In Co-operation with Learning Scoop: The Maymester period from the perspective of Mentor ry

In May 2019 eighteen students from the University of Duquesne came over to Finland for a three week long Maymester period held by Learning Scoop. This was not only the first Maymester period held together by Learning Scoop and Duquesne University but it was the beginning of co-operation between Mentor ry and Learning Scoop as well. This was an amazing opportunity for us from Mentor ry and we are looking forward for more remarkable experiences together!

Mentor ry is the subject association of students studying life-long learning and education in Tampere university. During the Maymester period our responsibility was to arrange free time activities for the Duquesne students. These programs had been planned already for almost two years in co-operation with the Duquesne University, and we were remarkably happy to finally carry out all of our plans.

The free time program for the students consisted of four different activities, two taking part on two evenings and two having a full day for themselves. The free time activities started on Wednesday May 15th with Exploring Tampere – City Orienteering on which the students got to learn about Tampere and Finland and work together as small groups, all this while being surrounded by the beautiful sceneries of Tampere. The day worked as enhancing the lectures they had learned about Finland during their first days of stay but especially worked for grouping the students together and getting them to know the city centre of Tampere.

On Thursday May 16th evening the students were introduced to a very different yet equally important side of Finland: the saunas. During the Sauna Experience the students got to try a real Finnish sauna and dipping in the lake with the example and company of Finnish students. After the sauna there was a small grill in which the guides and the students warmed up sausages – the Finnish style of course. Many of the students said afterwards that this the sauna experience was the best of their whole stay!


The program continued on Saturday May 18th with Finnish Plays and Games, in which the students got to try various different Finnish sports and games. The day was started with a sport almost familiar for the Americans: the Finnish baseball. This game has a lot of similarities to the baseball played in the rest of the world but there have been made some alterations to the rules. Nevertheless, the Duquesne students did even better at it than the Finnish students so we guessed the differences weren’t so great after all!

The other games the students got to try were Kyykkä, a sport only played in Finnish universities as well as some “yard games” all the Finnish people have played as children. The day ended with a picnic while tasting some Finnish snacks and delicacies which received a very positive response apart from the black candy called salmiakki.

The final day of the free time program was the Hiking Experience. The day started quite early with leaving by the bus to the beginning of the hike, from which we hiked for over 4 kilometers in the Finnish forest to the Kaitajärvi hut.

We had a couple of smaller breaks in between but the larger break was kept on the lakeside hut. There the students got to make Finnish style hot dogs in open fire and had the last couple of Finnish style games. The bravest ones dipped to the forest lake and in the end they claimed that to be the best experience on the whole trip. We hiked the same way back, having the last breaks before getting on the bus and back to their stay.

The whole experience in making and having the program for the students was overall an extraordinary experience. All the students from Mentor who worked as guides or hosts said they enjoyed it hugely and only wished they could have done it for more days. We as Mentor felt extremely privileged to work together with Learning Scoop and Duquesne university in creating their Maymester period here as memorable and enjoyable as possible for the students. The feedback we received from the students was extremely positive which we were so happy to hear as they were the ones experiencing it. As one feedback said: “Everything was a ton of fun! Don’t chance anything!. and we will definitely try that, only making things better when possible! Thank you Learning Scoop and thank you Duquesne University, we hope from the bottom of our hearts that we can work together again in the future!

Iiris Taubert
President of Mentor ry