Finland is the first country working on a definitive nuclear waste storage. The name is Onkalo wich means cave in Finnish. It’s a tunnel 420-meter-deep, how give access to several corridors.
Since 1980 peoples are working on this project, in order to find the better place. The final place is in the South-West of Finland, where the ground is stable and so the better for this project.
The company Posiva Ltd has stared the construction in 2004.Today the tunnel is done, if everything is fine, they will be able to use Onkalo in 2020. It will be possible to put waste for a least 100 years, before closing the site for the eternity.
Today, any country builds a site like Onkalo. But several other countries are thinking to build the same construction. Sweden will normaly start the contruction before 2020. France, USA, Canada, Japan, China, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, South-Corea are also thinking about a same project. But this project will not start before 2040 or 2050.
Different techniques are used in order to keep the nuclear waste inside the tunnel. As we can the on the picture, they are a first tunnel (1) how give access to other little bentonite tunnel (2), inside they will put the nuclear waste protected by different protection (3). And then there is the bedrock around the installation (4). To have more information check the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZI3AYI85n8
This construction is built in order to keep the nuclear waste for 100 000 years. The main questions are how to be sure nobody will ever try to come inside?; How to explain what this site is about for the future generation?
A documentary named “Into eternity” deals with this subject.
People are trying to find the smarter solution in order to aware about the danger of this site to the future generation. First, several fences are also built, only someone with high knowledge in technology can be able to open it.
They for example thought about a painting like “The scream” of Edward Munch.
But also about different symbol and difference sentences in several languages who could be the same in the future. But it’s never possible to be sure that someone will be able to understand the message.
The builder also thinks about creating legend history, a myth to informed the future generation.
However, putting information in front of the site will draw attention, but it’s really not the purpose of the builder. We don’t know how can be interpret the information in the future. Maybe the future generation will think it is a treasure, a tomb or a sanctuary.
We will see in the future if Onkalo would be the only project, or if every country will have they own Onkalo site.
During my semester in Jyvaskyla, I had the chance to be part of the cross cultural lesson. I was with different student come from all the word and also refugees come from Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria. The purpose of this lesson was to learn about the different culture and create question cart about the Finland culture and the refuge’s culture in order to create a game. This game will help news refugees to learn faster about the Finland culture and be able to adapt themselves faster to the country. I learn a lot about the life of the refugee and I think it can be interested to understand the vision they have about Finland. It’s another way to discover Finland.
So I interviewed one woman come from Iraq. In order to protect her identity, I changed her name.
Hello, can you introduce yourself?
I am Alia, I come from Baghdad, Iraq. In Iraq, I was working as a lawyer. I came to Finland, because I need my children and myself to have peace and safety. I have completed two university degrees. English language in University of Baghdad and after that I completed my law degree in the University of Baghdad.
As long have you been in Finland?
I have been here for months now, I can stay here for a months and I ask to have another visa to stay longer, I’m waiting for the answer.
Can you explain why you are here?
There is the war in Iraq and the Taliban killed my father, my husband and a lot of people I knew. I have five children so I try to find a good, safe and peaceful place for them to grown up.
Can you describe your life in Finland?
When I arrived it’s was the winter, and it was the first time me and my children saw the snow. It was really difficult and I felt really alone. But we are lucky in Jyvaskyla because, we have a dynamic association how help us a lot.
We have a little flat but it’s great and we leave with the other refugee. There are different nationality together.
We have a simple life, I still can't work but I think it’s really important to find activity to do. I’m lucky because I speak English so I had the opportunity to came to this lesson. Because a lot of refugee don’t speak English so it’s difficult for them to find an activity to do during the day. So they have nothing to do, and it's even worst to stay on a good mood.
Can you explain the main difference between your culture and the Finland culture?
For me the main difference is that in Finland people are really more open-minded that in Iraq. Is not the same religious and the woman has a difference place. For example, is my country a woman can’t do a lot of think. You have a lot of rules in my country. It’s difficult for a woman do be without a husband. When you grow up, people explained to you that it’s great to be married. I’m lucky because I had the opportunity to go to the university.
In my country you have a lot of code and rules, here is more free. In Iraq if you are different people will easily judge you, and talk about you. I never have this in Finland. For example, in Iraq even if it’s possible it is difficult to be divorced. Or in Iraq a woman is not allow to swim in the river with men. People can judge men if he is talking to you, because you are a woman.
You can really fell the difference between men and woman and people think it’s normal. But in Finland is not like this.
At school the children as the same education as if they are a girl or boy, and you cannot see discrimination.
What did you learn in Finland?
I have learned about many different cultures; I have especially learned a lot about Finland, and the rules Finnish people have. I also broke a lot of my prejudice. Before I came here, people told me that finish people are shy, and it’s difficult to star the conversation you them. But actually I don’t think it’s true. People are different than my country, here it’s a little city without a lot of noise. But if you need help I think it’s easy to find someone how will help you.
I’m really glad to be here, of course I prefer to be on my own country with my family. I started to learn Finnish and I hope I can stay in Finland for a long time, and start to work.
Thank you Alia, for taking this time with me and shared your history.
Finland is a democratic republic, the capital is Helsinki the Politics takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic and of a multi-party system based on the constitution of the first March 2000. Therefore the president is at the head of state, leads the foreign policy and he is the commander in chief of the Defense.
The president of the Republic is elected for six years by direct universal suffrage. The actual president is Sauli Niinistö since the first march 2012.
The prime minister is the head of government for the executive power. And the legislative power is vested in the Parliament.
In Finland there are 19 regions, called maakunta un Finnish and landskap in Swedish. The different regions are governed by regional councils. The main tasks of the different regions are regional planning and development of enterprise and education and also the public health.
In Jyvaskyla I leave in the region Central Finland, the Finnish name is Keski-Suomi and the capital is Jyvaskyla.
Internal conflicts or tensions
Ethnic relations: In Finland there is a tension between the Finnish-speaking majority and the Swedish-speaking minority. However, there is also a debate about the status of the Swedish language in the country.
Around 6 percent of the population speak Swedish.
At the beginning the Swedish-speaking leaved in the southwestern part of the country, and it was the language of commerce, the courts and education. At this time Finnish was a peasant language. But with the atuanalist movement of the nineteenth century, Finish became the official written and cultural language of the majority. After that political tension appeared.
Civil war :
In 1917, with the revolution, Finland took this opportunity to become independent. After that the civil war started.
The Finnish civil war started on 27 January 1918 until the 15 of May 1918. The conflict formed a part of the national, political and social turmoil caused by World War 1. The war was between the Reds, led by the social Democratic party and the Whites, led by the non-socialist, conservative-led Senate. The Whites won the war. The Whites was close to the German Reich with support from Imperial Germany. So a German prince arrived at the head of Finland. In 1918 another German prince Frederic-Charles de Hesse-Cassel tried to be at the head of Finland. Germany defeat in November 1918, and Finland became a republic with Kaarlo Juho Stahlberg was the first President in 1919.
External regional conflicts or tensions.
During the Second World War, Finland fought against the Soviet Union twice; during the Winter War (1939-1940) and the Continuation War (1941-1944).
The Winter War started because the Soviet Union wanted Finnish territories. The Winter Was ended on 13 March 1940. Finnish were not able to defend their country they lost 10 percent of the territory on 12 March 1940 for the Soviet Union. The goal of the Soviet Union was to have more territory in order to protect the city of Leningrad (St Petersburg).
After the Winter War the Finnish army needed help from the other country. Germany offered weapon deals to Finland in 1940; but with this help Finland would allow German troops to travel through Finland in order to occupy Norway. In 1941 when the German troops attacked the Soviet Union, Finland tried to recover the missing part of the country. But they loosed the war.
At the end Finland became again independent on 10 February 1947, but they never recover all the part of the old Finland.
In Finland, some customs are different than other country. But it’s not really difficult to adapt himself; you just have to respect the other.
In fact the Finns are known to be very fair and very respectful of others. Everyone is equal, no matter the gender, the age or the color.
In different than other country Finns are really direct and frank. If they need to say something, they will say it. And they are used to saying exactly what they think. But the Finns speak slowly, and are modes. Indeed modesty is an important value in Finland. So Finns peoples say what they think, but with respect, never to be mean.
They respect the other person and they want to be respect too. A way to respect them is to keep a “safety distance” between you and your interlocutor. The normal distance is one arm size between two persons. Another way is to never interrupt someone talking. It is really rude.
When I arrived in Finland someone told me that it’s normal to not talk all the time with someone. The silence is not something really negative. Two friends like to be together even if they don’t talk. A Finns person can think you are annoying if all the time you try to begin a conversation. They don’t like small talk.
Furthermore is common to say that the Finns don’t talk easily with people they don’t know, but me in Jyvaskyla I don’t agree with that In fact all the time the people are really nice when you are lost in the city, or when you need something. For example, during a walk with some friend I blokes my back. It’s was Sunday without any bus, and I needed to go to the drugstore to buy medicine and a belt for my back. So I hitchhiked, and a nice Finns family had taken me to the city center!
Punctuality is really important in Finland. It’s really rude to be late for an appointment. But some student said to me that it’s okay to be late for a lesson, but it’s not true. The punctuality is really important even if it’s a lesson and not an appointment.
The finish flag is a write flag with a blue cross. The blue cross means the different lac in Finland, and the write behind the cross means the snow.
The symbol of Finland is the lion because the coat of arms of Finland is a crowned lion on a red field, the right foreleg replaced with an armoured hand brandishing a sword, trampling on a sabre with the hindpaws.
The first of January is a public holiday, because it’s New Year!
The first of May is the Labor Day.
And the day of independence is the 6 of December.
Finland is a Christian country, so a lot of national holidays are similar to France.
The 6 of January for Epiphany, the day of for the good Friday, Easter, and Easter Monday, the Ascension, Pentecost, the saints days and the feast of Saint John. They also have the 13 of December for St. Lucia, and the 24 and 25 of December for Christmas, and the 26 of December for St. Etienne.
The most typical cultural habit of Finland is the sauna. In fact the sauna has an important place in the life of a Finn. It’s a relaxing place to go alone, with friend, family and also colleagues. It’s a really important to know that if someone invited you to go to the sauna it’s really rude to say no. The finish people normally go naked to the sauna, but they accept the swimsuit for foreign people.
Families are important for the finish people. If you are invited to have a dinner in a family it’s can be interesting to know some family habits.
Usually, the Finns remove they shoes before coming to a house. In fact with the weather the shoes are all the time wet. It’s more respectfully to take off the shoes in order to not dirty the floor.
Like in France, if you are invited to a dinner it’s good to offer a small gift to the hostess, like flowers, a bottle of wine, chocolate or the desert.
You have to remember than Finns like to have privacy, so you have to be very respectful to the hostess when you are in his house. Because the house is a private part of the family, it’s an honor to be invited in the house.
For my Erasmus semester I am in Jyvaskyla for five months. Jyvaskyla is a city in the middle of Finland with 133 344 citizens. It is the largest city in the region of central Finland. This city is not a famous city for the tourism but there are a lot of students. Indeed there are two important universities.
The name of my university is JAMK UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES. It’s one of the two universities in Jyvaskyla.
Jamk University is a public university created in 1994, there are approximately 8000 students.
There are a main campus were I have all of my different lessons. It seems that there is another campus but for the time being I never had the opportunity to discover this campus.
My first week in Jyvaskyla was an integration week, I met my tutor, and with different speaker I learned everything about the administration, and how to be a student in Jamk University. I spend my fist week in the different administration service in order to sign all of my paper for my French university, for Jamk University, to be in order with the Police… But it’s not easy because a lot of service close at 3 PM!
The current system in Finland is not the same than in France. You have to choose the different lesson you will follow. Before coming in Finland I have chosen different lesson in order to have 30 credits to validate my semester, however once there I discovered that it’s not possible to follow the different lesson. In fact some of my lessons are on the same time in my schedule, and some of my lessons are full. So I changed, I picked other lesson. After several change, I discovered today that my learning agreement is still not find! One of my lessons is actually not available.
Nevertheless the lessons are really interesting! I am lucky because I have a lot of lessons with finish student. There are a lot of French student this semester but hopefully in most of my lesson I am the only French student! So I’m with different student with different nationality. It is usual during the lesson to work in small group of student, so it’s really interesting to discover the different culture with the different student.
For the integration during the first week we didn’t have any activity during the day in order to meet the other student, but some integration party were organised but a student association. Furthermore it is not very difficult to find new friend, in fact all the people are here to meet new student and all of the student lived in the same place, so if you want to meet new people you just have to talk with your roommate or new neighbours.
All lot of activity are proposed by the university, for the moment I just tried the yoga lesson. It’s was an interesting experience because it’s was my first yoga lesson. It’s was a very relaxation yoga lesson , but the teacher spoke in Finnish, so it was a little boring and after 30 minutes I fell asleep ! Actually, I think I need to try another kind of sport lesson maybe the Zumba!
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