Dionne during her internship in Finland!

Dionne left the Netherlands to go for a cold(!) adventure in Finland. "The temperatures were often around -20 degrees and at its worst even -31 degrees. And there you are then, used to the weather in the Netherlands." WOW!

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An internship abroad for 12 weeks in Vaasa, Finland. This was offered to me by school and I couldn’t be more happy to take it. Not knowing that even in a country such as Finland, you will realise that the Netherlands isn’t so bad after all. It started on my first day here, shopping for groceries quickly turned out to be quite the task. The supply is quite disappointing and the prices are ridiculously high. A yellow paprika costs about €6,99(!!!) and don’t expect to have much options/variations in the other departments.

Luckily, this helps to make you think creatively in coming up with dishes. Also, during my first internship day I was introduced to a Finish habit: having a warm lunch, which is being served quite early. Lunchtime here is around 11-12 o’clock. I’ve been here for five weeks now, and I still haven’t got used to this.

Other than that, I just so happened to arrive exactly in the middle of a cold time. During my first weeks, the temperatures were often around -20 degrees and at its worst even -31 degrees. And there you are then, used to the weather in the Netherlands. That’s why it is definitely recommendable to bring some thermo clothing for the winter in Finland. De coldest period has passed by now and the temperatures are rising again. Hopefully I get to witness that the Gulf of Bothnia melts and that the boats appear again.

Despite this there are, of course, also plenty of positive things to tell. My apartment, which I share with two other girls, is located near the Gulf of Bothnia. I can walk to the city center of Vaasa via the shoreline. The environment here is breathtaking and hence I love to walk this route. Since Finland has had very strong winters since 2011, it is even possible to drive over the Gulf by car. This was a very strange yet awesome experience. Vaasa itself is a cute little town with a nice square which is surrounded by many shops and pubs. The pubs here are also quite cozy and nice, I often go there to enjoy a glass of wine. You also cannot buy alcohol stronger than 5,5% in the supermarkets, for this you have to go to a state shop.

Here at my host company all things are also quite good, my guide is very sweet and the workload is quite fun. Right now, I’m mostly working on marketing tasks, in my very own office! Lunch is provided by my internship, which just so happens to be a school. It is also thanks to this, that I was able to build up some social contacts. It’s funny that most of the people that I hang around with actually speak Swedish, not Finish. Vaasa apparently has two official languages.

I’ll be here for seven more weeks and I'm planning to see and do quite a few more things. Soon I will be able to add Helsinki to the list of mayor cities I have visited. I am very much looking forward to visit and explore this city. There is also a two day event somewhere in mid-April. With this event I will be able to see more of Vaasa and all its surroundings. During my final internship weeks there are some more festivities, I am happy that I still get to experience this. A little cliché, but time really does fly. Even more reason to still enjoy every second of it.