All posts by Katarina Olkinuora

Tanti saluti dalla città eterna!

Many greetings from Rome – the eternal city where every road leads to. I’ve had the amazing chance to spend my year studying music at one of the most famous conservatoires of the world; Conservatorio di musica Santa Cecilia di Roma. It’s been utterly an educational experience and I’ve learned so much about myself, the italian culture and some useful common coping skills of life.

The idea of coming here felt quite good, because it had been a dream of mine for a long time and I had studied the language earlier in life and knew it already pretty well. I had also travelled to Italy quite many times, so I knew what to expect. Or so I thought. Very quickly it turned out that arranging your life in Italy is very different to being a tourist in this paradise of food, wine and historical monuments. As a tourist you can embrace the relaxed attitude and feel free, but as a resident and a student it really hits you that NOTHING works. It takes a lot of patience to accept that everything takes time and nothing is clear. When school starts, such things as a ready study plan or a calendar don’t exist. But whatever… This is how it rolls here and there’s nothing else you can do about it but try and embrace the culture and make the most of it.

But to better things: when I really got to studying, it was great. The level of the education is so high, my singing teacher has been amazingly good and my correpetitor as well. I’ve gotten to study vocal chamber music, scene work, classical piano and even took a couple of choir classes. I’ve also managed quite well in my final exams. It’s so nice to know that whatever comes on your way, you can always find a solution. You get the feeling that your wings actually do carry. You start to feel strong and independent, which I think is one of the main goals of a student exchange.

My journey has also taken me to Venice, Bologna, Padova, Nemi, Naples and many other exciting places. (Exploring your grounds is the best part of living abroad.) I’ve listened to amazing concerts, seen some of the nightlife, eaten divine food (and lots of it!!) and had the best coffee ever.

And let’s not forget the most important part…

All the friends I’ve met. Old and new ones. Amazing people.

Sending lots of love,


Livet mit i Norge – My life in Norway

Hei og venlig hilsen fra Stavanger, Norge! Many greetings from Stavanger, Norway! This is the most beautiful, colourful city I’ve ever visited. Even though it’s quite small, it’s sure is vibrant and has nearly a mediterranean spirit to it. The prettiest part on the city is the “colourful street”, which is full of lovely cafés and restaurants favoured by the students of the UIS (University of Stavanger). The Norwegians are kind, helpful, charming and laid back people and it makes me feel so cosy or “koselig” (as they say here). Like us Finns, the also love black liquorice and the nature.

I’ve already had the chance to do a lot of hiking here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such beauty of nature. Your soul just rests when you get up there and see all the amazing fjords and the lines of mountains. Just breathtaking… A couple of days ago I also got to see Månafossen, an amazing waterfall near Stavanger. Did you know that the Norwegians go on a “söndagstur” (a hike) every Sunday?? It’s really true!

I love the university here! It’s so international and I’ve made a lot of friends. I’m really satisfied with my teacher and all the classes I’ve been taking. Finally I have all the time I need to focus on my main instrument. I’m very glad. Stavanger also has the most vibrant music life in Norway so I’ve been enjoying the most wonderful concerts here, which I love!

See you later! Now I must go and buy a wool shirt to look just a bit more like a local! 😉IMG_0597