Post: Swiss “exchange student” at Verne

Swiss “exchange student” at Verne

Hei, my name is Marc and I’m an Environmental Science Master’s student from ETH Switzerland. I had the pleasure to stay in Tampere for two weeks to work and conduct interviews for my master’s thesis. The Verne research group and its open minded team was my host during that time, providing me with a place to work and also lots of insights into Finnish culture. But more to that later, let’s start from the beginning.

My thesis which is co-supervised by Assistant Professor Heikki Liimatainen is about actions, policies and adaptation measures to tackle the so-called range anxiety in electro mobility. That is the fear that an e-car will run out of charge during a trip. More concretely, I studied how many trips can be covered by e-cars and how the population values diverse actions, ranging from improved charging station networks to the use of alternative vehicles to cover long trips. As I modelled and compared both Finland and Switzerland, I decided to do focus groups and interview car users in Finland. I’m happy that I managed to arrange a two week stay and that with the help of Riku, a PhD student from Verne, a large list of Finnish participants could be organised.

So, after my arrival on a chilly afternoon in Finland, I visited TUT the following morning and met most of the Verne team. As I already knew Riku from intense e-mail contacts, I was happy to finally meet him in person. It turns out that the entire Verne team is as helpful and courteous as he is. Even though the team was not much involved in my thesis, I couldn’t have done the Finnish part without them.

Of course I did not only bury myself in work, well at least not for most of the time: discovering Finland and Tampere was my second endeavour. Although getting to know the history and architectural highlights of Tampere and admiring the beautiful view from Näsinneula over the frozen lake Näsijärvi was quite interesting, exploring cultural habits and the local cuisine was even more fascinating. My first time in a public Finnish sauna and a (very very quick) refreshment in the frozen lake at Rauhaniemi beach was probably my cultural highlight. This was unlike any sauna experience I’ve ever had before. Also, the local cuisine offered some of the most peculiar things I have tasted. Among them Salmiakki: the first I was like: “How can Finns love that?” Well it turns out that the more I tasted them, the more I started to appreciated those sweets too. The Verne team did its best to further introduce me to other Finnish delicacies, some of them quite controversial, like mämmi.

To sum up, I very much enjoyed the talks about the Finnish geography, culture, history and language with the Verne team and even managed to learn some Finnish words! I’m happy to have made some unique Finnish experiences and to have met some new friends.

In that sense, kiitos paljon Verne team for supporting and hosting me. I hope our paths will cross once again.