The Diary of a (Mature) Student Learning Disability Nurse Abroad: Week 3.

Greetings from Finland,

I am just sitting thinking about my time here, and realised that this is the longest period that I have ever been away from home; it really doesn’t feel like it though. I really love the way of life out here, and think that even when I get home I will still have ‘Finnish days’ where I go out, explore, eat salty liquorice (salmiakki) and drink strong coffee with my friends. I am actually now part Finnish, at least for anything that involves ice-hockey (my team is Karpat thanks to my friend Kalle!) or Eurovision. I don’t understand either, but hey, they are both easier to understand than Brexit!

Minä rakastan tätä maata ja rakastan suomalaisista. Olen löytää kieli vaikea kuitenkin ja todella toivon, että voisin sanoa enemmän sanoja kuin Hei, näkemiin, kiitos ja alushousut!

My Beautiful Finnish Haven.

Monday 25th

Monday morning sessions at the Asva are all about the upcoming week – what season it is, what the weather is like, if there is anything significant happening etc. It’s a really nice way of keeping track of the days, weeks and months – like an interactive calendar.

This session is followed by the world news, which I enjoy very much. The news programme is a specially recorded edition which uses simplified language and is delivered at a much slower pace, ideal for some of the students here at the Opisto. I was even given the opportunity to explain Brexit again, but as I mentioned earlier I would have found it easier to explain the rules of ice-hockey or the Eurovision voting system!

Minulla ei ole aavistustakaan mitä tapahtuu Brexit. Minusta on enemmän sekaannusta kuin jääkiekko ja Eurovision song contest!

Tuesday 26th

I spent this morning with Aire helping students to use water colours to paint Easter rabbits. The session was a really good one, and as is always the case here – the students are all involved to the extent that they are able. The standard of art really is amazing and everybody seems to really enjoy these creative sessions.

Rakastan miten luovia kaikki on. On maalauksia kaikkialla ja ne todellakin tekevät kaunis paikka.

The afternoon followed the same creative theme and we spent time helping to make papier-mâché Easter ornaments which will go on-sale at the Easter market along with the items of jewellery, cards and trinkets that are also created by the students here.

Wednesday 27th

Today we enjoyed making some things out of this crazy sticky polystyrene stuff. I’ve never seen anything like it before but it was surprisingly easy to use and much less messy than play-doh. It was also nice planting some peas to watch how they grow over the coming days and weeks. I think we are going to eat them too!

Thursday 28th

I had a really interesting day today – my first afternoon shift and my first shift over ‘Opisto side’.

First up, we had independent living skills which today involved preparing a meal. What I liked about this session was the fact that it encompassed the whole process rather than just the ‘cookery’ bit. The students prepared the food, they cooked the food, they cleaned the kitchen, they emptied the bins, washed their hands and then ate the food – it really was delicious. I also really enjoyed watching Tommi learning to cook, and loved the fact that he took photos of the ‘easy read’ instructions so he could replicate the meal at home to impress his girlfriend.

Rakastin cookery istunto, koska se osallistuu koko prosessin alusta loppuun. Olin myös tyytyväinen, ei tarvinnut pukeutua hiukset net – tiesin, että hiukseni leikata tulisi hyötyä yhdessä päivässä.

Hieman käytännössä Tommi toivoo tulla Suomen Gordon Ramsey.

After this session, the students who hadn’t cooked, had their dinner in the canteen. There was a choice of food and it all looked really good.

After this, there was a period of free time and all of the students had options of activities. We went to Karaoke and it was just lovely – there was a tuck shop, and people bought sweets, snacks and drinks and generally had a lovely time. There were no shortage of singers and people just sat around chatting, laughing and socialising. Luckily for everybody there, I didn’t put my name down to sing!

Onneksi kaikille, en toimittanut nimeni laulaa listalla!

Later in the evening Tommi and I visited various types of accommodation (ranging from high to low need) and assisted people to carry out their night time routines. What I liked about this was the vast range of accommodation and support provision. It seemed as though everyone was catered for by their own individual needs rather than being fit in to a category. It did for the first time give me a real feel for the size of the Opisto – it is huge!

Olen hyvin vaikuttunut, kuinka suuri Opisto on. se on valtava!

Friday 29th

The highlight of the day for me was representing England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 at the international floor-ball championship. Unfortunately we could only manage third place, after being well and truly beaten by Finland 🇫🇮 and Spain 🇪🇸. Never mind, as we English often say (after losing a major tournament) it’s the taking part that counts!

The students really loved this session – to be fair, I really enjoyed it too!

Olen edustanut salibandyn tänään. Tulimme viime Suomi voittaminen ja Espanja sijoittui toiseksi!

The Weekend!

Well, for the first time in three weeks I managed to find time to socialise. I’m so busy with essays and my dissertation, I have had to take a breath and spend some time with people and civilisation.

On Friday, Aire, who teaches art and English invited myself and the other international students and volunteers to dinner. It was amazing, and just what I needed. The food was fantastic, the company equally good and I had my first taste of wine for almost a month! The hospitality was fantastic and I am so glad I went, it was nice to meet her family and to talk about everything and anything over several glasses of wine. Myself and the other students have made plans for next week too 🙂

Anyway, that’s enough from me for now, but I’ll be back again next week with more ramblings and observations 😁

Minulla niin mukavaa täällä, minä rakastan Suomea ja olen niin kiitollinen ystävyys ja vieraanvaraisuus ihmiset ovat näyttäneet minulle – kiitos!


Ian 😁

N.B. All permissions have been granted from the individual’s for use of photography.

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2 thoughts on “The Diary of a (Mature) Student Learning Disability Nurse Abroad: Week 3.

  1. Loving your blogs ! so inspiring.


    1. Cheers Kev, thanks for all of the support!


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