Our Antiracist Reading List’s Final Theme-Banned Books

We are slowly approaching the end of the academic year, which means the sun starts to come out melting the snow and the students are rushing to finalize all their studies for this year. It also means that our Monthly Antiracism Reading List is coming to another end. This year, for the second time, we divided the books into three themes, to give more context for each recommended book. This year our themes were: Institutional Racism, Indigenous Knowledge and finally Banned Books.


Before going into our final theme, I want to highlight certain contemporary issues concerning our second theme, Indigenous knowledge. Today, we witness devastating and horrific issues concerning the rights of indigenous populations and their land. For instance, we see active genocides happening in Palestine and Congo, to mention a few, when we scroll our social media feed, hence why we also decided to recommend books touching upon these issues and communities. The struggle is certainly still ongoing and there are so many more important books that we could still recommend. Therefore, if the topic interests you, I strongly encourage you to see the extended list of books by the Turku library ( FREE PALESTINE! | Vaski-kirjastot (finna.fi)) and to visit Kirjakahvila, which also has books on the topic (either to be borrowed or bought).


Then to our final theme, namely Banned Books. But what does this mean? Well, with banned books, we do not entail hurtful or violent books that have been banned for a fair reason, but rather books that have been banned due to addressing issues of discomfort, to some. These books deal with issues such as racism, injustice, and criticism of an institute or include sexually explicit content, swearing or mention of drug use or alcohol consumption. I would argue that many reading this would consider these topics to be well-digested and accepted to be read, however, some places condemn these books and remove them from any shelf. Regardless of the books being classics and dwelling on contemporary topics or giving representation to those often misrepresented, they are seen as evil and blacklisted.


It is unfortunate to see the restriction of knowledge and stories, hence we dedicate the last three book recommendations to this theme. The books that we are going to highlight are mainly banned in the United States for various reasons. These books are across-the-board novels, since the academic year is coming to an end, we want to highlight other types of literature than academic texts, which you read during the summer while enjoying the sun and a nice cold beverage. Hopefully these books, along with the other recommended books over the year, have and will be of interest to our readers and spark new ways of thinking and learning.

Bridging Academia and Advocacy: Navigating Transformative Internships While Studying: From Classroom Insights to Real-world Impact

By Nia Sullivan


As a recent graduate from the Social Exclusion Masters program at Åbo Akademi University, my academic journey provided a robust foundation for understanding the intricacies of societal inequalities. As a student transitioning from academia to the professional world, I completed two transformative internships with Think Africa ry and Amnesty International, focusing on project coordination and activist initiatives in Finland. These internships fostered influential connections and affirmed my competence, ambition, and potential. This blog post serves as a reflective narrative on my journey, underscoring the pivotal role of internships in translating academic knowledge into real-world impact.

Bridging Theory and Practice

My academic endeavors equipped me with an essential understanding of social exclusion and gender studies. However, as I embarked on my internships with Think Africa ry and Amnesty International, I quickly realized the distinct value of applying theoretical knowledge to my perspectives of practical scenarios. Understanding the circulation of constraints that prevent individuals from full social, economic, and political participation and access was influential during my internships as both organizations work with community and societal matters. Familiarity with social exclusion theories formed a solid basis for capturing societal challenges, accentuating the nuances, and nurturing inclusivity during my internship experiences. Next, I will discuss my internship experiences and my most significant takeaways.

Think Africa Journey: Women’s Entrepreneurial Program

During my project coordinator internship with Think Africa, I immersed myself in the vibrant world of entrepreneurship and social impact. The Women’s Entrepreneurial Program encouraged community members to acquire skills in entrepreneurship through insightful workshops and training. From orchestrating events that fostered economic empowerment to collaborating with diverse stakeholders, this experience honed my project management skills and ignited a passion for community upliftment. I acquired knowledge in budgeting, timelines, reporting, risk management, and defining and directing project goals. Collaboration, prioritization, and building a professional network in Finland were significant takeaways from this position. I remain involved with Think Africa, serving as the General Secretary and partnerships lead. Think Africa regularly offers internship opportunities for students of various fields. I encourage everyone to check them out!

Amnesty International: Activism, Anti-Racism, and Amplifying Voices

My internship with Amnesty International (Finland) ushered me into the realm of activism, where my focus shifted from economic empowerment to human rights and social justice. Notably, this venture emphasized welcoming opportunities and collaboration. My internship was intended as a six-month position within the activism team; nevertheless, I was asked to stay for eleven months and collaborated with the activism, advocacy, outreach, fundraising, and communications teams. My experience working with exceptional colleagues and my involvement in campaigns and outreach initiatives greatly influenced my personal and professional life. This experience enabled me to amplify the voices of marginalized individuals and contribute tangibly to advocacy efforts through research, writing activism blogs, and working with local and international activists. I remain involved with Amnesty International and urge students in the Social Exclusion Program to become engaged in their local Amnesty groups!

Unlocking Opportunities

When exploring internship opportunities, consider leveraging Åbo Akademi’s career services and networking opportunities. Consistently cultivate connections with professors and become involved in your community. I recommend researching organizations aligning with your interests, which is how I learned about my internship opportunities. It is valuable to utilize informational interviews to gain insights and to reach out to professors, mentors, or professionals in your desired field for guidance. Persistence is vital; stay proactive and be prepared to showcase your confidence and adaptability during interviews. Internships offer experience in addition to establishing connections and exploring potential career paths.


Both internships highlighted the significance of effective leadership, collaboration, and adaptability. Working alongside professionals, activists, and volunteers has contributed significantly to my personal and professional growth. Internships extend beyond skill acquisition; they shape career goals, provide networking opportunities, and open doors to unanticipated opportunities. Including these internships in my study experience highlighted the interplay between academia and real-world engagement, which forms understanding and impactful action. The transformative power of internships illuminated my academic journey. The combination of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience has catalyzed my evolution into a proactive agent of positive transformation. I invite students in the Social Exclusion Program to recognize the potential of internship experiences in shaping a future characterized by empathy, innovation, and equity.

In Loving Memory of Maryam Lashgarian

On October 9th 2023, we commemorated the passing of our student, our tutor, our course mate and our friend Maryam Lashgarian. She was also much more, a daughter, a sister and a mother and her passing left us with much sadness. During the memorial, family and friends shared memories and thoughts in her honour, orally or via the condolence book.


I also want to share a dear memory of Maryam, which I was unable to voice during the memorial.


In September of 2022, Maryam reached out in desire to make a tribute to show awareness and solidarity to the ongoing suffering of Iranian women as the result of the obligatory veiling. This act was especially to protest the killing of the  22-year-old Masha Amini at the hands of the Islamic Republic, which also resulted in women showing solidarity by cutting their hair. I assisted Maryam in coordinating the set-up of a table, which consisted of pictures, articles, flowers and a piece of cut hair, in the Arken lobby. This act and how it was set up with genuine thought, showed solidarity to the ongoing protest. The table was beautifully set, where many university students and staff took part and awareness and knowledge were definitely shared about the tragedy.


I wanted to uplift this initiative because I think it symbolizes what a beautiful person Maryam was. This act symbolized her passion for justice, not only in her studies but in her philosophy, activism and everyday life. She had a kind, loving and thoughtful soul and heart, which always considered the people around her. Her contributions, ideas and memories will live on, despite her presence will truly be missed.


Rest in Peace

Rest in Power


Additionally, my deepest condolences to her family. I hope you have strength in these hard times and that you are taking care of yourselves.



The Antiracist Reading List is BACK for it’s Third Season!

Welcome to the new academic year!


We hope the summer has been restful and joyful for you and that you have the energy and motivation to start the new academic year, regardless if you are a newcomer or an “oldie” to the program.


The start of a new academic year also entails the start of a new Antiracist Reading List. Once again we will recommend one book per month for the whole academic year. We will also, similarly to last year, have three themes that we will recommend books in, meaning three books per theme. Our themes this year will be Institutional Racism, Indigenous Knowledge and Banned Books.  Our first theme will be Institutional Racism and the first book we are recommending within this theme is Sara Ahmed’s book On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (2012). 


What are the Consequences of the Rwanda Scheme in a Geopolitical Context: The Domino Effect and Why Rwanda?

Written by Rose Armitage


The announcement and implementation of the UK’s new scheme will have consequences for the global geopolitical space. There is this understanding that it may create a geopolitical domino effect amongst many other countries. Furthermore, the safety of Rwanda to receive high amounts of deportations from multiple countries has also not been assessed.


 Countries Becoming Deportation Machines

Asylum-seeking systems are widely inadequate in economically advantaged countries. Fekete (2005) classified the European approach to migration as becoming a deportation machine where trauma and human rights abuses are disregarded. Many governments adopt the position that migration may threaten the stability of the country but also use the trope through party politics as a mechanism to cater towards populist movements. Haselsberger (2014) points out that borders can have a functional geopolitical and symbolical role. Symbolically, the scheme sets a precedent that asylum-seeking can be approached by the manipulation of power through the agreement of a financial deal instead of attending to obligations and responsibilities. It is pointed out by human rights organisations, and likewise by the UNHCR and the EU that as more countries adopt more deportation schemes, more will follow causing a domino effect (Al Jazeera, 2021) as it gives a green light to abuse people’s human right to claim asylum. However, it is argued that because the public response was generally negative, it would not contribute to other countries taking the same path, especially due to past deportation schemes, such as Australia expelling migrants to the island state of Nauru. (Höni, 2022). These examples and Rwanda could act more as a caution instead of an example. (Barry, 2022). Despite there being an inference that the scheme could be an example acting as a deterrent, the evidence suggests that more governments in economically advantaged countries are adopting similar methods. It is a dangerous example to set, a “socially constituent power practice” (Hasselberg, 2014), as it doesn’t commit to tackling the crisis with care and acknowledging the needs of the individuals but instead threatens those in difficult and vulnerable situations.


The Domino Effect

There are a handful of countries in recent years that have adopted deportation schemes that are strung with financial deals including Australia, Israel, Denmark, and US. (Al Jazeera, 2021). BMJ (2022) points to assessments of current deportation schemes such as in Australia that have led to humanitarian catastrophes with heavy death tolls. From the notion of “the assertion that every future encapsulates history” (Kwazema, 2022), as more countries adopt deportation schemes history is being written for the future to encapsulate the same exclusionary ideas. If more countries do not sustain their obligations in relation to asylum seeking it is more likely that it will materialise as a normality. Significantly, as we are living in an age with globalised mass-media showpiece politics in the geopolitical setting can be dangerously utilised more if countries advertise their refugee system as hostile fleeing asylum seekers will be less willing to seek help and safety when in need. In addition, it will also put on more pressure on the countries that are processing asylum seekers justly. It is hypothesised that once Denmark brought in new legalisations in June 2021 that allow for the removal of people once they were made aware that the UK was exploring the option with Rwanda Demark proceeded to arrange a similar agreement evidencing this domino effect in action. (Höni, 2021).


Why Rwanda?

Rwanda has agreed to the partnership due to the economic benefits it will receive but also as an opportunity to become more involved as an international player. Shortly after the scheme was announced, the Human Rights Watch (2022) sent a letter to the UK Home Secretary strongly urging the government to reconsider the plan. It is a clear abrogation of the UK’s international responsibilities and obligations whereby the scheme would be acting against the 1951 Refugee Convention. The letter also detailed the human rights issues occurring in Rwanda related to repression of free speech, arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, and torture by Rwandan authorities; moreover, it stressed it is a country still recovering and dealing with the national trauma of the genocide. It is questionable currently how viable and effective the integration of refugees (who have been deported against their will) into Rwanda given their political instabilities, injustices, and national trauma. As UK and Denmark have both made deals with Rwanda along with Switzerland and Canada paying Rwanda to take Libyan refugees since 2019 (Höni, 2022) it has not been investigated the impacts of accepting these deportations from several different countries on the Rwandan society.



Conclusively, whilst the argument has been put forward that the UK’s plan and similar plans in other countries will not cause a geopolitical domino effect of other countries following suit, I would disagree. Countries that introduce legislation and systems that blatantly violates human rights has a role in influencing other countries. More may orientate themselves towards the same power plays especially amongst high rising populism. This results in further contributing to ethical blind spots and disregarding’s people’s needs and well-being.



Al Jazeera. 2021. Danish parliament approves law to deport asylum seekers. Available from: Danish parliament approves law to deport asylum seekers | Migration News | Al Jazeera

Barry, E. 2022. Britain Is Sending Asylum-Seekers to Rwanda. It Sets a Dangerous Precedent. Time, Available from: U.K. Sends Asylum-Seekers to Rwanda, a Dangerous Development | Time

BMJ. 2022. UK-Rwanda migration plan fails to safeguard refugees’ medical care, say campaigners. Available from: UK-Rwanda migration plan fails to safeguard refugees’ medical care, say campaigners |B The BMJ

Fekete, L. 2005. The deportation machine: Europe, asylum and human rights. Race and Class, 47(1), pp.64-78.

Höni, J. 2022 Out of Sight, out of Mind?: Why the UK-Rwanda Deal on Offshore Migration Processing May (Not) Serve as an Example for Other Immigration-Skeptic States in the Global North, Völkerrechtsblog.

Haselsberger, B. 2014. Decoding borders. Appreciating border impacts on space and people. Planning Theory & Practice, 15(4), pp.505-26.

Human Rights Watch. 2022. Public Letter to UK Home Secretary on Expulsions to Rwanda. Available from: Public Letter to UK Home Secretary on Expulsions to Rwanda | Human Rights Watch (hrw.org)

Kwazema, M. 2022. The Future as an Agency of Social Exclusion: Analysing the Ethnopolitical Exclusion of the Igbo People of Nigeria. In: Alemanji, A.A., Meijer, C.M., Kwazema, M., Benyah, F.E.K. (eds) Contemporary Discourses in Social Exclusion. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.


Read Rose’s first blog post here.

Critiquing the UK’s Rwanda Deportation Scheme: How it Deviates from Tackling the Issues Within the Migration System and Abuses Human Rights and Asylum-Seeking Obligations  

Written by Rose Armitage


Social exclusion in a geographical migration context can be defined as political and economic power structures at play that discriminate individuals moving from one place to another. UK’s Rwanda Scheme first announced in 2022, is a prime example of geographical social exclusion as it violates the country’s human rights obligations for people to claim asylum safely. I want to discuss the additions and damages of media and political discourses and how perception and language feed into persisting problems of division by power, the relationship between law and showpiece politics and what this means for human rights of asylum seekers. An asylum seeker can be defined as an individual seeking international protection due to fleeing their country of origin because of fear of persecution and a refugee is an asylum seeker who has been legally recognised (Amnesty International, 2019).


What is the Rwanda Scheme?

The Rwanda Scheme is a financial deal between the UK and Rwanda which implements systematic deportation of people who enter the UK to be deported to Rwanda if they enter the UK ‘unofficially’. However, it’s virtually impossible to claim asylum unless already in the country; therefore, the plan creates a paradoxical situation for asylum seekers. Reports (Sky, 2022) state that migration politics have long been susceptible to language that contributes to a perception that migration and asylum seeking is an issue of securitization. Securitization, in the context of international relations, refers to approaching an issue with the mindset that a certain issue is a crisis; therefore, it should be approached with urgency, threat and defence (Munster, 2012). The mobility of people whether migration or asylum seeking should never be considered an issue of securitisation. Historically, deportation has an association with crime; between the 16th and 18th century, convicts were transported from Britain and Ireland to various penal colonies such as Australia. As asylum-seeking is increasingly viewed as a securitization rather than a humanitarian issue, the dimension and association of criminality stick. In politics, the topic of migration is handled with the labels of “illegal” and “legal”. Furthermore, there is also a frequent use of the term “bogus” and “irregular migration”; within the former prime minister of Britain, Boris Johnson’s, speech we hear this terminology along with phrases like “These vile people smugglers are abusing the vulnerable” (Gov.co.uk, 2022) said with hypocrisy as, after all, what is deportation if not people smuggling and what is more vulnerable than doing this against someone’s will. Since last year’s speech the new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, consistently remarks on the implementation of the deportation scheme and states deportations will happen “within days” and not months or years (Guardian, 2023).

Not only does the scheme impact the victim but further the hostility of marginalised individuals living in the UK. This political and media discourse generates exclusivity and racism which indirectly impacts xenophobia and racism in the UK. This intensifies the social exclusive lens of many people, encouraging support from those who hold populist ideals.


The Root of the Problem

The scheme alludes to solving migration issues as the UK government expects that the scheme will be a deterrent for asylum seekers coming to the UK. However, statistics show that there has been a minor change in the number of asylum seekers entering the UK since the scheme was announced (BBC, 2022). Chaloner et al. (2022) indicate that for several decades, the Home Office has consistently opted for methods that deter people from migrating and claiming asylum in the UK. Changes in the system are rarely implemented, despite presenting a rhetoric that the numbers are unmanageable. Chaloner et al. (2022) rightly categorise the government’s method as one of “disposing of” as opposed to a deterrent. Several organisations confirmed that such a scheme is unlawful and incompatible with Art. 31 (1) of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which forbids penalization of refugees for illegal entry (Höni, 2022). Despite this, in January 2023 after a long legal process, the high court upheld ruling the scheme as lawful, meaning in the coming months the plan can be actualised. Human Rights Watch (2022) also analysed that the plan would create a 2-tier refugee system through the categories of “illegal” and “legal”. Although the implementation of the scheme would make it very hard and restricted for people to claim asylum through the “legal” way, as you must be within the country to do so, the whole thing is barbaric. The only requirement to obtain refugee status should only ever be moving away from the threat of persecution or serious harm. The issue of people entering the country “unofficially” is a clear indicator of the failings of the UK government to provide safe and easy accessibility in the first place. Furthermore, the Rwanda scheme is a clear “structural, institutional or agentive process of repulsion or obstruction,” (Fischer, 2011), which will solidify a systemic exclusive nature in the future.


What Needs to Happen?

The scheme attributes against the needed changes within the migration system as discourse shifting is needed to able to help those in need. What is meant by discourse shifting is a change from viewing asylum-seeking with an exclusive, securitized, and hostile nature and towards being viewed as a humanitarian and social crisis. Deportations need to stop they are cruel and inhumane but also expensive and resource-consuming. A charity, Migrant Action (2021) understands that the UK needs to adopt changes that undergo research-based methods to grasp why the system is ineffective and failing so many. In addition to this, it is salient to transform these hostile environments so that within the many stages of the migration system, it is addressed as humanitarian as opposed to a legal battle. There have been numerous accounts of those who have been threatened by deportation which has severely impacted their mental health. Caato (2022), a writer for Al Jazeera, reported people having suicidal thoughts and going on hunger strikes in protest of the scheme. Campbell (2017) investigated the complexities and the faults of the UK’s migration system and concluded that it was an extremely lengthy process, involving several language tests and court hearings; any inconsistencies in paperwork may threaten the person’s chance of gaining refuge and put many at cumulative disadvantages. In addition to this, it is not uncommon for someone to get lost within the system. The mess of the migration with the addition of the scheme will catalyse a humanitarian crisis, as it will provide systematic efficiency and contribute to a harsher inside/outside dichotomy.



The UK’s move to further perpetuate social exclusions as a securitization issue, creating a framework where there’s a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to be an asylum seeker, is damaging to social exclusion in a geopolitical context as undermining international standards contributes to the ineffectiveness and protection of them when they are violated. Conclusively, the announcement has treacherously stimulated public uproar, creating a divisive showpiece that is using time and resources that could be diverted elsewhere. It alludes to solving migration issues, in contrast to getting to the root of the issue; there should be a focus on attending to these inefficient systems that are failing many people and perpetuating these issues further.



Amnesty International. 2019. Do you know the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker? The most common refugee terminology explained. 24 January. Available from: What’s the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker? (amnesty.org.au)

BBC, 2022. What is the UK’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda? Available from: What is the UK’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda? – BBC News

Caato, Mohamed Bashir. 2022. Al Jazeera. ‘I’ll take my life’: UK refugees being deported to Rwanda despair. Available from: ‘I’ll take my life’: UK refugees being deported to Rwanda despair | Refugees News | Al Jazeera

Campbell, J. 2017. Bureaucracy, Law, and Dystopia in the United Kingdom’s Asylum System. Routledge: London

Chaloner, J. Baggaley, R. Ryan, B. Nellums, L. 2022. Deter or dispose? A critique of the relocation of asylum applicants to Rwanda and its public health implications. Regional Health, 18 100442.

Gov.co.uk. 2022. PM speech on action to tackle illegal migration: 14 April 2022. Available from: PM speech on action to tackle illegal migration: 14 April 2022 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Guardian. 2023. Rishi Sunak says people arriving in UK illegally will be deported ‘within days by Jessica Elgot and Rajeev Syal. 2 February. Available from: Rishi Sunak says people arriving in UK illegally will be deported ‘within days’ | Immigration and asylum | The Guardian

Höni, J. 2022 Out of Sight, out of Mind?: Why the UK-Rwanda Deal on Offshore Migration Processing May (Not) Serve as an Example for Other Immigration-Skeptic States in the Global North, Völkerrechtsblog.

Migrant Action. 2022. WHAT WE DO. Available from: Migrant Action

Munster, R V. 2012. The concept of Securitization. Oxford Bibliographies. Available from: Securitization – International Relations – Oxford Bibliographies

Sky. 2022. What is the Rwanda deportation scheme and why is it controversial? 14 June. Available from: What is the Rwanda deportation scheme and why is it controversial? – YouTube

Read Rose’s second blog post here.

Possible Summer Activities



We are only a month away from the end of this academic year, meaning that the summer holiday is soon upon us! The summer can be spent in various ways, like visiting family and friends, going on a vacation, reading that book you have been planning to read all semester long or simply enjoying the summer sun. In this blog post, we have collected some ideas of how to spend your summer if you choose to stay and spend your summer holiday in Turku.


work during the summer

The summer should hands down be a time for relaxation and a time to charge one’s batteries. However, some might be interested in doing some work, whether that is academic work or non-academic work. Here you can find a list of both types of work that you can do during the summer.

    • Starting with academic work. Many of our students might begin doing research for their thesis during the summer, which can benefit the workload of thesis writing in the fall. Some of the university libraries are also open during the summer and it is worth visiting their webpage for more information if you need to borrow a book or two. The university space is also open for students during the summer if they possess an HID key. Read more on how to receive one here ( log in with university credentials).
    • The Open University at ÅAU offers summer courses which can be found here.
    • The summer can also be an ideal time to do an internship. More info on internships can be found here or by contacting the staff of the master’s program.
    • If you are not interested in doing any academic work during the summer but would like to receive more career-related experiences we recommend a summer job. You can see the site for JobTeaser, which advertises internships and summer jobs on their site, but you can also see the vacant summer job positions on Career in Southwest Finland.  You can also see the following sites for summer jobs: Duunitori, Jobly, Oikotie and some organizations also market their open positions on Facebook or on Instagram.

Summer Jobs" Images – Browse 32 Stock Photos, Vectors, and Video | Adobe Stock

Activities during the summer

However, the summer is, as mentioned, meant for relaxing and work is not mandatory. The master’s program is scheduled and planned to be completed during the academic year, so there is no need for studies to take place during the summer, only if one has the desire to. In the summer we do encourage our students to take a vacation if possible to have the necessary energy for the next academic year. Here are some summertime activities you can do if you decide to spend your holiday in Turku.

    • Visit the archipelago. The Southwest region in Finland has a beautiful and peaceful archipelago that is easy to visit by bus or by boat. You can visit some of the smaller islands on a day trip or even stay at the site for some nights and rent a cabin. For more info about the archipelago and how to visit the islands kindly see Visit Turku’s webpage.
      Turun saaristo - vuokramökit ja majoitus: 86 kpl | Gofinland.fi


  • Attend a music festival! During the summer there are many events happening in Turku. Music events being is one of them. Annually music festivals are Kesärauha, Aura Fest, DBTL (Down By the Laituri) and Ruisrock to mention some of the bigger happenings. These festivals have both Finnish and international artists.

Kesän Ruisrock peruuntuu koronavirustilanteen vuoksi | Turku.fi


  • If music festivals aren’t your scene, there are also other events happening in the summer, like a medieval fair, the Paavo Nurmi marathon and various other events that you can find on the official site of the city of Turku or on Visit Turku’s webpageYou can also visit the Moominworld located about an hour from Turku centre.

The Medieval Market Of Turku Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock


    • Enjoy the riverside in Turku. The Aura River that runs through the city of Turku also comes alive in a different way during the summer. You can, for instance, spend a lovely sunny day by the riverside and enjoy an ice cream from one of many ice cream kiosks. You can also enjoy a nice beverage at one of the many bar boats, such as Donna or Papa Joe. But you can also walk along the river and look at the scenery on both sides of the river, all the way from the Turku castle to the Cathedral to the lovely park area upstream.
  • Top 10 tekemistä Turussa - Kohteena maailma


    • Picnic in a park. There are multiple parks located around the city, which offer a nice break from city life and an opportunity to enjoy nature. Parks near the centre where you can spend a nice day having a picnic with friends, get your tan going or read a book are Kuppittaan Park, Vartiovuori, Puolaanpuisto, Tuomaanpuisto, The park surrounding the Paavo Nurmi stadion and Samppalinnanpuisto.
  •  70+ ilmaista Turku & Suomi kuvaa - Pixabay


    • The City of Turku also has multiple outdoor trails, with various different themes and distances. Some of the trails are fitness oriented, these trails include stairs and hills, while other trails are in nature parks or culture-themed trails, such as a love excursion in Turku following different love stories in the city and a walk following war traces from the civil war and the Second world war.  These trails are easy to follow by downloading the pdf from the website and a fun way to explore the city with friends or family. You can find the different trails here.
    • Do nothing! Relaxing also entails not doing anything! Just enjoy your time, relax, remember to keep yourselves hydrated and take care of yourselves.The Beauty of Finnish Summer - Sunset reflections on lake … | Flickr

What To Do After Receiving Your Acceptance Letter?

Åbo Akademi University sent out the Acceptance Letters to all admitted students on March 31st, 2023 and all students should have also received a Welcome Letter from the program. Having received these letters we hope you are excited about this next chapter in your life, but you might also be filled with questions about what to do next? No worries, we in the program have compiled a list of things to do after you get your letter.  We know that the process is different for all students depending on country of origin and nationality, however, we wanted to gather a general checklist to help you with the process of arriving safely here in Turku Finland.


Checklist after receiving your acceptance letter to the program


✅ Accept or decline your position. This is the first step all students should do, namely to either accept your position or decline it and we kindly ask all students, regardless of the decision, to do so as soon as possible.  If you choose to accept your position, we are happy and eager to meet you in the fall, and the earlier you accept your position the sooner you can start with all the necessary preparation to start your studies. Alternatively, if you decide to decline your position, for whatever reason, it means that your position will most likely go to a student on the waiting list.  In other words, the earlier you decline the more time you will give to another student to start the process of starting their studies at ÅAU.


✅ Book an appointment at the Embassy. Yearly, we have students that are unable to start their studies in the fall as scheduled, many times due to delays with the embassy. This is why we want to stress the urgency of booking an appointment at the embassy in time and as soon as possible. This process can be time-consuming and the estimated time duration for each applicant can easily be extended. There are various reasons for this, mainly that there are many students who aspire to arrive in Finland in the fall, leading to the embassies having plenty of workloads. Additionally, many of the applications are handled during the summer, when many are on vacation, and the staff is fewer than usual. Due to these reasons, we kindly ask all incoming students to book a time at the embassy in good time, since it does take longer than one might assume. In other words, let us repeat, book your appointment at the embassy in good time.


✅ Plan your arrival in Turku, Finland. Every student’s process to arrive in Turku is different, depending plenty on the student’s country of origin and nationality. However, planning one’s travel is essential. As there are different requirements for entering Finland we kindly ask all students to see the  Finnish Immigration Service’s webpage for more detailed information.

    • Additionally, health insurance is mandatory for all students who are non-EU/EEA nationals coming to ÅAU. The university has information on this (see here). There are many different insurances you can apply for, but some of our students (and alumni) recommend Swisscare insurance.
    • We also recommend that when you plan your arrival to Turku, to also book your flight tickets in advance. The prices are usually cheaper the earlier to purchase them and this also helps you place a timeframe for your travels. However, do not book your ticket too early so you do not risk having to rebook the ticket, if you would not have gotten a residence permit by the time of your planned travel.
    • When you have started the process of all the necessary paperwork that is needed for you to start your studies, start looking for an apartment. This can also be a long process, since many students, national and international, are in looking for an apartment in the fall. Many students apply for housing via TYS, or Turku Student Village FoundationTYS has many housing opportunities in different locations in Turku, but the accommodations that are closest to the campus of ÅAU are Aitioipaikka, Ikituuri, Nummenranta, Tavastia, Tyyssija, YO-kylä Itä, YO-kylä Länsi, and YO-talot. However, the other locations that TYS also has accommodations at are also an approximately 15-30 min bus or slightly longer bike ride from the campus and Turku city centre.


Lastly, if you have any questions regarding the admissions process kindly reach out to the admissions office at ÅAU. If you have program-specific questions, such as about courses or program structure, you can reach out to any of the personnel at the program. However, kindly note that during the first week of your studies, called the orientation week, you will most likely receive answers to all the questions you might have, which aren’t essential for you to know before your arrival. In other words, focus on arrival, and then you can focus on further issues and questions. We kindly also recommend you take a look at our blog page on Starting Your Studies.


Good luck with each and everyone’s process of arriving in Turku, Finland. We eagerly await your arrival.

The Day of Minna Canth

On March 19th we celebrate the day of Minna Canth and the day of equality.


Minna Canth

Minna Cath became the first woman to be celebrated with having a dedicated official day of hoisting the Finnish flag. Therefore, ever since 2007, you can see a Finnish flag waving at the top of each flagpole on March 19th. But who really was Minna Canth and why do we celebrate her?



Minna Canth (then Johnsson) around 17 years of age

Minna Canth (1844–1897) was an educated writer, businesswoman and activist. She (then known as Ulrika Wilhelmina Johnsson) was born on March 19th 1844 in Tampere, Finland and her parents wanted her to have a good education. She moved to Jyväskylä in 1863 to proceed with her studies to become a teacher. It was also here that she started to go by the name Minna Johnson. However, her studies were interrupted when she got married to Johan Ferdinand Canth. After staying home for some years as a housewife, she started writing in her husband’s newspaper about injustice in Finnish society. During this time she used pseudonyms, such as Wilja, Teppo and M.C. This also led to her becoming the first Finnish-speaking female journalist. Having visited some plays she also became interested in writing screenplays.


While Minna Cath was pregnant with her seventh child, her husband died and she became a single mother at the age of 35. To provide for her family, she moved to Kuopio and started working for her father and on the side, she writes plays. In her writings, Minna Canth often reflected on real issues and strived to better the situation of women and people living in poverty. In 1885 she released her play “Työmiehen vaimo” [The Wife of a Worker], which became the first realism play in Finnish. She later published many more plays, eight extended short stories and a two-part novel collection. She wrote from her home, which not only became her workspace but also a community space, called “salonki” [the salon]. Here various writers and artists at the time such as Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Järnefelt and Sibelius spent time. It was also here where “Kuopion naisintelligenssi” [the women intelligence of Kuopoio] was formed, which was a collective that discussed relevant social issues and made statements regarding injustices. This space Minna Canth created in her own living room was considered a liberal and free environment and she also supported freedom of religion. Minna Canth upheld the salon until her death in 1897 when she passed at the age of 53 due to a heart attack.

Neljä naista pelaamassa Skruuvipeliä pöydän ääressä Kanttilan salongissa. Henkilöt vasemmalta Hanna Guseff, Alma Tervo, Maiju Canth ja Minna Canth vuonna 1890-1896.
Minna Canth (right) with (from left to right) Hanna Guseff, Alma Tervo and Maiju Canth playing Skruuvia sometime between 1890-1896.


Minna Canth is considered one of the most important Finnish screenplay writers and prosaist along with Aleksis Kivi. She has also paid the way for numerous women to enter male-dominated spaces. She was privileged in society with her education and status, and it is said that she was aware of her status and used it to uplift others. It is also said that Minna Canth was the frontperson of realism in Finland, where she depicted the life of women as it truly was. This was something she was thoroughly criticized for, but she did not care. She spent time with the women she wrote about and knew that their experiences, lives and stories were real. Her life is said to have had a tremendous impact on the Finnish society and equality.


Minna Canth mustavalkoisessa kuvassa.



Minna Canthin päivä, tasa-arvon päivä 19.3. | Ihminen ja yhteiskunta | Oppiminen | yle.fi

Finland celebrates equality on Minna Canth Day | News | Yle Uutiset

MINNA CANTHIN SALONKI – Kuopionkorttelimuseo.fi


Tips for first-time flight travelers

written by Alice Chunga


When I got accepted into the master’s degree program in Social Exclusion and had to travel from Malawi to Turku, Finland, I knew I would have to fly for the first time. It was stressful but also thrillingly exciting knowing where I was going and what awaited me there. Regardless, after my experience, I compiled a list of things that would help any first-time flyer.


1. Make sure you have all your documents in one place. Flying can be stressful, with tracking the departure time and gate mixed with the excitement and nervousness of flying. Hence having all your documents in one place eases this stress. You always know in what bag/ folder you have your essential documents so nothing will get lost.


2. Make sure you check what you can bring or not bring on the plane. All airlines have a list of things you are not allowed to bring. Some things are given, like explosives and fireworks, however, some things can be more unknown so worth checking this before arriving at the airport.


3. Check what to pack in which bag. What you put in your cabin bag is different from what you put in your checked bag. One example of this is the allowed amount of liquids. You are not allowed to have liquids in bottles of more than 100ml in your cabin bag. However, in your checked bag you can have liquids in bottles that exceed 100ml.


4. Bring a neck pillow especially if your flight is long. Your neck will thank you!


5. To help with motion sickness take some gum. Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy can also help your ears not get blocked during takeoff and landing (prevents or helps with airplane ears).


6. Pack a snack. Especially on a long flight they usually have some food or snack that you can purchase on the airplane, however, a more affordable option is to have your own snacks. This way you also assure that you get something you actually like and will have a more pleasant flight.


7. Always ask for help if you are not sure about anything. It might seem scary to ask random individuals, but people are surprisingly helpful. Airports also have info desks where you can always get service, but other customers can also be of assistance. You never know that you can run into someone with the same destination as you. Additionally, the info boards with all flight information are also frequently displayed, however, can be difficult to read, so ask anyone to assist you with this matter.


8. If your flight has been delayed, do not panic, ask. Flight being delayed and gates being changed is normal, however, annoying and stressful for a first-time flyer. Regardless of these situations, DO NOT PANIC and ask someone for assistance. Some delays can be hours and this can feel stressful, but ask for guidance and check the info boards, and all things will be arranged.


I hope these tips were of assistance and will help you when you yourself travel abroad or fly for the first time.