All posts by Sam Penfold

Last meeting at the EOTO Xmas party

We chose to use the EOTO Christmas party as our last meeting, as we were running out of time with a few of us going to Lapland and leaving soon after. December has come fast and I am leaving to Australia on the 13th, so it was good to wrap up our tenth and last meeting.

As it was the course’s ending event, we decided to reflect on what we had learned in this course. I can definitely say that I have enjoyed teaching and learning. I now plan to take more Spanish lessons, possibly a module at my home uni if possible. I also benefitted from the teaching process, which I enjoyed greatly.

It was also very interesting to learn about the cultures of Spain and Mexico, how they are similar and how they differ. I would love to visit both countries in the near future.

But more importantly, I made four great friends in this course who I will stay in touch with and hope to see soon again.

Meeting with other international students

This week, we combined our meeting with a party/gathering we had with all other exchange students from TAMK. One of our own organised it and did a great job (Emilio is a champ!).

We met at the Kaupin sauna, where the communal room had been rented until midnight. We talked to a lot of other international students that were part of the EOTO course and exchanged experiences. We spoke about the languages learned and the activities made. It was very interesting to hear how other groups had gone about it, especially in terms of teaching and learning methods.

It got very busy and loud quickly, so we didn’t achieve that much in our own language and culture, but it was very fun!

Food meeting in Pinja

For this meeting, we wanted to talk about and experience a big part of culture: food. This was one of the meetings, which we looked forward to most. We all met in the evening and were hungry.

We had a variety of different foods: burritos and a refried bean bean dip from Mexico, a Spanish egg omelette and a chocolate fondue from Switzerland. I really enjoyed the foods, they were both very flavorful. It was interesting to see them being cooked.

We didn’t just eat, we also talked about an important aspect of a language and everyday life: time. Here is an overview:

*Time and co. in German*

Weekdays: Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch, Donnerstag, Freitag, Samstag, Sonntag
Días de la semana: lunes, martes, miércoles, jueves, viernes, sábado, domingo

Morgen=Morning= mañana
Mittag=Midday=medio día
Nachmittag=Afternoon= tarde
Abend=Evening= noche

Frühling=Spring= primavera
Sommer=Summer= verano
Herbst=Autumn= otoño
Winter=Winter= invierno
Useful phraseology:
Später=later= después
Bald=soon= pronto
Früher=before= antes
Morgen=tomorrow= mañana
Heute=today= hoy
Gestern=yesterday= ayer
Vorgestern=the day before = anti ayer
Übermorgen=the day after = pasado mañanas
spät=late= tarde
früh=early = temprano
lang=long= largo
kurz=short= corto
vorher=before= antes
zuerst=first= primero
immer=always= siempre
nie=never= nunca
jetzt=now= ahora


Meeting at the Pyynikki tower

In this week, we had the Innovevent going on, and other projects, so we didn’t have much time due to conflicting schedules. We managed to find an hour that fit us all and went to grab a donut at the Pyynikki tower, which is a nice spot. I walked from my apartment and met Emilio on the way up the hill.

We all arrived around a similar time and found a table inside, as it was raining and cold outside. We then sat down and tackled a more grammatically complex subject: verb conjugation. I learned how to conjugate s few verbs in Spanish in the different personal forms, and then in different time forms, too.   I found that the basic structure was quite logical and was able to apply the system to some basic verbs. But, as with most languages, there exist irregularities. These do not follow the consistent model, and need to be learned by heart.

I found this a more difficult meeting due to the nature of the subject we spoke about. I am usually better at speaking and understanding the language, the grammar is my least favourite part of the subject.

This meeting took place before our sauna visit.


Meeting in the sauna (German – Spanish)

We decided to do the cliché Finnish thing and meet up for a sauna. It was a chilly Saturday with a bitter wind, so it seemed to be a good idea. We agreed to visit the Rauhaniemi sauna. We met in the late morning, with one of our Spanish speaking friends arriving only 10 minutes late.

In this sauna, which was quite hot with 100 degrees, we decided to talk about body parts. We also met a very talkative Finnish man, who spoke to all of us about football and tennis. This was probably the most talkative Finn I’ve ever met. Two of us also went for a dip in the cold water, where we lasted max 15 seconds.

We went through quite a large vocabulary, which was hard to memorize. I will have to repeat the words a few more times before any of them stick. Also, learning at 100 degrees is quite challenging!

Meeting at Pizzeria Bianco (German – Spanish)

This time, we were all feeling cold and a bit hungry. The windchill led us to agree to meet in Pizzeria Bianco, near the train station. It is a decent Pizza/Kebab place that offers food for relatively cheap prices. As a student, you can get a standard pizza with a salad bar for about 9 Euros, which I find fair. I had a Quattro Stagioni, which had shrimp on it for some reason, which I don’t think is part of the traditional version.

In this meeting, we did things a bit differently, and focused on cultural aspects rather than the languages themselves. I started by quizzing my counterparts on religion, which I find very interesting, and wanted to find out if the Spanish-speaking countries are as religious as I expected them to be. From what I heard, it seems that the older generations are a lot more Catholic than the younger generations, including my friends at the table. It seemed that maybe Mexico still has more religious youth than Spain.

After that, we spoke about the politics of our countries. I explained briefly how our Swiss unique democracy works, with our 7-head government body. We also spoke about whether the conservative or progressive values were more prominent in our countries. All of us spoke about some issues and thoughts we had, which included a new airport in Mexico City that may be closed by the new president.

I found the discussion about culture and country very interesting and I learnt a lot about Spain and Mexico.

Meeting at my apartment (German – Spanish)

For our fourth meeting, we were all running a bit tight on schedule, as the holiday week was coming up and we all had our separate plans. Therefore, we just about managed to find a time that suited all of us and kept it simple with the activity. We met at my apartment (how convenient for me) to relax, play some FIFA and eat some food – and of course teach and learn!

After a few rounds of FIFA and some chatter, we decided to get into the topic of the day, which was a very important one: food. We went through a variety of different foods, and translated them into both languages. It was interesting to see the various differences that Spain and Mexico have for everyday foods.

Here is our full list!


Fruit – La fruta – Die Frucht

🍎La Manzana – der Apfel
🍌El Plátano – die Banane
🍓La Fresa – die Erdbeere
🍈El Melón – die Melone
🍉La Sandía – die Wassermelone
🍑El Melocotón (SP) / Durazno (MX) – die Pfirsich
🍐La Pera – die Birne
🍒La Cereza – die Kirsche

Vegetables – la Verdura – Das Gemüse
🍆La Berenjena – die Aubergine
🥦El Brócoli – der Broccoli
🌶El Pimiento – die Peperoni
🌽El Maíz / El Elote – der Mais
🥕La Zanahoria – die Karotte
🥔La Papa / Patata – die Kartoffel
🍅El (Ji)Tomate – die Tomate
🍠El Camote / El Boniato – die Süsskartoffel
Lettuce – La Lechuga – der Salat
Onion – La cebolla – die Zwiebel
Garlic – El ajo – der Knoblauch
Pumpkin – La calabaza – der Kürbis

Meat – La Carne – Das Fleisch
🐖Pork – El Cerdo – das Schwein
🐄Beef – La Vaca /Ternera (for small beef) – das Rind
🐑Lamb – El cordero – das Lamm
🦃Turkey – El pavo – der Truthahn
🐓Chicken – El Pollo – das Poulet

Fish – El Pescado – Der Fisch

Dairy Products and others – Los Lácteos / El Lácteo – Die Milchprodukte /Das Milchprodukt
🥚Egg – El Huevo – das Ei
🧀Cheese – El queso – der Käse
🍮Flan – El flan – der Pudding
🍨Ice cream- El helado – das Eis
🍰Cake- El pastel – der Kuchen
🍫Chocolate- El chocolate – die Schokolade
🍩Donuts- La dona – der Donut
🍪Cookies- La galleta – der Keks
🥛Milk- La leche – die Milch
🍯Honey- La miel – der Honig
☕Coffee- El cafe – der Kaffee
🥜Peanuts- Los cacahuates – die Erdnuss
🍬Candy- El dulce /caramelo – die Süssigkeiten
🍚Rice- El arroz – das Reis
🍝Pasta- La pasta – die Teigwaren (also die Pasta)
🥪Sandwich- El sándwich – das Sandwich
🥙Salad – La ensalada – der Salat
🌭Hot dog – El perrito caliente (SP) / El hotdog – der Hotdog
🥖Bread – El pan – das Brot
🍟French fries – Patatas / Papas fritas – die Pommes Frites
🥓Bacon – El tocino – der Speck
🥣Soup – La sopa – die Suppe

The Prestigious Rodeo Bar in Tampere (German – Spanish)

For our third meeting, we decided to head to Tampere’s Rodeo Bar (in the Finlayson building). Rodeo Bar has a main attraction: they serve beers for 1 euro between 21.00 and 23.00 on Fridays and Saturdays. Otherwise, the best way I can describe the interior design of Rodeo is a very tacky western saloon mixed with random space themes on LSD.

We used the occasion to practice the matching lingo: nightlife. We began with practising some useful subjects that can be used in a bar or a restaurant, such as ordering a drink and asking for a small or large beverage. We looked at some phrases that are used when introducing oneself (even as far as asking for a number, which of course was a practice for numbers again). After that, we also learned the colours, as we had not spoken about these before and it is a quite basic and useful part of the language.

So, here is a potential dialogue I might have in the future when I visit a Spanish speaking country: Hola, quiero pedir una cerveza grande por favor. Además, ¿podría decirme dónde está el baño? Bajo el signo rojo? ¡Gracias!

It was also the firs time I actually had heard a complete list of the different colours in Spanish, with some words I had never heard before, while some others sounded similar to the counterparts in English or German.

I felt that the learning and teaching experience went very well, even for the circumstances we were in (loud music and drinking, very social). We spent a large amount of time focusing solely on the phrases and used our WhatsApp group to exchange notes we had made during the meeting.

I was able to learn and complete some vocabulary that I had previously used before on visits to Mallorca, where I had ordered drinks and food.

Our group in Rodeo, with about 3 euros worth of beer on the table:

Second German – Spanish meeting at Rauhaniemi

Our second meeting in the German – Spanish group took place on Tuesday evening at the lake, near the Rauhaniemi sauna by the lake.

Part of the group, including me, arrived a bit earlier than we had agreed to meet. We wanted to go to a local supermarket to grab some snacks, but the first one we found was closed (permanently) and the second closest one turned out to be quite far away. This resulted in us being around 30 minutes late. But on the other hand, this allowed me to experience part of Spanish culture: being late (I want to state clearly that I am joking).

Once we arrived with snacks and apologies for the delay, Leslie and José were waiting for us at a bench, enjoying the views and bitterly cold wind. We had a bit of chitchat before getting into the languages.

We focused on learning some useful phrases for everyday life: introducing oneself and speaking about some hobbies etc. We first did the rounds with everyone introducing themselves in their native language, so this was an opportunity to learn. After that (and some discussion), we all tried to do the same again, but now in the language we are learning.

My introduction went as follows: “Hello, my name is Sam Penfold and I am from Switzerland and Australia. I enjoy travelling and music. I am scared of spiders.” Which in German is: “Hallo, mein Name ist Sam Penfold und ich komme aus der Schweiz und Australien. Ich mag Reisen und Musik. Ich fürchte mich vor Spinnen”. My Spanish speaking friends did very well with their German introductions and I was impressed by how quickly they caught on. The most difficult part seemed to be pronouncing “fürchte” – this more often than not ended up becoming “Früchte”, meaning “fruit”. So sentences about fearing turned into “I fruit…”, which was funny.

My Spanish intro goes as follows: Hola, mi nombre es Sam Penfold y vengo de Suiza y Australia. Me gusta viajar y la música. Tengo miedo de las arañas.

I also learned that Spanish and German has a common trait: you can add an ending to a word to indicate that it is small. In German, this is the -chen ending (e.g. Hund – Hündchen), whereas in Spanish it is -ito/ita, so a small spider would be arañita.

All in all, it was a very fun meeting and we had a lot of laughs. It was also really, really cold, which is very unexpected for Finland. We considered continuing our meeting into the night and the bars of Tampere, but since I had a 3 am alarm clock the next morning for a flight, it seemed a better idea to go home and be unable to sleep and stare at the ceiling for hours.

The German-Spanish Backstreet Boys, also known as the Hinterstrassen Chicos.

(Spanish – German) First meeting in Fazer Café

We decided to hold our first meeting in a place where we could also experience some Finnish aspects – Fazer Café. Once we were able to fix the time (scheduling with a larger group can always be tricky), we all met on Monday evening.

We chose to simultaneously teach / learn from both sides, meaning I taught German and learned Spanish, while my Spanish-speaking friends learned German and taugh Spanish. This method seemed to work well as we were always able to touch on the translations of whatever it was that we were talking about in English at that point.

It was the basics that we focused on, learning how to introduce oneself and counting from 1 to 10 (and a bit above). We also looked at the similarities of the languages in terms of grammar and structure. I was able to learn a bit about the differences between the Spanish spoken in Mexico and in Spain due to the mixed group. This was very interesting to hear. All in all, the group worked well.

There was also an attempt to distinguish the difference between soy and estoy, which apparently is one of the most confusing things in the Spanish language. Soy is used for more permanent stuff, like what you are permanently. Estoy is used for conditions, like what you are right now, but could change…I think. I also finally learned how to count above 5 in Spanish without it then transitioning into Italian, which is what my previous number vocabulary was.

I also showed the difference between German and Swiss German (which is what I speak at home in Switzerland). Since it is an unwritten language, it can be complicated to show this (Ich spreche Schweizerdeutsch vs I rede Schwiizerdütsch). There is still quite a big difference in my opinion. I will stick to teaching “normal” German though!

We had a few coffees and tasted some Finnish liquorice chocolates. I kinda liked them, but I can see how they aren’t for everyone. Definitely better than Salmiakki, that’s for sure.