Smart Sustainable Cities FLIP – Turku, Finland

20180819_053312.jpgThis summer I travelled alongside a few other students from Centennial College to Turku, Finland for the Smart Sustainable Cities program arranged by Turku University of Applied Sciences. The program hosted 23 students not just from Canada and Finland, but from all over the world. The students here were also from multiple disciplines, including architectural, environmental, business and energy, collaborating together to combine a vast collective knowledge from these different places and disciplines to come up with ideas of how civilization will continue to evolve. The courses were very intensive, introducing professionals from different industries to educate and challenge our knowledge of what is and what could be. ssopiskelijat.jpg__678x300_q85_crop_subsampling-2_upscale.jpg

On many of the afternoons and weekends, the University offered many social programs that allowed us to see their country well beyond the classroom, visiting a few islands on the baltic sea, Skanssi Shopping Centre, museums and historic sites of Turku, as well as a day in Helsinki. These social programs brought together a great number of people from the different summer courses that the University was offering, allowing us to meet many people from many places.20180826_174014.jpg All in all, my time spent in Finland was fantastic. The program offered by Turku University of Applied Sciences was a unique opportunity, granting great knowledge to all those who participated. The country is beautiful with an intriguing history. I thank Centennial College for making my participation in this program possible, and professors Connie Zehr and Arun Hor for joining us and supporting our travels!

-Brad Shedlock


One must travel, to learn

Mark Twain

This was my great summer ever that I have a chance to participate in the Summer International Program e of Centennial College in Turku, Finland. Learning through going out of the world and travelling is one of the best and fastest way to learn. For me, the experience in Finland is invaluable and bring to me many new insights about life.

 Turku is a city in the south of Finland, which is used by its former capital in the past. Not so crowded and bustling like Helsinki city (the capital of Finland), Turku is an ancient and peaceful city with an old town and landscape. However, this city has a great number of students every year, so it was called “the city of students”. Turku has provided an ideal friendly environment for studying including many high-rank universities and offers a variety of programs with a high quality of educational levels.

In the summer school of Turku University of Applied Sciences, I chose the course Developing Wellness Tourism Destinations and Customer Experiences. This is a great course which had provided me with many skills such as presentation, active learning through ask and discuss the problems with teachers. They used new and modern methods of education to transmit boring knowledge into practice. The teachers here are like friends and they were willing to help whatever within their abilities. Here, learning is quite comfortable, less pressure but the student still acquires a lot of knowledge.


In Turku, I also met with a lot of people from different countries in the world and made friend with them was my pleasure. I have learned a lot from their diversity of cultures and we talked a lot. They were very nice and we all study together, had field trips with many unforgettable memories. Thanks to them, I can understand the lessons deeply in a different view of aspects and also know more about the culture of other countries.


In Turku, besides studying hard, I also joined many social programs to discover more about Turku’s famous places. That was a great opportunity for me to make new friends, learn more about the culture of Finland as well as the people here. I was very excited to join in those activities. They were organized after school time. Let’s look back at some of the greatest moments that I had on those days!

This picture was taken on the Night of Arts. This was one of the biggest art events in Turku, Finland. As the name says, many activities were organized to honour the importance of art in their culture. That was so impressive to see many people singing, playing musical instruments everywhere and you could also visit the museum with discount prices too!


In my studying schedule, I had a chance to go to Naantali town. This is Finland ’s one of the most important attractions. When I came here to do the research with class, I couldn’t stand off the beauty of this place. This small town also has the Finnish oldest spa. The swimming pool and sauna there were amazing. Talk a little bit about the sauna, the sauna is not only a way to relax but also a special Finnish culture.  People said that if you didn’t take the sauna in Finland once, you had never been to Finland. Mostly every Finnish house has a sauna room to enjoy the relaxation after a long day of work. Naantali was a good place to go in the summer.


Moreover, I had a chance to visit the Finnish President’s summer house (Kultaranra). The house was located near the beautiful town of Naantali and surrounded by the gorgeous garden. The President will stay here during the summertime. So good to have some good pictures with friends in this beautiful garden.


Turku city is not only modern but also traditional. It still keeps the old town, the old village (Luostarinmaki Handicrafts Museum) and an old castle (Turku castle). I fell in love with the old traditional history here, so good to step into the old castle and imagine a heroic past was happening.


Luostarinmaki Handicrafts Museum


Turku Castle

In this trip, I meet different people with different cultural backgrounds. For me, meeting new people and being exposed to many different cultures is the best gift this trip has given me. For two weeks, we were having fun together with unforgettable memories. In my opinion, young people should have a chance to go out of the world and experience new things. I am very grateful for this trip for giving me that experience that will never found again.

Last day, we all have a farewell dinner together to celebrate the journey in Turku. For me, I will never forget those friends who stayed with me for two weeks. I wish that I could stay longer in this beautiful country and learn more about this place.

Goodbye Turku, goodbye to Finland and hope to have a chance to come back here again. Thank you Summer International Program of Centennial College has allowed me to learn new global experience, made new friends and had a wonderful summer ever.

– Mark Twain

Zooplankton Identification Course on Seili Island (Finland) Sep 4-8, 2017

The journey to Finland started off with a frantic search for free wi-fi to access Google Maps to navigate my way from the airport near Helsinki, the capital, to the remote island of Seili, over 200 km away. This may not seem far but it was a feat due to two important factors: 1) September 1st marked the beginning of the off-season effectively reducing services on some bus routes and ferries and 2) many services such as restaurants, shops, ticket booths, are closed on Sundays. With adrenaline and some luck, I arrived safely on Seili a little past 5 in the afternoon.

The zooplankton identification course commenced bright and early on Monday morning, gradually picking up speed as I climb the steep learning curve. It was an amazing experience learning about these microscopic creatures but the most memorable experience was the evening the group spent enjoying the beach sauna. We all met up by the dormitories just before sunset and walked the scenic route which followed the shoreline to the sauna house located on a beach. I walked gingerly with the promise of post-sauna snacks of cider, sausage, and chocolate. When we arrived, the cabin looked very similar to a typical Canadian cottage, a quaint little log house with a chimney where the sauna room was connected to a large living room with a fireplace. However, the moment I walked into the sauna, I immediately understood how important sauna was to Finnish culture. All aspects of the facilities were impeccable, there is a tool for every need you could imagine: feet washing station to keep the interior dirt and mud-free, showers to cool off, towels to sit on the hot benches, baskets to keep clothes dry, ladles to pour water onto the furnace. I was the only non-Finn who partook in the sauna and put my swimsuit on , and to my surprise, was joined by the rest of the ladies, nude. They explained that amongst friends, it was completely normal to enjoy a sauna session with no swimsuit in Finland and that it was not a big deal to see each other naked. This expanded my worldview and forced myself to question why I am still self-conscious about my body while there existed this developed country where young and old alike enjoyed a cultural experience with absolutely zero judgment. This feeling of acceptance and well-being was reinforced further as we did the next logical thing following a steaming sauna: running to the shore for a cold dip into the Baltic Sea. 10/10 would do again.

Lillian Ng
Environmental Technician Fast-Track ’17

Finland was fantastic!

I applied for the SIP program to Turku Finland as I felt the program (Professional Services and Productization) would help me to market my business. I studied Travel Services Management and I’m now a travel agent. So this program was a catch as providing travel advice is providing a service, and I wanted tips on how to market service. You can imagine how excited I was when I heard I got through.

Arriving in Finland I was very moody and grumpy, as I connected in New York so I was travelling for more than 24hours. But when I got on the train from the airport to Turku, I instantly relaxed. The countryside was lush and green and this calm captivated me. Being a country girl, I’m always drawn to communities rather than cities, so seeing Turku wasn’t all that built up gave me something to smile about. The train ride from Helsinki to Turku was really relaxing and provided some really good sightseeing.

In Turku, I had some problems with my pre-booked accommodation but soon found myself helped by a local. Finnish people can appear intimidating and blunt, but once a conversation is started, they really warm up. Thankfully they’re kind and helpful, so I was out of my accommodation rut in less than 5 minutes of conversation with the local. This was the beginning of many other local encounters that made my trip amazing.

At school (Turku University of Applied Sciences), the classroom discussions were so enriching. Altogether we were 12 students and 2 lecturers representing 11 countries! You can imagine the cultural exchange that took place. We bonded well. In fact, my favourite moments in Turku were all moments when we got together. Outside of school, we did social activities including dinners, museum tours, city tours, picnic, shopping, and a boat tour to Stockholm, Sweden. We also had lunch together, every day we tried a new canteen. The food was absolutely scrumptious and ridiculously cheap! With our student cards, we got lunch for as little as €2.80. A buffet meal consisting of coffee/tea and bread, salad, entree and sometimes dessert. And you’ve got choices, always 2 or 3 entree items to choose from.

Other than the super cheap student lunches, I was amazed by the transportation system. People bike/cycle all around. Whether they’re going to work, school or party, they cycle! Yes, men in tuxedos and ladies in stilettos cycle all about. Cycling is so common, cyclists have their own section of the street to cycle on and a tonne of places to park. Other than that, it’s so easy and fast to walk about (even though I got lost a bit). From where I stayed, walking to school was the same distance as taking the bus so I often walked. It was sad to leave all that behind – little to no traffic 🙂 to come back to the hustle and bustle of Toronto 😦

All in all, I had a wonderful time in Tuku. The program was amazing and I now have friends from all over. I highly recommend this program and cannot say thanks enough to Centennial for such a great opportunity.

GEO Experience – Turku, Finland

It is my honor that Global Experience Office can give this opportunity to participate Summer International Program in Turku, Finland. During these two weeks, I learnt a Finnish language and culture; also I took an intensive course in Mental Health, Crises and Recovery. At the same time, I also have time to travel Finland to see and experience this wonderful country.

The destination is in Turku, Finland. It is located on the southwest coast of Finland and the oldest city in Finland. From my perspective, it may be one of peaceful cities in the world.



What did we do in Turku? Our program is divided into two parts. The first part is intensive course – Mental Health, Crises and Recovery; and the second part is to attend social programs with Centennial’s partner institutions – Turku University of Applied Sciences.

Mental health is related with people’s overall psychological well-being. It can impact on all the aspects of people’s life, and the aspects include the feeling of themselves, the quality of relationships, and the ability to control and manage emotions and feelings, and deal with challenges and stress. We learnt how to take care the mental health and avoid becoming mental health illness or crises, and how to get recovery from them. This is definitely useful subject. Not only it can improve our academic level, but it also can help us future career and life, even can affect our rest of life in positive way.

The second part of our program is social programs. We visited many historical attractions to enjoy the beautiful views and fresh sea air, and made new friends. We tasted local food, appreciated art exhibitions, visited museum and castle, and even experienced Finnish sauna.

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Besides, you cannot miss a visit of Helsinki, which is one of northern Europe’s major cities. The Design in Helsinki is a must when visiting there. In Helsinki, there is a design district. It includes design from a number of fields such as fashion, architecture and urban culture. There are dozens of design and fashion boutiques and galleries. I really experienced how design is embedded in their daily life. Design is everywhere in Helsinki.

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I will never forget about how helpful and friendly they all are in Finland! This program enhances my academic knowledge, helps me appreciate the cultural diversity of Finland and achieves personal growth.

unforgettable place,Finland

It has been more than a week since we got back from Finland, I just can’t talking to my friends about how amazing the trip was to Finland.

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Since we had class every morning, on the way to school, you could always see this amazing sky and it just gave me the full energy to start a brand new day. In the class, we ( innovative work organization) had a fun teacher who actually taught us a lot during this short period and the nice part was that we could work as a group every afternoon to  discuss what we had learnt and explore more about the subject which we were interested in.

In this trip I’ve seen so many great views around Turku and Helsinki which I kept telling to all my friends.

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It is just incredible that this was the everyday view in Truku.

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Compare to Turku, Helsinki gave me the impression of a young and active city. You could basically walk to everywhere and all the streets were just so beautiful.

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I’m really grateful for this opportunity to go to this truly amazing trip!

Ran Wei

Trip to Turku, Finland

As soon as I got in Finland, I could feel their peaceful, leisure lives. The relaxed ambience of the city is inexplicable. The street are friendly for people who bike. Left side of sidewalk is a bike lane and no one walked in bike lane. They look healthy, seeing lots of people being active. Turku has spacious green spaces full of happy people enjoying their free time with their kids or friends. The environment is friendly especially to children and senior. The city was big but walkable to explore every nook and cranny. The university staffs over there organized programs to integrate us with local culture and community, leading us to Turku museums and festivals. The good thing during Turku trip was cruise trip to neighboring country, Sweden. Finland has a lot of travel agencies in regard to cruise and flight travel to neighboring countries with affordable price. Good news for night lifers. The city is so safe that you barely feel any threats or concerns about unpleasant things. Of course you should be in pair though for safety. For the last I’d like to express my deep appreciation especially to Pearl, Nikaylen and Yana. Thank you for Centennial College for the precious experience.


Moomin's hometown Finland!
Moomin’s hometown Finland!

First days in Turku- Bailey DeBruin

Thus far Turku is amazing and everything I had hoped it to be. I love the outdoors and spend most of my free time in Toronto walking my dog and exploring the city. In Turku, I have been able to do the same, only with new and exciting things to see! I have explored multiple parks including the Kuppitta park, Turku’s largest park which happens to be right outside our hostel! It has probably around ten soccer fields, a few cricket fields and basketball courts. It also has a giant outdoor pool and a mini zoo type thing containing odd ducks, goats and birds. As a cross-country runner at Centennial, I specifically loved the running tracks and exercise equipment!

Turku is a small city in Finland but so far has shown so much culture. The people are friendly and luckily, most of them speak English! I love the architecture and many of the buildings are a colourful shade of yellow or orange, which lightens up the whole city. Maybe Toronto should consider more colourful buildings, the mundane glass and grey high rises are quite depressing compared to the assortment of colours here.

Turku has felt much like home to me, I am from Washington State and since moving to Toronto last year I have gotten homesick. Turku resembles my home town greatly but is much more exciting. I feel safe and cozy here and will hate to leave!DSC_0020 (2)DSC_0064 (2)

I hope the rest of my classmates are having a great time as well! I will write more about my experiences next week!