Ian King

Finland

Hometown: St.John's, Florida
School: Creekside High School
Sponsor District : District 6970
Sponsor Club: St. Johns, Florida
Host District: 1430
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Lappeenranta

 

My Bio


Hello, My name is Ian King. I live in Jacksonville, Florida. Next year I will be studying abroad in Finland and I couldn't be more ecstatic! I am currentIy attending Creekside High School as a Junior. I am involved with two of the school’s clubs at the moment, the Psychology club and the "Junior Gentlemen" Club, which is a club for that offers the junior men at my school a chance at volunteer work. In my free time, I like to draw and I also enjoy playing basketball with my friends when I can. I was born in Alabama and moved to Florida when I was young. I have two siblings, an older sister named Avery who is 22, and a younger brother named Liam who is 12. I have aspired to explore the world, since I was very young. This desire came from the people that I know and people that I have met. That includes my friends, my teachers and most of all my parents, who support me in everything I do. Although I am a little nervous, I cannot wait for my journey to begin and I can't wait to see myself grow to become an experienced individual. I cannot thank the people of Rotary enough for giving me this opportunity to see the world.


"The Garden of Death" found in the Cathedral.

"The Garden of Death" found in the Cathedral.

Schedule during language camp.

Schedule during language camp.

Another painting in the Cathedral.

Another painting in the Cathedral.

View from summer cottage.

View from summer cottage.

View from a hill in Tempere.

View from a hill in Tempere.

Me in the fountain in Tempere's town square.

Me in the fountain in Tempere's town square.

First ice hockey game!

First ice hockey game!

My Baby costume.

My Baby costume.

Jokerit Game.

Jokerit Game.

U.S.A. Embassy

U.S.A. Embassy

View of Helsinki harbor

View of Helsinki harbor

Estonian street.

Estonian street.

View of harbor area

View of harbor area

Muikku from the harbor

Muikku from the harbor

Journals: Ian - Finland 2015-2016

  • Ian, outbound to Finland

    So my first blog post in sometime, I’ll start by apologizing for the lack of updates. I am truly sorry. However My new years resolution is to put up these blogs every second weekend so this is the first of those posts! Since I last left you much has happened.

    First I’ll speak about the second period of school. My schedule included 5 classes; Finnish, Cooking, Music, European History, and Art. Two weeks into the second period of school we had a week break off of school. During this time my first host family brought me to Estonia. That trip began with a 3 hour drive to the capital of Finland, Helsinki, where my host Aunt and Uncle live. We spent the first night in their house, the next day I went to explore the capital. I found it to be amazingly beautiful city, because of the fact that did not face the problems of the large cities I've been to elsewhere, such as crowded streets due to overpopulation or the “city smell” due to overwhelming pollution.

    Helsinki was an incredibly clean city with more than enough personal space. We walked around and used the trolly system to get around. We went all over the city the most notable location were the Presidents house, the train station, the Harbor area, and the US Em bassy. On our way to the Harbor we passed by the President’s house, an impressive building that hosts a massive party ever year on Finnish Independence Day, it was no where near as guarded as the White House, which I found interesting and a good example of the level of security that Finns feel. The harbor was also stunning. We walked around the edge and eventually got some food at a small stand. I tried some muikku, which is a small salty fish that was fried and served with a garlic sauce. We also walked around a small market place at the harbor.

    Once we were done with that we went to find the US embassy, we found the street that housed most or maybe even all embassies in Helsinki. I found it really cool to look at the various embassies and see different elements of culture that are plainly visible. We then went back to the city center where the train station is. The reason I find the train station to be memorable, is the statues out front, there are four identical sto ne men holding what appears to be globes, for a reason unbeknown to me these statues stand out in my mind. That afternoon we boarded the ship that would bring us to Estonia, while the boat ride over was only a few hours at most we weren't allowed to enter the city until the next morning.

    The time we spent on the boat was fun but it reminded me of staying at a hotel, the buffet we went to served some great food. The next morning we walked out into Estonia’s capital Tallinn. Tallinn is hard to describe, it is a city in which you can clearly see the history alongside the modern life. I really found the medieval architecture next to the modern shopping buildings to be quite an amazing sight. The day we spent there consisted of going to get coffee in the morning and then shopping for souvenirs. We had to board the boat again that afternoon. Once back in Helsinki we took a train to a station near to the host Uncle’s house where spent the night playing board games as well as the Host Uncle trying to teach me how to play the bass guitar. The Next day we went to a Jokerit ice-hockey game. The Jokerit team plays in the KHL, the Russian hockey league and it is the only team in Finland to do so. After the game we drove back home to Lappeenranta.

    Once I got back my friends and I started making plans for Halloween. We planned on taking the Malaysian exchange student, Emily Wong, trick or treating for the first time. We put together some Star Wars Costumes and then we were ready. My friend from Canada, Colton Wynnychuk, lives just an hour or so away in Hamina so he visited for the holiday. Although we planned on having a large group we only ended up with a small group of five; Colton, Me, Janina Tirronen, Aleksandra (Janina’s friend), and Janina’s younger cousin Elli, unfortunately Emily couldn’t make it. Trick or treating is not a very common tradition in Finland so not every house had candy, I suppose one of the causes for the lack of popularity is the temperature, as the night was close to freezing. Colton was still visiting the next day so we went to see the local hockey team, Saipa, play early in the evening, we were joined by Emily and Janina. Afterward Janina, Colton and I went to see the new James Bond movie, in the brand new theater just opened in our town. That was a great day, as it was the first time I had seen a Rotary friend in a month or so, also since then I have become much better friends with those who I spent the day with.

    In order to keep these blogs at a readable length, and to be able to add as many pictures as possible I will end this post here and pick up at the same spot in the next one. So thank you for reading this, the next one should be up in a day or so and I’ll continue to post frequently until you are all caught up.

    To see my homepage click HERE


  • Ian, outbound to Finland

    Hei! This is my first journal entry, I have been in Finland for a little over a month now, so brace yourself I have a lot to catch you up on.

    So I departed on August 1, once I landed in Europe I met the first of many new exchange student friends. Their names were Sofia Darovskikh and McKenna Middlebrook, both from New York. We flew from Amsterdam to Helsinki and arrived on August 2. From there we were met by the rest of the Inbounds to Finland and we spent the week at our Language camp.

    At camp I had a great time. I made friends from around the world, there were Mexicans, Canadians, Brazilians, Germans, Italians, and people from France, Japan, South Korea, Spain Austria and I'm sure I missed some but I can't recall which. Although I made close to 100 new friends there were three that I became especially good friends with; their names are Malcolm Dunson Todd, Cora Gehring, and Annemarie Velemir.
    During the camp we had Finnish classes separated by language/nationality. Once lessons were over we would head to sauna then play basketball, floor ball or soccer. We went into Tempere for a day trip on that Thursday. It was our first real chance to experience the Finnish culture. My new friends and I explored the city, ate doughnuts, watched a "different" public performance in which the dancers would walk like they were in slow motion and then freeze in a seemingly random pose, after a few steps. We also had a tour of the city and even visited the Cathedral in which there was some amazing art. On Saturday I met my Host Family.

    Leaving camp was tough. I had just left all my friends and family in Florida, then I spent the week with these exchange student who became my new family, and I was asked to leave them again. Although I left I will never forget that week or those friends.

    My first host family has been amazing! They have helped me get comfortable here, as well as teaching how things such as public transportation work. My host Mother has taken me to hockey games, showed me the bike route to school, taken my to a summer cottage and even a crawfish party. My Host Brother Jussi, has shown me around my new school introduced me to his friends and has invited me to hangout with them many times. My other Host Brother Kalle, is in the Army so I do not see him during the week, but on the weekends we get a chance to talk and he is very nice.

    My first week in Lappeenranta, was also the first week of school. There I was met by two other rotary exchange students, both from Mexico, Maria Herrera and Maria Mendez, as well as a german named Lisa that is on exchange with another program. For the first semester I took easy classes. I am taking two art classes, english Finnish and a sports class. My schedule changes every day. Some days I start at 8:00, some 9:30 and then on Fridays I start at 11:00! I really like the way the school system works here. I feel much more independent and in control of my education, than I did in the States. Also having free lunches is pretty awesome! I have heard many Finns say that the lunch food isn't very good but I have liked everything I've tried.

    So I also practice with the Lappeenranta basketball team, Namika. I have practice in the afternoons Monday-friday and the morning practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I went with my team to a tournament in Espoo, there I became much closer friends with my teammates.

    After returning from there my school had some events for the "freshmen." Although I'm in the second grade I participated in these events. The first was a day full of team building exercises, such as races, games, and a few blindfolded courses we had to complete with partners. During this event I made some new Finnish friends! The second event was a dress up day for the first years (again I wasn't required to dress up with them but I participated anyway). The theme was babies, so most of the girls dressed up and some other guys did as well. At the end of the day I was awarded the title of Best Costume! Plus because I dressed up many new people talked to me, people who normally are very Finnish and wouldn't usually start a conversation with a stranger.

    I have a few Finnish friends however there are only really two that I have hangout with, Kaisu Keltanen, and Konsta Urhonen. We have walked around the city, watched movies and spent time at the harbor.

    So far my Rotary club has had me hold off on coming to the meetings, however on the 21st I am scheduled to go and introduce myself to the members there. I have already met a few during the "Rotary Day" that we had in the city. During this day there was music by the harbor, as well as a few Rotary booths with information about the Rotary. I spent the day there helping the Rotarians in any way I could, I ended up selling raffle tickets for the better part of the afternoon.

    I just came back from my district camp. I was reunited with some friends from language camp. The camp was very relaxed. We had a lot of free time, but also went on a 8 km hike and had what they called "Camp Olympics." The Olympics included events like a dizzy race, a race to complete a phrase in Finnish and a quiz about Finland. In the end my team, Team Karhu(bear in Finnish), won! For winning we got a bag of Finnish candies. We then spent the night around the campfire roasting sausages. After that we went back to our cabin and watched movies until about 5:30 in the morning. Although I had to wake up at 8:50 I don't regret it in the least, spending that time with friends was worth the tired state that came with it. The rest of that day was spent in the train station, saying goodbye to those friends a second time was painful but I can look forward to the Lapland trip in November.

    So now you're all caught up! From now on I will try to update this blog every two weeks or so, so check back soon! Now I would like to thank you for reading this and being interested in my exchange. I'd also like to again thank Rotary for getting me to where I am now, without them my life would be much less interesting. Moi moi!

    To see my home page and some photos click HERE


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