Riku Rantala and Tuomas “Tunna” Milonoff, the pair known for their Madventures expeditions visited the Undergraduate Centre on Thursday 14 December, lecturing our students about the benefits of internationalisation.
By showing video clips of their travels and telling about their experiences around the world they also encouraged the students to boldly and proudly go outside their comfort zones, because it always has its rewards.
‘In foreign countries, you should always win the trust of the locals, and it may well take a few days to break the ice. When going abroad, the culture shock is real, but you should still be open for the world and dare to break your own limits.’
According to Riku and Tunna, only those good at adjusting can cope with continuous change, so you should create networks, learn to tolerate insecurity and boldly seize new opportunities. Ultimately, people are the same everywhere in the world. First, we want to satisfy our basic needs, next we want love and individuality and the feeling of being seen and heard, and, on top of that, we need some recognition as well.
Five rules of thumb on how to manage out in the world
Riku and Tunna revealed their audience of a few hundred people five rules of thumb that will help you manage everywhere in the world. The first rule was ‘Do no generalise, do not assume – ask’. ‘Eat the local food, since that helps you learn local customs and new kind of thinking.’ In Finland, this could be compared with going to sauna. ‘If you invite an exchange student to go to sauna with you, he may be reluctant to come, because he doesn't have the courage.’ Lack of courage may derive from the fact that he doesn't know what it’s all about and, therefore, he has his own assumptions. However, accepting an invitation is often the most direct way to becoming a friend of the culture.’
You should also stay focused when you meet people. You must not hurry in any way, you must memorise the names, and you must be present, which means really meeting the people. When meeting new people and shaking hands, we Finns have the bad habit of introducing ourselves by mumbling our names at the same time as the other person, thus making sure that we will certainly not remember the name of the new acquaintance.
The fourth rule of thumb is that you must not be afraid to talk. It is a good thing to be able to speak English, but we cannot encourage you enough to learn also other major world languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese. And do not be ashamed of speaking “broken English”. It doesn't really matter how you pronounce the words, since, as a Finn, you will certainly become understood. And the final rule of thumb is: Dare to become a citizen of the world. That is the recipe of success, the most valuable investment ever. When you become a citizen of the world, you learn to understand why someone or something functions the way he or it does.
‘So, take absolutely every opportunity to join an exchange programme or get a grant provided by Aalto. The whole world is open for you, and it is easy to leave when you’re a student,’ both Riku and Tunna encouraged the students.
In connection with the lecture held by Riku and Tunna, an exchange programme fair was also held. There the students had a great opportunity to ask Aalto exchange programme coordinators and cooperation partners about studying abroad. The exhibitors at the fair included the Fulbright Center, Institut Français de Finlande, Kilroy Education, Hokkaido University, Erasmus Student Network, and Career Services and the double degree programme of Aalto.