Many international exchange students take home special memories from their time at the University of Lapland. Snow sculpting, visiting Santa’s Village, seeing the northern lights – these are all unique opportunities exchange students enjoy while living and studying in Rovaniemi that result in endless amounts of shared photos with friends and family. But Canadian exchange student Paul Menard decided to take home a very extraordinary, and permanent, memory in the form of a tattoo of the university logo.
Why the tattoo? According to Paul, “It is quite common for me to play around with my appearance and I thought a tattoo would be a fun next step. It’s my first tattoo and I’m glad to have it. I knew before I even left for Finland that I wanted a tattoo to represent it and it’s my first international trip, so a significant milestone. The idea of a tattoo was in the back of my mind the moment I arrived and I was searching for something that would become my symbol of Finland. I briefly considered a reindeer symbol, but that has been terribly overused. One day while I was day dreaming, my eyes focused on the university logo and I knew right away that was perfect for my tattoo”.
Paul is a 24-year old Studio Arts major from Concordia University in Montreal who has spent nearly 9 months on exchange here in Rovaniemi, from September 2011 to May 2012. When asked about his exchange experience, he said, “It has been great! I have met so many people and did so many different things that I never thought I would be able to do. I have really grown to like Finns as well. When I first arrived I thought they were the oddest bunch of people, but they really warm up to you after a while. I am not sure how it happened, but one day I realized I had a large group of Finnish friends. One guy even took me to his cabin for New Year’s Eve and I got to try out a traditional wood sauna”.
Although just one of the 200 international exchange students who came to the University of Lapland this past academic year, Paul is the only exchange student we know of ever to get a tattoo of the university logo – definitely a unique souvenir to bring home. If curious to read more about Paul and see some examples of his artwork, you can visit his blog
ULapland/International Relations/Chris Brennan