I am on the last stretch of my adventure in Finland. At the moment I am sitting at the airport getting ready to leave in a few hours. Over the past few weeks I have been taking my terrestrial field course. In the course I learned how to catch and ID ground and flying invertebrates, as well as small animals. I also learned how to ID different bird species. There were close to five different traps for the insects and about three different ways to track or ID bird and mammal species. Besides studying, I got to go on a bunch of hikes around the Oulanka Research Station. During these hikes I got to see a Finnish beach, the Russian border, and beautiful scenery. I also saw a ton of reindeer on this past trip. They were everywhere and really cute. I learned that the Finnish Santa doesn’t fly with his reindeer, they just sled. Speaking of sleds, on one of the hikes I went on I was shown a type of sled that students often take in the winter time to get to school. Even though I really enjoyed this study abroad and would definitely do it again, I am ready to go home and see my family and get ready for classes on Monday.
The past month in Finland has been basically filled with caterpillars. Every day I go to Oulu University and check on different caterpillar species. They line trays upon trays in their little cup homes. What I have to do is check and see if any of the caterpillars have pupated, if they have I date them and if they haven’t I change their leaves, dirt and water. It was fairly busy at the beginning I would be working with these caterpillars for eight hours usually but sometimes the hours stretched to twelve. Now, however, the hours have cut down to a range of one to three hours since they are almost all pupated.
The light has followed this pattern it was like the day at midnight at the beginning of the summer. It has now started to darken. The dark has become a weird thought to me. But I will have to get used to it again quickly as I leave for a trip to Germany with one of my flat-mates. We will be spending a couple of days in Stuttgart with one of her parent’s friends. It should be a lot of fun especially since we’re running out of time to explore. We leave for the next course on August 4th and that will last until the time we leave. All and all Finland has been a fun experience thus far, can’t wait to see Germany.
I have been in Finland for close to three weeks now and so far I have already taken one class, the aquatics course. For this course I had to travel from Oulu up to the Oulanka research station where I stayed for about a week. In this course all the students were split into groups and each day the groups did something different. In the groups, half a day was spent working in the field and half a day was spent working in the lab. I learned how to take samples and recognize species of zooplankton, macro-invertebrates and fish. The days were long during the course, 9:00am to 5:00pm every day, but the experience was really enjoyable. I learned a ton on this course and I am definitely looking forward to the next one in August. Until that course begins I will be working on a caterpillar and butterfly project. My project work doesn’t start for a few weeks still, so I am debating on where to go and travel. I will probably see more of Finland since it is incredibly beautiful, but I would still like to visit another place. I’m hoping to find a place with a lot of history built into the town. Until I decide I will just spend sometime roaming around Oulu.