Posted by Timothy FitzGerald on May 08, 2019
President King and Jenna
Jenna spoke to us today about her one year exchange in Canada; and presented club President – Dave King with the banner from her sponsor club The Rotary Club of Puijo, Suomi (Finland). The banner depicts mountains with their tower (like CN Tower but only 150 metres high), the city skyline and the sea.  But for this year the Rotary Club of Simcoe along with host families and Holy Trinity School is her home.
Jenna showed us pictures of her family and friends in Finland, her two dogs, her brother’s rabbit and sites around her home in the city of Kuopio. Maps of Finland showed changing borders over 600 years with encroachments and returns by both Sweden and Russia. The story goes that when drawing the eastern border, circa 1947, that Stalin put his thumb into the otherwise straight line eastern border to include a large nickel deposit (strategic metal) in Russia. We asked Jenna about their Russian neighbours. She said the predominate culture is that people either love them or dislike them.
Jenna finds Canadians friendly and outgoing. She explained with cartoons that Finlanders only say hello to people they know. The caricature on the bus avoids eye contact with someone they don’t know hoping they will not sit in the empty seat beside them (really, that happens in Canada as well)! Jenna finds school easier in Canada. Finland has preschool but Grade 1 starts at age 7 and learning continues on a more intense basis.
Jenna’s parents are coming to Simcoe in June to coincide and see Jenna perform with the Holy Trinity Concert Band. Garry MacMillan, our Exchange Student Coordinator, reminisced that when he first reviewed Jenna’s Rotary Exchange Application that she had listed interests mostly in the “Arts”. But since that time Jenna now lists as her memories numerous sports and outdoor activities – winter camping in Algonquin Park, attending a Buffalo Bills game last fall (which in Buffalo’s open air stadium can often be a winter camping adventure itself), skating on the canal in Ottawa, curling, swimming, skiing at Holiday Valley. Exchange student field trips and conferences included New York City and Central Park for four days, Niagara Falls, Toronto and the CN Tower, Jamestown Zoo, and Pumpkinfest in Waterford.
For all of this Jenna says “Kiitos” (thank you).