10th meeting: Finnish nature

Our last meeting took place in the national park Helvetinjärvi in Ruovesi. We walked a short two kilometer trail to Helvetinkolu and back. Helvetinkolu is a place by the lake Helvetinjärvi where there is a gorge in the rock (see the picture) and we actually climbed up through the narrow passage instead of using the stairs.

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It was a beautiful spring day and there were already leaves growing in the trees, but we told Nghi that there the nature is more “full” in the summer and that there is more undervegetation in the summer. We taught and showed Nghi the most common trees growing in Finland: pine (mänty), spruce (kuusi) and birch (koivu).

We told Nghi that there only is one poisonous snake, kyy, in Finland and explained how to recognise it. She asked for advice on what to do if one was to encounter a bear in the wild. We told her that luckily it doesn’t happen all too often and that they usually are more afraid of people than people are of them.

Nghi learned that the Finnish bedrock is very old and stable and heard about the most common rock types in Finland as well. It was easy to come up with things to tell because we saw something to talk about all the time when walking or looking at the scenery in Helvetinkolu.

We told Nghi that there are several national parks in Finland and that one of them in the north is named after one of our presidents (Urho Kekkosen kansallispuisto).

This being our last meeting, I would say as a conclusion that this type of interaction and learning/teaching is really fun and refreshing. In my opinion, the only “problem” in this type of teaching is that there is no point in planning the “lessons” too carefully because it is so easy to get a little sidetracked and concentrate on different topics than the original plan was. I think our meetings would have served Nghi even better if we had used and/or taught even more Finnish words during our meetings. All in all, I enjoyed this and learned interesting things about Vietnam from Nghi – and new things about Finland from Elisa as well.

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