10 months, 5 expeditions, and 16 international students. A truly amazing course. The International Wilderness Guide course is based in Kuru, Finland. It's the only course in Finland that teaches in English so you get a wide variety of different students. Ever since being told about it I knew it was something I would love to do. From spending a night out in the forest with nothing but some matches and your pukko (knife) to being able to identify 40 different mushrooms. The program is jam-packed with a nice balance of classroom based studies and spending time out in the forest doing practical things.
The course covers a huge amount of stuff throughout the 10 months, the essential topics of the program are mainly wilderness skills, nature and tourism, and customer service. As well as planning and implementing our own wilderness expeditions, we learn to write a solid safety plan and planning every last detail. Learning wilderness skills; navigation, shelter building, cooking, gear maintenance etc then implementing everything in practical situations:
9 days hiking in Russia (October)
6 day ski trip in Iso-Syöte ( February)
"The Bear ski" a 9 day solo cross-country skiing trek in Hammastunturi wilderness area in Lapland (April)
5 day paddling trip on a river and lake route in Central Finland (May)
6 day trip to the Archipelago of Baltic Sea to explore plant and bird life (June)
To read more about the course visit the college website here, and If you are thinking about applying or have been accepted onto the course heres a list of useful stuff I wish I'd known before arriving.
Since graduating in June 2018 I have set up my own guiding company leading hut2hut ski trips in Finnish Lapland. Check out the website to see what adventures I’m getting up to these days.