UTUambassador Nour interviews representatives of Academic Scout Guild for the Colours of UniTurku podcast

Podcast: Colours of UniTurku | Forest Brown: Academic Scout Guild

Colours of UniTurku introduces Academic Scout Guild, a hobby association that arranges trips, hiking, outings and other interesting activities for its members. Nour, Ida, and Topi talk about the kinds of activities they host, and some of their most fun experiences.

Colours of UniTurku is a podcast by international student ambassadors of the University of Turku, introducing the unique student life and colourful student organisations in Turku, Finland.

You can also listen the episode on Spotify.

Text alternative for the podcast episode:

 Nour: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Colors of Uniturku, a podcast about student organizations at the University of Turku. For those who are not familiar, student organizations are like hobby groups where students gather around things that they like or things that they study. I am Nour, a student, and today's theme is Forest Brown. I'll be talking to Ida and Topi from the Academic Scout Guild, also known in Finnish as Akateeminen Partiokilta. Did I get it correct?


Topi: That was very good.


Nour: Thank you, guys, for joining us. Could you please introduce yourself and your organization?


 Ida: Yeah, thank you, Nour. My name is Ida, and I'm representing the Akateeminen Akateeminen Partiokilta, the Academic Scout Guild in English, or just APK for short. And the APK is a hobby organization for outdoor activities and mainly hiking.


 Nour: Okay, that's very cool. So, when was the organization founded?


 Ida: Our organization was founded in 1992-


Topi: For a second time.


Ida: Yeah, for the second time.


Nour: Was there a first time?


 Topi: The first time was sometime in the '60s. It's lost in the annals of history - the exact date.


Ida: Yeah, we don't know so much about the time of initial foundation, actually.


 Nour: Was it disbanded the first time? And that's why it needed to be founded a second time again?


 Topi: Well, it died down somewhat. And then it was disbanded. And then, in 1992, they founded it again.


 Nour: Okay. Well, I'm glad they did. Yeah. So how many members does the organization have in total?


 Ida: We don't have the actual data for today, but we have about 30 or 40 active members right now.


 Nour: Including me, for those who don't know that. This is why I'm very excited about hosting them today. Do you know how many international students you have, give or take?


 Ida: I don't have a number, but we also have many international students.


 Nour: I can vouch for that. So, you told us about what the organization does in general. Can you tell us more about the purpose? Why do you do these things?


 Ida: We want to organize nice outdoor and hiking trips for students. It's good for mental health, and I also like meeting other like-minded people and being outdoors. Yeah, it's our purpose.


Topi: Yeah. Yeah.


 Nour:  Why did you guys personally join the organization the first time?


 Ida: Personally, I joined APK because I love being outdoors. I love walking into nature and doing other outdoor activities like swimming, cross-country skiing, or something like that. And then I also wanted to meet like-minded people, get to know them, and see lovely hiking places here in Turku.


 Topi: Yeah. Yeah. It was the same for me. One of my good friends was one of the people who was activating APK again a few years ago, and he mentioned to me, " Hey, we have this, this thing, and would you like to come? Come into the forest."


 Nour: Come into the forest. That's not very suspicious. Come into the forest with me. So, generally, people who join the organization have the same feeling of wanting to see more of Turku. And I think Finland is a wonderful country, and it helps that Finland is beautiful to do these things. To you guys, what is the best thing about being a member of the organization?


 Ida: For me, the best thing is meeting many lovely people. It's nice to share the activities with others, meet new people, and be in the forest.


 Nour: You can always go to the forest alone. But it's a different feeling when you're with people.


Ida: Yeah, absolutely different thing.


 Topi: Yeah, for sure. For me, I think, the people, of course. But, with the influx of so many international students, it's been lovely to gain a new perspective and appreciation of the nature we take for granted. Oh, yeah. So easily.


Ida: That's true.


 Nour: I think I can understand that because, you know, when you see something every day for all of your life, it's different than when people see it for the first time, and they're just amazed by everything. I can understand that. Can you give us examples of what kind of events you host throughout the year and what kind of things you've done?


 Ida: Yeah. We usually organize one hike trip a month, and then we also organize other events. And yeah, it can be everything from ice swimming to wall climbing. But the regular events we organize are day trips to somewhere near Turku. And then we walk in the forest and eat a picnic lunch together.


 Nour: That sounds like something out of a fairy tale. I think most people listening to us are unfamiliar with ice swimming. So do you want to tell them more about it?


 Ida: It's just swimming in ice.


 Topi: Swimming in ice.


 Nour: It's a very normal thing.


 Ida: Like, there is a hole or just a little bigger area cut open in a lake or sea. And then, You go And swim there. It's very cold, but very relaxing too if you like it. Okay, not for everybody, but yeah. And then you also often go to the sauna after. Yes.


 Topi: I was just about to say that.


Nour: To warm up?


Topi: Some hardcore people do it without the sauna.


Nour: They're hardcore.


Topi: Go in and come out, and I don't understand how because I've only ever done it from a sauna.


 Nour: I think it's very Finnish of you. It's a very Finnish thing to do. What do you have planned for the future? Like future events.


 Ida: Yeah, we are going to. Organize these kinds of hiking trips, maybe longer ones that would be very nice to different national parks here in Finland or near Turku, but yeah, that would be nice.


 Topi: But yeah, the longer trips are something people have been asking for or are asking for a lot. But, yeah, those will, maybe, be organized a couple of times a year. We've done it so far, once in the autumn and once during the spring.


 Nour: Well, I personally look forward to it. Yeah. To those who have never seen pictures of Finland before, I recommend you check out pictures of its Forests. It's absolutely beautiful, to say the least. Which event is the most popular among students? Which one has the most participants? What kind of events do you suggest for our audience to attend if they come to Turku?


 Ida: It's a bit challenging to say, but maybe, on the first autumn trip, there were the most or the highest number of participants this year. But we also have many interested in the other trips.


 Topi: Yeah, the overnight trips have been really popular. Yeah. Like the one we had this autumn, there were 25 people.


 Ida: Yeah, yeah, something like that.


 Topi: Yeah, And it was a huge success. Although it did rain the whole time and all two days.


 Nour: Can you tell us more about the overnight trip? Like, in general, what do you do?


 Topi: Well. The last time we went, we took a bus to Kuhankuono?


 Ida: Yeah. Or to that direction. Yeah.


 Topi: Yeah. In the direction of the nearest national park. We took a bus to the beginning of the trail, and then... My voice is failing now, so, you know...


Nour: Do you want to take over?


 Ida: Yeah. So we walked, and we mostly walked there and then had little snack breaks there. We made food together on the stoves, the camp stoves.


 Topi: Also on the fire.


 Ida: Yeah. And on the open fire, too. We walked about 10 or 15km daily, then in the evening, we did the tents and then just chilled. Yeah, chilling. Sitting and eating.


Topi: Chilling by the fire.


 Nour: And Yeah, that seems very fun.


Ida: Very fun.


Topi: Luckily, it didn't rain when we put up the tents because that would've been miserable. 


 Nour: I can imagine that would have been really miserable. I can imagine a wet tent, and it's not very fun.


 Ida: But yeah, during the night, it rained. Cats and dogs.


 Nour: Yeah. You mentioned that the most attended trip was the one at the beginning of August. Yeah. What was it? Can you tell us more about it?


 Ida: Yeah, we went to Raisio. It's. It's a neighboring city to the City of Turku, or not a city, but yeah. And we were walking through a nature trail there. Just a typical forest walk there and then having a little lunch break. We were sitting around an open fire, grilling some sausages and making coffee. We have had s'mores, too, like marshmallows and cookies. 


 Nour: There's nothing better than s'mores over an open fire. I want to ask something. I remember reading about something called Every Man's Right in Finland, about the fact that you can go wherever you want. As long as it's not privately owned land. Can you tell us more about it?


 Ida: I'm not, maybe, the best person to tell you about that, but yeah, in principle, it's just, how do you say this? You can go to the forest and other lands without the landlord's permission or the forest's owner. But of course, you can't go near somebody's home or something like that.


 Topi: You can't go through yards or anything, but no.


 Ida: Yeah, yeah. Or if there is some food on the fields or something like that. But yeah, it's quite free to move. And also, you can pick berries and mushrooms.


 Nour: I think this is unique to Finland. Not many countries have that. In my country, you're not allowed to go wherever you want. Yeah. Do you guys want to share a funny memory from your organization or something exciting you'd like to share with our audience?


 Ida: Yeah, of course. This is something that I have read about. It was on one diary written by active APK members during the '90s or early 2000s. They were camping on University Hill, somewhere in the campus area. Just, yeah, sleeping in tents and having fun there. I think that was a very fun idea for a camping event. We have organized different camping events, but maybe someday. I don't know.


Topi: Someday.


 Nour: That does sound interesting. Imagine just walking into campus and seeing a tent there and people just sleeping and camping. Do you guys want to share what your role is in the organization?


 Ida: Yeah. So I am responsible for communications. So I send information about the trips by email and also post to social media, Instagram and Facebook, about the trips and a little bit of what we have been doing. And yeah, for people to see who we are and, like that, go.


 Nour: Go follow APK everyone on Instagram. Check them out. Is there anything else you'd like to say to our audience? No pressure.


 Ida: If you're interested in coming to Forest in Finland, you're welcome to join us. Yeah.


 Nour: And I personally recommend it as well. Yeah. Thank you, guys, very much for joining us. We had Ida and Topi today. If people would like to know more about Academic Scout Guild. Uh, what is your Instagram handle? Where can they find you? Or a website or email.


 Ida: Our Instagram account is @partiokilta, and our website is partiokilta.fi/en if you want English.


 Nour: If you need English for some reason.


 Ida: In English. Yeah.

Nour: We will be sharing all these links and the Instagram handle in the podcast description with the links to the University of Turku, the student blog, and the  UTU Instagram account. So please follow and subscribe to us as well. Thank you, guys, for listening, and we hope to see you in our next episode.