After only living in Rovaniemi for a week I was already on my first trip. Here I had the chance to meet some of the people on my course and my teachers. We were up early ready to take a mini bus to Raattama! The journey entailed reindeer and gorgeous views. This was the first time us students had seen reindeer, so naturally we all grabbed our mobile phones to snap photos. The drivers politely slowed down for our benefit, as I am sure reindeer are a very common sight here in Lapland. On route we also made a few stops to buy some food while it was still cheap (by Finland's standards) before we were further north where everything was even more expensive. We also stopped off at another second hand shop because why not?

During the journey we were introduced to our assignments for this course: Fine Art Excursion. And we were also informed on the exhibitions and artist talks we would see (exciting). We were instructed to photograph during the trip so we had images that would eventually be made into a photobook. We also had some interesting tasks set where we were given child-like materials to put into the environment surrounding our accommodation, it was an environmental art task - something which was very alien to me as I usually focus on photography.

By undergoing the tasks set I realised how heavily this course focused on other forms of art, not just photography. This was learning curve in itself and set us up for the teaching style of the University. I struggled a lot with the watercolour task and felt very defeated, wondering how I would even succeed the modules for the year. However I was surprised to receive encouraging feedback from my environmental art piece and I’m glad I chose to take different modules to challenge myself and interpret art in different ways.

The other days of the excursion involved many hours of hiking, I found it quite difficult as back home I live in a city that doesn’t have access to hiking trails. The views were gorgeous and fulfilled my photography urges. We also grilled food and I received too many mosquito bites to count.

During this trip I was thrown into another Finnish habit – sauna. Sauna is a big thing here. BIG. Clothes are not a necessity, if anything they are a negative aspect. Going in the sauna with my naked teacher was an experience, but let’s just say I won’t be going naked anytime soon. After the sauna a group of us walked into the lake outside the accommodation, it felt freezing but so refreshing. I feel like I’m already becoming accustomed to the laid-back Finnish lifestyle.