Running hot and cold at college

Release Date: 6 December 2016

As temperatures plummeted recently there were mixed feelings among some of the international students at D&A College.

international ARTICLE
From left – Roosa, Paul, John and Emma (picture: Gareth Jennings; courtesy of the Evening Telegraph, Dundee © D C Thomson & Co Ltd).

While John Omondi Ojwang and Paul Aumaodhiambo of Kenya, went on the hunt for winter woollies, Finnish duo Emma Kananen and Roosa Laakkonen, whose hometown, Joensuu, is just two degrees shy of the Arctic Circle, were feeling far more at home.

All four students have enjoyed a warm welcome at college however, with the Kenyan pair working in the Arc – D&A College’s state of the art welding and fabrication workshop, and the Finns enjoying practical sessions in the training restaurant at Kingsway Campus.

John and Paul are in Scotland as part of a training contract with People Positive East Africa Ltd to provide train-the-trainer welding courses in Kenya.

D&A College is supporting the region’s ambitions for oil, gas, mining and construction.

Some of the largest gas fields in the world are off the East African coast but extraction is hindered due to a lack of skills and experience.

The duo, who hail from Nairobi, confessed to having never felt so cold before coming to Scotland.

“While Nairobi is a high altitude city temperatures rarely dip below 10C and at this time of year it is often in the mid 20s,” said John.

“But despite the cold, we have had a marvellous time in Dundee, with everyone we’ve met making us feel very welcome.”

While the Kenyan capital is sliding into its ‘summer’ the opposite is true of North Karelia, the Finnish province where Joensuu is situated. There the thermometer registers zero around now and dips to minus 20-25 degrees over winter.

Students at North Karelia College Emma and Roosa are on an exchange visit to Scotland to study hospitality and tourism, spending six weeks in Dundee, coming to college and gaining work experience in a hotel.

“We both wanted to come to Scotland as we were interested in the culture and the scenery,” said Roosa.

“I was really wanting to check out the history – particularly as I follow Outlander on TV,” laughed Emma.

While the duo were not fazed by the frosty weather, they did have a bout of ice fright when they drove to Aviemore.

“In Finland, with temperatures dropping as low as minus 30 on occasion, we all have to display ice driving skills before we can gain a driving licence,” explained Roosa.

“But we also all take the precaution of changing our car tyres for winter weather.

“When we arrived at Aviemore ski centre there was snow and ice in the car park and we had never driven in these conditions with standard tyres - I really believed we would be killed!”

Despite this hiccup the students have enjoyed their time in Scotland.

“We are studying tourism at home so gaining new hospitality skills was great,” said Emma.

“We have really improved our command of English as well so that is a bonus.”