Brief in English


One Card For All Student Needs

The HYY-Group, the financial management corporation of the Helsinki Student Union, has planned a multi-purpose identification card for student use. The new `smart card’ could be used to borrow library books, take photocopies, pay for meals at University cafeterias, buy beer at Vanha and travel tickets at Kilroy. In practice, students would install money in the card account at different centers located throughout the University area and then use the card to pay for University services. By using the card, students can accrue bonus points which can be later used at other locations. Eating at the university cafeteria all year long could gain a discount at Kilroy for a summer trip, for example.
    Ideas for the card’s use abound. Patient fees at YTHS, the Student Health Care Foundation, could easily be taken care of with the card, and the University is even considering use as a magnetic pass-key providing entrance to dorms, gyms and study halls. With the Student Union’s permission, the card would also function as a HYY membership card, proving student status in Finland and abroad. After an analysis of technical details and profitability, the HYY-Group hopes to make final decisions about the card this December. To comment or offer suggestions, contact the HYY-Group at

Five Days Out of Seven – Student Exchange in Europe

When a Finnish student leaves as a exchange student, he rents out his apartment, gives his cat to a friend, throws his mobile phone and underwear in a bag and says a long good-bye to friends and family. In continental Europe, student exchange is radically different. When a German student leaves on exchange to Holland, he waters his plants, pours a pile of food in his cat’s bowl, packs his bookshelves and computer in the car and tells his friends he’ll meet them in the pub on the weekend. Everything is in close proximity in central Europe and the EU has made intra-country travel even easier by eliminating passports and border stations.
    Alex Diekhöfer studies technology in Groningen, Holland, an hour and a half trip from his home in Meppen. After four or five days of study there, Alex comes home for the weekend. “I bring my weekly wash home for my Mom or my girlfriend to wash.” German magazines and newspapers are easy to find in Holland and calling home is just slightly more expensive. Alex admits not even feeling like a foreigner.
    So what’s the point of doing an exchange in the first place? “I meet lots of new people here, I’m learning a new language and am learning to adjust myself to a new culture,” replies Alex. What he doesn’t say is that the language he is learning is English. His school, the Hanzehogeschool Groningen, is one of many schools in continental Europe to offer English language study programs. The majority of students are fellow foreigners. English language student subcultures are sprouting up throughout the EU, excluding for the most part the community they are situated in. In any case, the week/weekend ryhytm is becoming the norm for young EU students as Europe becomes more and more accessible. At least, for students on the continent. For Finns, however, the country’s periphery location continues to make the road home longer and much more rocky.

Continuous Problems Plague University Networks

It is 3 p.m. at the Fabianinkatu computer lab and the room is unusually empty. The reason is soon apparent – a note on a keyboard reads, “Network is down. I’m eating. Return at 3.” Ilmo Larjavaara, a political science student, spends up to 12 hours a day in the lab writing his thesis. “If the system was running, there would be at least five people lined up at the door waiting for a machine.” Crashes are no stranger to Ilmo, “Almost every day there is a time span of an hour to an hour and a half that no programs are working.” Anne Konsti’s update on her thesis is due tomorrow, “It’s a big problem that there’s no way of telling everyone that the network is down. As it is now, each of us goes one by one to ask the lab monitor what is wrong. Remarkable how those monitors manage to stay so friendly about it.” Communications student Harri Kammonen drums his fingers on the table. “After waiting in line for a machine just to read my e-mail and print something I did at home, a system failure is a real bummer. But, I suppose there’s no sense in getting upset about it, it is pretty understandable when you consider how many users there are.”
    The Computer Center’s Technical Manager Tapani Liljavaara states that the problem isn’t actually in the number of users. “The major hang-ups aren’t even technical, they are in the programs. The network utilizes equipment with a range of brand names and they are very sensitive to disturbances. This is an unfortunately long transitionary stage.” The Center has asked for funding next year to build an administrative network center independent from the networks themselves. “Until now we have been using funding solely for network expansion. Now, when the system crashes someone from Vallila must physically go and fix it.” Chief Planner of the University ADP Center Vesa Halkka advises, “Interruptions would be much shorter if people would just be patient and not do anything while the computer is down. When half a dozen `quit’ commands have been fed into the computer, it takes twice as long to start back up when its got to carry out all the commands that have been saved in its memory.”

The Ideal Food for Your Brain

What should you eat the morning before a test – when you want to be at your best? Psychotherapist Jan Erik Sundström offers advice on the subject. First of all, colorful food is healthy. Red tomatoes, green cucumbers and yellow peppers have plenty of vitamins, carbohydrates and antioxidants. According to recent studies, the brain needs so many vitamins and antioxidants that they are difficult to get even with a healthy diet. Sundström recommends one Multitabs, one Vitamin C and one fish oil tablet a day for everyone that wants to fend off senility in old age. The brains need a lot of oxygen, which is transmitted to the brain in the bloodstream. Saturated `bad’ fats block arteries, inhibiting the flow of oxygen in the blood and should be avoided. Fish and soy products, on the other hand, are good sources of fats which repair and protect the brain. Green tea is best with meals and a teaspoon of fructose stirred in sends up a healthy sugar energy source. The correct amount of sugar at the right time can make anyone sharp – if only for a moment.

N.Y.T. Defends Young People

N.Y.T. had its television debut three years ago as nuorten uutiset (Young Person’s News). The show covered politics, culture and the latest fads in short segments. As time went on, the makers of the show wanted a change in the format and a more serious angle. Now, in 1996, N.Y.T. airs every Monday at 10:30 p.m. The program lasts an hour and a half and is focused around a different theme each week, examples including atypical work relationships and vegetarianism. Common among the shows is a focus on issues confronting twenty to thirty year olds in contemporary Finland. N.Y.T. Producer Mikko Räisänen explains, “We feel that young people are a group that is always being kicked in the head and never defended. Therefore, it is important that one program makes it a point to discuss issues connected with young people in particular.” N.Y.T. presents politics in a way that gains people’s interest. Heli Koivunen, one of two N.Y.T. broadcasters, comments, “If politics can be seen as a part of managing a person’s life, then it is sure to interest younger people, too. If we interviewed just one more politician in a blue suit, no one would be interested.”

Cruel Princesses of Love

Young women of today sleep with whomever they want – taking advantage of them, laughing and enjoying. The best lovers can even be passed on to a friend. Women have embraced the cruel reality of modern love and grab the first man that appeals to them without qualms. In three years, 18 year old Isabel has slept with over 30 men and 15 women. Nothing about her is usual, except perhaps her need to bring color into her life with sex and romance. “I feel strong as a woman. I capitalize on my sensual power over men and I can’t always be bothered to see that he gets more than physical satisfaction. I make sure that I attain a mystical sense of sensuality, mentally and bodily. But after that I’m not interested.”
    Breaking the stereotypes of gender behavior is part of the game. “I greatly enjoy behaving brutally as a woman and confounding men. I make love and walk out the door without saying a word and he’s left with his mouth hanging open.” Isabel still believes in true love, however. “I am probably quite an optimist. Some day I’ll meet the right one.” Teija, 26, admits being capable of extreme coldness in her relationships. “A few years ago I met a foreign guy and he began to act as if we were in a serious relationship so I went along with it, even though I had decided to be alone for awhile. He had a lot of money and a car. One summer went well. I saw incredible places, beautiful cities and ate exotic food. Our relationship ended when I had seen all of his country.”