A random Finnish guy at the Aalto party
The teekkari have something similar to the introduction week in most German universities, called Otasuunnistus. Ota is for Otaniemi, the location of the Aalto-yliopisto, and suunnistus means orienteering.
First, there was a sauna party. But what is a sauna party? It is as simple as it sounds, a party with a sauna. But how does that work? Imagine a party with some background music and some area to seat or stand. People don't wear shoes. Nobody is dancing and you can easily talk over the music. But there are wet people just wearing towels all around. And there is always that one guy who is just naked. But that's not strange, it's just normal. People don't care about being naked.
At any time, you can go to the sauna with people you just met. You first go into a room to undress, then into a shower room, and then straight into the sauna. Body contact is completely fine, the sauna is crowded most of the time anyways. If it gets too crowded, you can use special seating arrangements to fit more people. For example the front ass-back-ass-arrangement. People alternately move a bit to the front and to the back so that they occupy less space. And when it gets too hot you can take breaks outside. The party was on a rooftop, so you could just step out and cool down while breathing fresh air. There are also sauna parties right next to the sea. It is really fffing cold I can tell ya!
The uninvited brass band at the party in Smökki
The normal student parties here are interesting as well. In the student village, called teekkarikylä, there are just random parties on the street. Nobody cares, since all tenants are students. But it is easy to sleep even when there is a party outside, because the buildings are not built right next to the street.
There is one special party location in teekkarikylä, called Smökki, short for Servin Mökki. This is the location where the real parties are. Not the boring club style parties with one DJ for a night, and maybe a second floor or a lounge. They got a real program with DJs, bands and student showdancers for the breaks. Since this are the self-organized teekkari parties, there are just students around and the atmosphere is very pleasing.
There is a student brass band which just crashes parties from time to time by just coming in and playing some songs. The teekkari then just engage pair dancing, it's completely normal and really fun. This was the best student party I ever attended. At least until now.
The international comittee, caring for all the international students. Note the different overalls and the white caps.
The teekkari culture is really interesting and different from the typical German student culture. People identify with their university and their major. They are proud of being teekkari. This builds a really healthy community amongst students.
The teekkari have two symbols. One is the white cap you see on the pictures. The other is the overall. The cap has to be earned during the first year by getting to know the teekkari culture and attending certain events. The overall can be bought straight away and is guild specific. On their overalls, the teekkari collect different badges. These can be from certain events, sponsored by companies or just for fun. The badges are a sign for involvement and interest in the teekkari culture.
The guilds are student associations for the different majors. They bring students of a major together. Every guild has its guild room on campus where you can hang out and meet some other students of your major. They organize events as well, like sitsits, sauna nights or company excursions. As a computer science student, my guild is the computer science guild, with nifty shiny black overalls. I ordered mine already, and it should arrive soon. I'm really looking forward to wear it for the first time and sew some badges onto it.