The day started with a bus ride from Kemi to Rovaniemi, followed by a lunch at the university restaurant.
After lunch, the students headed first to the reindeer farm, where they got to see real-life reindeer and even go on a reindeer sledge ride through the snowy landscape. It was a 500-meter ride, and it was such an incredible experience.
Did you know that in Lapland, there are more reindeer’s than humans?
It is true and each reindeer has its own owner.
Reindeers are not only cute but also play a crucial role in the local culture and economy. We also learned that reindeers are gentle creatures but might not like to be touched, especially in their antlers, as it is a sensitive area for them.
Each of us got our own Reindeer driving license from reindeer sleigh drive, we are now professionals in reindeer sledding!
After the reindeer sledge ride, we had the opportunity to have a husky sledge ride. The husky sledge ride was much faster than the reindeer sledge ride, and it was a thrilling experience. We also had a chance to pet the huskies and learn about their personalities and unique traits.
Did you know that huskies were first used widely in Alaska during the Gold Rush on Klondike? They were used to transport gear to the wilderness where there were no roads, and maintaining horses would take too much effort.
After the fun–filled visit at the reindeer farm and husky park, we headed to Santa Claus Village, where we had over an hour to explore and enjoy the winter wonderland.
It was an opportunity to feel the magic of Christmas and visit Santa Claus himself to take pictures with him. We also visited some souvenir shops and stopped for a coffee.
Did you know that the birth of the Santa Claus Village dates to the 1950s?
Incredible as it may seem, the Santa Claus Village that we know today has its roots dating back to the 1950s. The history is, that the first lady of the United States, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, paid a visit to Rovaniemi in 1950, with the aim of studying the post-war reconstruction of Lapland and Rovaniemi. During her visit, a beautiful lodge was built for guests on a piece of land located north of the Arctic Circle. This lodge went on to become what we now know as Santa’s Village, a beloved attraction for tourists from all over the world. It is fascinating to think that this iconic destination started from such humble beginnings, and it is a testament to the enduring magic of Lapland that it has since become such an important and enchanting place for so many.
Overall, the exchange students had a wonderful time experiencing the magic of Lapland and learning more about the local culture and wildlife. Making trips like this is part of the freely chosen studies for international student ambassadors, and we feel grateful for the opportunity to share these experiences with others.
- Ismo. International Student Ambassador -