Student Life

“Why are you here?”

September 15, 2013


It is my great honor to introduce Ask a Californian! the blog that allows you (the reader) to reach out with the most thought provoking, absurd, and potentially irrelevant questions you can come up with; to which I (an honest-to-goodness Californian) will without fail assemble compelling, indiscreet, dubiously relevant answers.  So from now on if you are perplexed by a pesky problem, are consumed by crushing curiosity, or are blindsided by a bit of bamboozling botheration, you will know that you can simply Ask a Californian! and hopefully get a chuckle out of the response.

For this inaugural entry I would like to tackle a question that I have received consistently since the day I got off the plane here in Helsinki: “Why are you here?”

While this is understandably brought on by the shock of seeing a Californian so far from his sunny native habitat, it still seems a little bit strange every time I hear it. While any of you who have asked me face to face have been given re-tellings of my life story, this time I’d like to respond with a question of my own. “Why not here?”

The thing is, to an outsider Finland stands out. Finland is known world-wide for its exceptional educational standards, it is also recognized for a high quality of life, high ice cream consumption, and was declared by Newsweek to be the best country in the world in 2010. Finnish women are strong-willed, independent and beautiful; Finnish men are funny, handsome and comprised of equal parts stoicism and sisu. This amazing nation is home to some of the most gorgeous lakes, forests and natural phenomena on the planet, some of which can be found without even leaving Helsinki.Finns generally: pay their taxes, are frugal, respectfully quiet and modest to a fault; however lest anyone be unimpressed by these awesome but arguably mild traits, don’t forget that they had universal suffrage by 1906, invented the Molotov cocktail, and stood off Russia during the winter war.

As a 1st year plastics student at Arcada I have the privilege of an international study environment, enthusiastic instructors, and incredible facilities. In two weeks I’ve met a vast number of smart and fun people at events that lead me to believe I won’t have a boring minute during my studies. I have rarely seen such a hungry group of students, the challenge that their ambitions represent will force me to stay sharp.

With all these factors blending together I cannot imagine a more perfect environment for a laid back yet motivated fellow like myself; why wouldn’t I, or anyone with a lust for life, be excited to be here?

So to all of you reading this blog I ask you to consider your circumstances from a perspective of nearly deranged optimism; ask yourself about the amazing world a Californian or anyone might see when they look at Finland and Arcada with the fresh eyes of an outsider. Thanks to all of you for reading, I look forward to responding to your questions soon.