After much needed and appreciated time to charge mental batteries during Christmas holiday it was time to return to Jyväskylä and get back to reality with a bang, meaning Winter School in Sport Sciences 2015. During two weeks we were able to take part in two courses and meet and exchange thoughts with students coming from every continent of the world. Although in both courses some of the content overlapped with courses that we had already had during fall semester it was interesting to learn from visiting lecturers from Australia, Italy and the United States. During fall semester of SpoSMaPro we focused mainly on European and Finnish sports field, so it was an eye opening experience to learn how sport is organized and governed in e.g. Australia and it gave me personally a new perspective to work with and reflect upon…
Even though two courses in two weeks might sound like a lot of work we still had plenty of leisure time and we used it properly by going down hill skiing. On Tuesday night we went to Laajis, a local ski resort where they had a happy hour, during which you could buy a ski pass and rent skis for 20 Euros total for three hours. It was quite exotic because of the freezing temperature. I had to wear three pairs of long johns, three shirts and a jumper and cover on my face to prevent it from freezing. I was quite impressed with Farrukh who had never skied in his life and managed to get down from the middle station of Laajis in one piece, although we insisted that next time he would have to do more Pizza than French Fries on his way down.
Students participating in Winter School were also able to take a winter sport course that was an introduction to the most common winter sports in Finland. They had a chance to try out cross-country skiing, ice skating, snow shoeing and down hill skiing. I did not take part in this course, but I did go skating with the group on Wednesday. Since I knew how to skate already, but didn’t feel like playing ice hockey I was happy to “coach” two of my course mates Saara and Janita, since they wanted to learn some figure skating. It was really nice after such a long time to teach figure skating and see that the girls were having fun.
After spending two weeks in Winter School we gathered one last time to Alvar Aalto-museum on Friday to have a closing party and to say our goodbyes. It was a nice evening with some food, drinks and social activities on the side. For me personally it was reassuring to notice that even though I had lived and worked in an international setting before my studies in Jyväskylä, I had learned some new social skills during fall semester. It didn’t bother me anymore if someone was late for class or I could easily find something to talk about even if I didn’t know the person. I think that part of social skills is to understand people coming from different cultures and as I said I was pleasantly surprised that I could handle my self well in such a rich cultural environment that Winter School had to offer.
I will miss some of the people I met in Winter School and some of them I’ll probably bump into in the hallways of Liikunta. All in all Winter School was a pleasant transition back to student life and now it is time look forward and face spring semester head-on.