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Students in field

Finn-terns Meeri Kataja and Riina Rastas talk Heikinpäivä

February 1, 2019


Dropping by the Finlandia Fridays studios this chilly week are Finnish interns Meeri Kataja and Riina Rastas. Both Kataja and Rastas are working in the Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC). The FAHC brings in Finnish interns throughout the year to bring in another aspect of Finnish culture to the university and the local area.

Kataja is from Espoo, the second largest city, located near Helsinki. Studying at the University of Helsinki Social Sciences, Kataja is assisting down in the archives of the FAHC. In the archives, Kataja’s daily tasks normally include cataloging, finding research and the occasional task of translating. Kataja stated that one of the highlights of her job is seeing the Finnish artifacts from the 1800s, which are rare to see in Finland.

Rastas is from Kaarina, a town outside of Turku in southwestern Finland. Recently graduated, Rastas earned a degree in journalism from the University of Jyväskylä . For the past three months, Rastas has been working with the Finnish American Reporter (FAR). The FAR is a monthly publication published by the FAHC, highlighting Finnish-American culture. Rastas stated that working at the FAR has helped her by allowing her to express her ideas. For example, earlier in the fall, Rastas wrote an article about a woman who was interested in Finnish heavy metal and had been to several heavy metal festivals. To read the entire article and to find more information about the FAR, check out the links below.

Last week, Rastas and Kataja were able to experience Heikinpäivä, an annual month-long celebration celebrated in Hancock. While it originated in Finland, Heikinpäivä is not celebrated in its native country like it is here. Despite the cold, Kataja and Rastas said they had a fun time at the celebration, even winning the best group of the parade by wearing native Finnish costumes accessorized with homemade hobby horses.

Outside of work, Kataja and Rastas have been diving into local culture by experiencing live music at the Orpheum Theatre and visiting the Copper Country Humane Society to visit the animals. The interns have also stopped by PortagePoint to talk to people who can speak Finnish or who can understand the language.

FAr Links

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