All posts by Polina Avramenko

10th meeting: Christmas Market

And so came the day for our last meeting. We struggled a little while deciding the day for it since my exams had just started. But luckily we managed to match our schedules before the holidays. Before it was time for Min to go back to China I really wanted him to experience one of the most traditional Finnish events that was happening in Tampere at the moment: the Christmas Market.

We met at the Main Square after school and started our meeting by exploring the things that the market had to offer. It was the first time for me also so it was interesting to see all the crafts and treats that people sold there. Min bought some souvenirs to take back home to China and I got some great ideas for Christmas presents. After walking around the market for a while and taking some pictures by the Christmas tree we decided to go to the Pyynikki´s Doughnut Café that was in the market area. Both of us ordered a doughnut and a cup of hot glögi.

We talked a lot while enjoying our drinks. We discussed such topics as education and being an exchange student. I learned that in China it´s quite difficult to change the field you´re studying in the university or reapply the next year for example. Min said that he really likes Finnish education system for that specific reason, for the opportunity to change your mind if you feel like you´re not enjoying your current studies. He also told me that being an exchange student was a pleasant experience. It was good to hear because I´m also planning on going abroad at some point during my studies.

After we finished the drinks it was time for us to say goodbye. I´m really grateful for this experience. I learned an incredible amount of things that I´d probably never have learned in a classroom. It was also very interesting to teach the language and the culture of my own country. We promised to keep in touch via email because who knows; maybe someday I´ll visit China or Min will travel to Finland again!

Thank you Min and thank you EOTO!

9th meeting: Pre-Christmas party

For our second to last meeting we decided to go to the EOTO Pre-Christmas party that was held in Tamko´s office. There wasn’t a lot of people at first but during the first hour the room got full which was great. The atmosphere was very festive with all the Christmas music and delicious treats.

It was very nice to see other people from the course although not everyone came to the party of course. We hadn’t seen each other since the course introduction in September. We talked to a lot of people and exchanged our thoughts about this course.

We also bumped into some of Min´s friends and talked about how big this whole Christmas thing is in our country. Finns take it very seriously indeed! They told me that they don’t have such a festival in China, so it was a completely new experience for them. It was interesting to learn about all the different traditions that they have in their country. And I was happy to tell them more about our Christmas celebrations.

We stayed at the party for a couple of hours until I had to go home. All in all, the party was successful because we got to catch up with other students and share our experiences. We wish that there would have been more organized programme for us but that didn´t stop us from enjoying the party.

Christmas was just behind the corner!

8th meeting: Celebrations

Our 8th meeting took place at school. This time we ended up discussing the celebrations in our cultures. All though both of our countries have many same celebrations like birthdays and weddings, the way we celebrate them is obviously very different.

Min showed me a video of a traditional wedding ceremony in China. It was very beautiful and unique with all the rituals. The couple was dressed in beautiful red gowns. Min told me that red is the colour of luck which is why it´s used a lot in China. I showed him some pictures of Western weddings that are also the most common here in Finland. It turned out Min was familiar with them because they are also starting to be popular in China.

As we continued our discussion we found out that the birthday celebrations are quite different in our countries. Min explained that they don´t celebrate birthdays every year in China like we do here in Finland. Instead they celebrate important dates such as 20th, 50th and 80th birthdays for example. And when they do celebrate, they make it a very big event. All the relatives and friends gather to spend the day together and there can be dozens or even hundreds of people. That was something I didn´t know and it sounded pretty amazing.

Time went really fast as always and soon I had to get to class. Even though we didn´t have time to plan this meeting, I think we managed to develop a very interesting conversation.

We both learned a lot today!

7th meeting: Chinese restaurant

As I told in my last post, for this meeting we decided to go to a Chinese restaurant. Min suggested the place that his friend had visited once so we went there after school. Unfortunately, they were closing just as we walked in. We didn’t realize to check the opening hours before going there.  Luckily, after a quick Google search, we found another restaurant nearby in Tammela.

I ordered some noodles with pork and Min chose some kind of Chinese soup. We also wanted to try Chinese spring rolls. Min was curious to find out if they tasted the same as at home. Apparently, they did! The food was very delicious and we took our time to enjoy all of it.



I told Min that Chinese restaurants are quite popular here in Finland. We really do enjoy their food. It was interesting to learn that the atmosphere and interior in the restaurant were very much Chinese according to Min. I´ve always wondered if it was true.

Once again, we had a fun time talking about all kinds of things and eating tasty food. the restaurant was a really nice change to the traditional learning environment.

Until next time!

6th meeting: Traditional food

This week’s topic for our meeting was very delicious; traditional food of Finland and China! Last week we agreed that we would search for some pictures of traditional foods and then explain the cooking process and the concept of that food. Exciting!

I started my introduction of Finnish food with probably our most popular meal of the year; Christmas dinner. Fun fact: today we learned a lot of new English words for a change. I had no idea how hard it would be to explain the making of our lanttulaatikko for example. I also told Min about our Midsummer sausages, Easter lamb and many other delicious foods. We also talked about normal food which was obviously very different from Chinese food.

Then Min told me about Chinese food. He showed me all kind of sweet treats that they make for Spring Festival for example. It all looked very different from what we eat here in Finland. He also told me a very interesting fact that China can be divided in two parts when it comes to food. In the North of China people eat more noodles whereas the South prefers rice. I didn’t know that!

After a long discussion about all the delicious foods we had to think about our next meeting. It wasn´t very hard to come up with what we wanted to do. We decided to go to a Chinese restaurant!

5th meeting: Werstas

For our fifth meeting Min and I decided to get to know Tampere and Finland a little better together. We decided to meet in the Werstas-museum which is located in the historic area of Finlayson. The museum is very student friendly since it has a free entrance.

Our tour started with me telling Min a bit about Finnish history of the 20th century. We went into the room that was decorated like an old bank. It was interesting to see how all of that worked many decades earlier. The best thing about Werstas is that you can actually go inside the rooms and try some things for yourself. Min then showed me some of the Chinese money that he had with him.

We talked a lot about the history of both of our countries as we walked through the museum. It was interesting to notice that even though our countries are very different, they still share some of the experiences. One of the things we discussed was war; we realized that every country experiences it in almost in the same way. Education is one of the topics that we like to discuss since we are both students, so that’s what we did tonight also. Min said that he really liked the Finnish education system. I tried to tell him as much as I know about it.

I was really surprised and pleased how we still managed to learn about both Finland and China even though the museum was clearly about Finnish history. I´m glad that we went there!

4th meeting: Writing Chinese

This week we decided once again meet at school due to my busy schedule with other school work. Today we wanted to improve our knowledge in Chinese and Finnish. I decided to teach Min some of the items of clothing in Finnish and vice versa.Min did a great job learning all the new words even though some of them (like farkut and pusero) are pretty tricky especially when it comes to pronunciation.

I on the other hand tried my best to remember the same words in Chinese. It was very surprising to notice that some of the words reminded English even though they are two completely different languages. For example, “jacket” is “jia ke”. Min told me that this is because some of those clothes are not traditional in China so they simply didn´t have the words for them. However, when they became popular in China, people started calling them the same as in English. Only the spelling changed a little bit.

I also practiced writing some words and short phrases in Chinese. And it was pretty difficult, I have to say. A lot of patience and precision was definitely needed. I did mostly okay but I still have a lot to learn.

All in all, I really enjoyed this meeting!

3rd meeting: Fazer Cafe

For our third meeting we decided to go to the Fazer Cafe on Hämeenkatu. It was a first time there for both Min and I. We thought that it would be a good place to meet because it´s very cozy and not too busy. Fazer is also a classic finnish brand so I wanted to introduce it to Min! 🙂

Both of us ordered a nice cup of tea and a croissant. At this meeting we focused more on Finnish and Chinese cultures instead of language. We discussed many things such as education system, festivals/holidays, history and literature.

I learned that Finnish and Chinese education systems have some similarities but are at the same time very different.  In China they also take final exams at the end of high school. Min told me that students have to choose between two sets of exams: 1. biology, physics and chemistry or 2. geography, history and politics. Everyone also has to take Chinese, English and mathematics. Min told me that he chose the first set of exams. I´m pretty sure that I would have chosen the second one because biology is definitely not my thing… The system sounds a bit like our matriculation examination (ylioppilastutkinto) even though we have more freedom to choose which exams we want to take.

The application system to universities is quite different in China. Min told me that in China you have to apply to university straight after high school. There is basically no such thing as gap year. However many students don´t know what they want to do after high school. That is a very big difference compared to Finland where we can take some time to think about our future career.

All in all this meeting was very interesting! It was nice to learn more about Chinese culture and see how different it is. I also enjoyed telling Min more about Finland.

Until next time!






2nd meeting: Family

Our second meeting was on Tuesday the 19th of September after my class. The topic of this meeting was family. I taught Min different kinds of family related words in Finnish and he taught me the same things in Chinese.

I was once again very amazed at how different our languages are. I learned that in Chinese there are five different ways of saying the word “uncle”. Five! And I thought Finnish “eno” and “setä” would be too complicated to learn..  I also learned that there are a lot of words for “cousin”. It depends on the age and gender of the cousin. Interesting!

In addition to learning the language we also talked about our countries in general. Min told me how family is very important in China, and that is probably why they have so many different words and meanings in that topic. He also told me  a little bit about the history of Chinese language which was very interesting.

I on the other hand told Min a little bit about Finnish history. He learned that this year we´re celebrating 100 years of independency here in Finland! We also discussed the fact that we have to study Swedish here, which is different compared to China. It is very cool that we´re not only learning the language but also getting to know the cultures of our countries! That is what internationality is all about 🙂

Until next time!


1st meeting: Ni hao!

Ni hao! Hi everyone!

My name is Polina and I study business administration in Tampere University of Applied Sciences. I´m a freshman and I´ve lived in Tampere for a month now. I wanted to join Each One Teach One because I´m interested in other cultures and languages. My EOTO pair is Min Liu and he is from China. I´m very excited to learn about Chinese culture! I also hope that Min will get to know more about Finland and Finnish language during this course 🙂

Min and I had our first EOTO meeting on 14th of September. We decided to meet in Journal Balcony next to the school library. Since neither of us is very familiar with the language that we want to learn we decided to start with some simple things.  We taught each other basic words and phrases of our languages and it was very interesting!

We started with Finnish. I made a list of phrases that I wanted to teach Min. During our first meeting Min learned how to greet and introduce himself in Finnish. We also took a look at months and days of the week since those are also used quite often. Teaching Finnish to someone for the first time was very fun but also challenging since our languages are very different. But I´m sure that everything will go well!

After teaching and learning Finnish for one hour it was Min´s turn to introduce me to Chinese language. I learned that there are four different tones in Chinese language and the meaning of the word can change depending on how you say it. That´s very interesting! It will definitely take some time to learn how to use the tones correctly… I also learned that months and days of the week are quite easy in Chinese compared to Finnish. In Chinese you just have to combine the word “month” or “week” with the right number! For example September is “jiu yue” (jiu=nine, yue=month) and Friday is “xingqiwu” (xingqi=week, wu=five).

I´m definitely looking forward to our next meeting!