erasmus+ KA2 R.E.S.P.E.C.T. in Wörth an der Donau, Germany, 8.-15.11.2017




8.11. Two teachers, Jaana and Katri, and two students, Emilia and Kamilla from the 9th grade ready to go! Wednesday was a travelling day so after a flight to Munich we took a bus to Freising, a train from Freising to Regensburg and finally a bus to Wörth. Families took the girls and took care of them and we teachers settled in Gasthaus Butz. Students and teachers from Finland, Iceland, Germany, Poland, Greece and Spain getting ready to work together for almost a week!

9.11. First meeting at Mittelschule Wörth at 8.30. Info about the project, a tour in a school, welcome meeting in the school Hall by the Headmaster and working on a project.

In the afternoon meeting at Mayor`s Hall by mayor Anton Rothfischer and an EU- representative Arne Gericke. Next day there was a report on a local newspaper about the meeting and we got the copies of the magazine. Later a walk through the old town and a visit in an old castle. Castle is nowadays a retirement home for senior citizens.What a great place to spend your golden years! In the evening a welcoming party arranged by the parents. Great food and company!


10.11. We were introduced a project where qualified pupils work as mediators solving fights etc. between other pupils. After that a visit to Karin´s transition class and meeting great youngsters for instance from Iraq, Syria, Romania, Vietnam and Ethiopia.

Then again to a car and to Regensburg to vist Lernwerkstatt where there´s a project that helps young people who avoid school, get an education and profession.

Lunch at Kneitinger which is a traditional Bavarian restaurant and a guided tour through the city of Regensburg. Visit to St. Peter´s Cathedral and a lot of historical information!


11.11. Freetime! So we took a bus to Regensburg and did some heavy shopping ( well, some of us…) Lunch together enjoying Bratwurst und Sauerkraut! And because it was 11.11. at 11, there was a big parade starting the Christmas season and remembering those who died during the World War.



12.11. Early in the morning a bustrip to an old mediaval Schloss Prunn with the students and a visit to Kuchlbauer brewery and a tour in a famous architect Hundertwassens House. In the evening a dinner at Jagerwirt in Aumbach, a traditional Bavarian restaurant.

13.11. In the morning at school a demonstration by socialworker Claudia and team about SOR, school without racism and after that a report about German and Bavarian schoolsystem which is quite different depenging where in Germany you live. Also evaluation and planning the project and checking that everything is on schedule especially for next meeting in Canaria on February. Students worked in three different groups ( games, art, cooking etc.) and in the afternoon we all cathered together to hear which teams won the trophies. Team Finland won but unfortunately there were no Finnish students in that group…

In the evening we all met at Gasthaus Geier where we played Skittles, a local game a bit like bowling. We had so much fun and the evening ended with farewells, hugs and kisses because next day it was time to go back home, except team Finland, who stayed one more day before leaving.





An interview with our Erasmus+ R.E.S.P.E.C.T. teacher guests


The second year of our Erasmus+ KA2 project R.E.S.P.E.C.T. has started with a meeting held in Helsingin Uusi yhteiskoulu, Finland in mid-September. Among hard work and the planning of this year’s activities we wanted to ask our international guests a few questions.

Team Gran Canaria Spain, Arabela & Carmen



What makes you do these international projects?

Our project coordinator, Carmen: “Because I am a masochist! It is a lot of work, but I do it because of the impact these projects have on people on all levels, because of the contacts between colleagues and personal growth. We are a good team!”

What were your first impressions about Helsinki and Finland?

Arabela: “Helsinki reminds me of Berlin, it is modern, peaceful and quiet, people are friendly. And it not as cold as I expected.” ( I must say, even the weather improved with the arrival of our guests.)

Favourite sight? Carmen and Arabela: “Porvoo! We could move here.”

Team Germany, Klaus & Franz


What would you take from Finland to your country and vice-versa?

Franz and Klaus: “I would take your school system. You don’t divide pupils as early as we do in Germany but teach everybody the same. Everything is modern and efficient here, you can pay everywhere with credit card and everybody speaks English.”

Franz: “I would give you our cheaper prices!”

Team Poland, Ewa & Barbara


Your first impressions of Finland and Finns?

Ewa and Barbara: “Beautiful airport, music at the airport train station, it is quiet everywhere.” “Finnish people are calm and speak with a quiet voice. The school is modern and well organised, all tools and equipment are good.

Favourite sight? Not able to decide 🙂  (Porvoo?)

Team Iceland, Rima and Victoria


Rima has spent eight months in Joensuu during her studies, and naturally she loves Finland. “Amazing country, friendly and orderly people.”

Favourite place? Allas sea pool and sauna.

Victoria is a Swede living in Vik, Iceland. Her first impression of Finland was, “This is like Sweden, my home! I miss home.” “I like your school food, it is healthy.”

Team Greece, Emilia and Vassilios


Emilia and Vassili: ” Finland is a green country, excellent airport, good transportation, roads are wide, great infrastructure and a friendly atmosphere in the school.”

Did you learn any Finnish during your stay?

Emilia: “TULOSTA”

Your favourite place during the visit?

Emilia: “Your school. I like your school.”

Vassili: “We love your country!”

Aaw, we love you too! (Team Finland)

Our trip to Poland

Three students from HUYK made a one-week trip to Birzca, Poland in March. The trip was part of our school’s Erasmus+ project called R.E.S.P.E.C.T. In addition to us there were teachers and pupils from Germany, Iceland, Greece and Spain.

During the visit we experienced all kinds of things from frying sausages around a camp fire to exploring the city of Krakow. We also rehearsed and performed a play together in a school talent show.

By Venla    (translation by E.R.)


The teachers had decided the pupils would perform a play together. The theme of the play was bullying and its consequences, which was also the theme of our project. At least one pupil from each country took part in the performance, and from Team Finland we had Ly and I.

We only had 30 minutes time to rehearse with the teacher and after that some two hours among ourselves. We had to speak English and work with almost total strangers. On the day of the talent show almost all the actors arrived late so we had no time for a dress rehearsal!

However, the performance was a success for everybody and I was very proud of Ly and myself. Many people in the audience started to cry. Right after the show we went for a hike in the forest.

By Tia   (translation by E.R.)


As a school trip abroad, we and other students from other countries felt a bit nervous and curious along the way to Poland. But after we left our first footprints on this Birzca land, and were welcomed to the Polish families, everything turned to a very interesting way. I could see that Polish people are maybe friendlier at first sight than Finns when every host came and gave us kisses on both cheeks. Polish are also very sociable and kind. We were treated extremely well and we were offered many Polish delicious traditional dishes. We joined the play, always tried to get to know more about others, we also visited national forest and 4 cities in just 5 days. But every single moment, since we started our journey, we found a feeling, named excited. This journey gave us many memories but also challenges, led us to learn new things, to get new friends and to enjoy our youth.

By Ly



HUYK visit to Poland 19th–24th of March

Early in the morning on Sunday 19th March our team met at Helsinki–Vantaa airport in order to start a six-day visit to Publiczne Gimnazjum Nr 1 wBircy in the town of Birzca in the southeast of Poland. The team, which was later known as the Finnish team, consisted of three students,  Ly, Tia and Venla, and two teachers, Tuukka and Johanna. After a very early wake up we were ready to start the adventure!

The plane took off 6 a.m. to Münich, Germany, where we had a transit – and a nice organic breakfast. After three hours we had another flight to the Polish town of Rzeszow. The German team took the same flight with us, along with several Orthodox Jew pilgrims on their way to Poland. When the plane landed we had our first glimpse of Poland which was windy yet on the verge of spring. After a few hours’ wait the Icelandic team joined us and we started the last leg of the journey by bus to Birzca.


In Birzca we were greeted by the Polish families who hosted the international students. Ly and Venla knew already their hosts a little thanks to the communication possibilities of modern technology. When the students left to join the rest of their Polish families the teachers could unpack and get to know the other international teachers. However, we were still two teams short since the Greeks and the Spaniards from Gran Canaria arrived late after midnight.

Monday 20th: activities in Bircza, teachers visiting Przemysl
On Monday morning every visitor had arrived and the day started in Forest Education Center of Bircza. There the students participated in team-building and were interviewed by Rzeszow radio channel. Team Finland was represented by Ly and her words were translated into English by Johanna – after the report figured out which one was the student and which one the teacher.

After a soup lunch most of the students left to practice a play that was written and directed by miss Tamara of the Polish team. The premiere of the play was already the next day so the group had a big task in their hands. While the others were practicing, the rest of the students stayed in the Forest Education Center and learned about Polish forests.


For the teachers the Polish team had arranged a meeting with local authorities. While having a cup of coffee the teachers were given the chance to ask about the Polish education system and its latest reform. The change in Polish schools has been a big one and it has taken place very fast, which causes a little uncertainty about the teachers’ future.

In the evening the teachers visited Krasiczyn castle and the town of Przemysl. The students enjoyed a free evening with pizza and international friends.

Tuesday 21st: premiere of the play, trekking, barbeque-evening
The morning started with more official activities: all the teachers had a project meeting at the school and students were working with a psychologist on anti-bullying and anti-violence posters.


Around mid-day it was time to go and see the famous play! The first day of spring is traditionally celebrated by students’ talent show and we were happy to take part in it this way. After only a few hours of rehearsing the Erasmus-students gave a powerful performance against bullying. The whole school was applauding and cheering for them. We also enjoyed a German student playing a trumpet, a student-made fashion show and very retro singing performance by two ex-students of the school.

Then it was already time to keep moving and we headed to Bircza forest for trekking. The forest was quite familiar looking for Finns and the German team who came from Bavaria. However, tall trees and green undergrowth was a new experience for teams from Iceland, Greece and Gran Canaria. At the end of the trekking path there was a famous fountain that is supposed to have healing powers. Unfortunately the water level was so low that we weren’t able to test it for real.


The evening was spent in another forest area around a camp fire. The whole Erasmus team, the Polish parents and forest authorities spent time together barbequing, playing guitar and singing. After the teachers left for dinner, the students kept on having a good time as the stars were coming out.


Wednesday 22nd: a trip to Przelmys
A whole day trip to Przelmys began on top of a hill that used to be part of a fortress. During the First World War this fortress, along with several others in the Przelmys area, protected not just the town itself but also the rest of the Europe from invaders from the east. Nowadays there are no buildings left anymore but the hill itself was quite impressive.


There is also a castle in Przelmys and we visited it, too. The town of Przelmys was built around this Medieval castle and later spread further and further. The two churches that used to fit inside the walls of the castle have been rebuilt in the town and we had the chance to visit also them. After that it was time to visit the Museum for Bells and Tobacco Pipes that, coincidentally, was originally built to be the bell tower of the other church but ended up alone when the place of the church was changed yet again.


After walking around in Przelmys for a few hours the students were given free time to explore the town and have lunch. The teachers decided to have lunch in a nice restaurant they had found Monday evening. Unfortunately the food was brought to table very slowly so most of the teachers missed the scheduled meeting time with students. While “lunch-group” was still eating, the Polish and Greek teachers took the students to a shopping mall. Eventually the lunch was finished and paid for and the lunch group met with their students and the whole Erasmus team started heading back to Birzca.

On the way we made a small detour to a pompous hotel complex in Arlamow. This four-star hotel had for example a spa, a golf course, a ski center and a sports center with a tennis-court, a climbing wall, an indoors horse-riding arena and a shooting range. Practically everybody thought that the next Erasmus meeting Poland arranges should take place there. All inclusive.


This was the last day when everybody was still together. In the evening we bid farewell to team Iceland and team Germany who were leaving the next morning.

Thursday 23rd: exploring Krakow
When we woke up 4.30 a.m. we envied the Germans who had rented a car so that they could go to the airport later. All the others escorted team Iceland to Rzeszow airport and then continued to Krakow. On the road we had a second breakfast in McDonalds and were trying to get some sleep – or to have a big party on the bus depending on the nationality.

Four hours’ drive to Krakow ended quite near the Wawel castle where we admired the castle itself and the courtyard and church that were inside its walls.


The next steps took us around the castle and we encountered a metallic statue of a dragon. While we were busy taking photos we didn’t pay that much attention to the statue, really, and Venla freaked out when it suddenly started to breathe fire. We learned an important lesson there: never turn your back to a dragon even when it’s not alive.


The next stop was Jagiellonian University after which we visited a lovely market square that actually had a roof on it. Next to the market square there was a tall church called Kosciol Mariacki (St. Mary’s Basilica) we visited briefly. While waiting for the other teams we heard a trumpet playing and when we looked up we saw a man in one of the churches towers. When he had finished his piece of music he waved to people on the square and went to another window in the same tower. Miss Barbara of the Polish team told us that the man plays to all the four winds and this tradition is very old.


Then we had a couple of hours both in that marketplace and in the shopping center next to the railway station. When all the students had shown up at the meeting point we got on our bus and started the four-hour journey back to Birzca. The last evening was spent packing and going to bed early.

Friday 24th: journey back to Finland
Wake up 4.30 a.m. again and off we went to Rzeszow. The Greeks and Spaniards took an early flight to Warsaw and we were waiting at the airport until it was time to check in. We didn’t need that many tissues since tears were quite few. However, we felt the days in Poland had been great and we really enjoyed our experience there.

Thank you teams Germany, Greece and Gran Canaria and a special thanks to our Polish team – students, teachers and families alike! We hope we’ll be seeing you soon!

On behalf of the Finnish team: Johanna (the text) & Tuukka (the photos)

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. logo contest


The jury had a difficult task picking up the best six logos for the final poll.


It’s not easy to design a logo. You have to simplify your idea to a most efficient form. You have to think about the values and the message behind each line, shape and colour. You also have to be creative and stand out with your idea from the myriad logos out there.

With a group of 8th and 9th graders we took the challenge. Students had a limited time to design the logo for the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. project. First we discussed briefly about the basic idea and the values behind the project and then we started. After one hour of hard work and creativity we had 30 marvellous proposals. Some students even made two.

Our prestigious jury had a difficult task to choose the best ones. Many good proposals had to be left out. The jury gave much value to the idea, clarity and the visual layout and finally picked out six logos for the final poll.

Then we arranged a massive poll for all the students in the upper comprehensive school. We got 103 votes during one break and the competition was even. This time the winner was Emma Määttä (9DK) with 34 votes. Her proposal was visually interesting, the idea clear and skillfully drawn. Thank you for all the designers and voters. You’re great!



Winner of the logo contest: Emma Määttä