Our stop in Joensuu, as hinted by the glamorous welcoming, was supposed to be a busy and productive one. So, after each of us had some nice breakfast with our hosts, we gathered at the North Karelia Regional Council for the morning session.
We were officially welcomed by Ms Outi Savonlahti of the International Office of UEF and participated in a workshop on Cross-Border Cooperation.
Sisko Kaarto, Director of Public Relations and Cross-Border Cooperation of the Regional Council, gave a few welcoming words to the group. Unfortunately, we would be meeting Pentti Hyttinen, the Regional Mayor and one of our supporters.
Then, Prof Heikki Eskelinen from UEF's Karelian Institute taught us about Karelia in Finland and in Russia, followed by Dr Minna Piipponen from the VERA Centre for Russia and Border Studies, who told us about the research carried out at UEF.
Later we heard from researchers Olga Davydova and Pirjo Pollanen, who presented us their work entitled "Gender and Checkpoint". They elaborated on gender issues in the border area and also gave us some advice about Russian roads, which might come in handy...
Finally, Ms Tiina Moisala and Ms Ulla Aanismaa from the Regional Council spoke of cooperation with Russia and other Eastern Border Regions in the European Union.
This interesting but long session led us to our lunch break, after which we gathered at UEF to meet the Rector, Prof Perttu Vartiainen. Over coffee, we had a lengthy talk about UEF, Student Mobility and our project. This nice meeting was topped off with the signing of the Bike of Honour.
After our meeting we visited the Faculty of Science and were introduced to many of the brilliant projects and fields of research going on at UEF. During our tour we learned about Colour studies, Andi showed what he can control with this intense stare and we might have sighted the Grinch...
In the evening, we all gathered at Sini's place for a little get together with buffet. Matt tasted reindeer meat and he was never the same again.