For some people serving in the army is a matter of great patriotism. For a certain Kingston student it is an duty he could not escape.
Emil Biese, 22, flew straight home to Finland after graduating from Kingston University with a first in BA degree in Filmmaking this summer to complete the year long mandatory military conscription.
“A big reason that we still have mandatory military service is due to our history of fighting in the winter and continuation war during WWII, and Finland’s geographical situation next to Russia has given precedent to keep the armed forces mandatory to this day,” said Biese.
While many countries have abandoned the practice of general conscription, Finland remains one of the last countries who refuses to alter it’s policy.
Biese chose to further expand his film making skills by joining the Combat Camera Team within the army and will learn to fight as a light infantryman while filming the action.
Biese will not face any real action during his service, yet the cadets were put on high alert this summer due to the recent terror attack in Finland’s ex-capital city Turku. The attacker allegedly wanted to target men in uniforms.
“Following the events the army also told us conscripts to avoid using our military uniforms and take caution when on holidays, or when we are visiting home and especially during the night,” said Biese.
Biese’s training focused on basic rifle use, physical tests, marksmanship shooting, marching both in a parade style and long distances in the forest, using different kinds of weapons and tactics and how to survive out in the forests of Finland.
Biese admits that had it not been mandatory he would not have joined the army yet believes that this year will equip him with skills and habits that will be beneficial for his future. He wishes to come back to the UK after the army and study further in the field of film and TV.
“With my combat camera team I’ll be covering many events and action with high quality video and still footage. During my service time I will take part in many military exercises and events across the country and take video and still footage of these while taking part in the exercises,” said Biese.
He adds that living on an army base with strict schedules, and no permission to leave the area has been a struggle and he awaits to return to student life, independently planning his day and most importantly what he would like to eat.
The discipline has provided him with a structure and focus in his life whereas the memories of spending time with his fellow soldiers is something he agrees he will cherish for years to come.