Thursday, 31 May 2012

Finland, Finland, Finland, The country where I want to be

For some people summer starts when you have had the first ice cream, the first beer at a terrace and swimming in a lake. For me a certain sign of ending semester is the exchange students who slowly but surely start to pack their things, clean their flats and take planes back to home without ticket to return. 
Before they left, I had a chance to talk with some of them about their exchange and their experience to remember.

Jekaterina, Anastassia and Zsófia in front of the main entrance
 I interviewed few of the exchange students who arrived in the beginning of this semester and now have amazing five months in Finland behind them. Zsófia Teleby from Budapest College of Communication and Business, Hungary and Jekaterina Zaporozets and Anastassia Kodalashvili from Tallin University of Technology, Estonia were telling me about their unforgettable experience on Tuesday afternoon after they had taken care of all of the official things they still had to do in TAMK before departure.

First question that you always tend to ask from a Finn to a foreigner in Finland is of course “Why Finland?”
Zsófia, who attended media program here in TAMK, had chosen Finland for her exchange because she wanted to go for the Northern countries and her school already had a partner agreement with TAMK. She loved the snow here but the extreme cold temperatures we experienced during the winter made her sick which was not enjoyable. 

Jekatirina had visited Finland before but wanted to stay here a longer period to see how is the country really like and get to know more than what you can experience during only few days stay at a time. She also told that the fact that generally speaking Finland has better education than Estonia encouraged her to come here for her exchange. For Anastassia exchange in Finland was more like a dream come true since she has always wanted to live here and plans to come back to study more after she has graduated from the degree she’s studying at the moment in Estonia. Both Jekaterina and Anastassia studied International Business in TAMK.

According to Anastassia and Jekaterina the biggest difference between Finland and Estonia is that people in Finland are more closed than Estonians. However all three girls were praising the helpfulness of Finnish students especially in ProAcademy. They told that they always got help when asked both from our degree students and other exchange students. Especially Zsófia was impressed about it and told that she has not experienced the same kind of supporting in Hungary at all. 

All of the girls had been enjoying the student life in Tampere and especially vappu festival on 1st of May had been unforgettable for them. They recommended Lapland as the “must” visit location in Finland and told that they have been travelling quite a bit during their stay. Finland is located bit far from the central Europe and the opportunities to visit a lot of countries while living here are not that many but Zsófia recommended visiting Stockholm and Tallin. Both are a boat trip away from here and can be visited during a weekend. Zsófia had also visited Turku and told that she had enjoyed the town a lot. From Tampere Anastassia suggested Pyynikki tower and Jekaterina and Zsófia agreed with her that the tower is really beautiful place to visit.   

Thibaud in front of the Incoming Students Office
On Friday afternoon I met Thibaud Launay, from Business School of Amiens, France who was attending our International Business program as an exchange student this spring. According to him the best course was definitely Business Game where you had to be focused and be on your toes all the time. In Thibaud’s opinion the course was really fun and good way of studying in a game mode. To Finland Thibaud ended up after his schools’ premature election. He wanted to go to Australia, but his school only has two placements there and he didn’t get selected to either of them. So his second choice was Finland and it has been the best “disappointment” of his life so far: Thibaud told that he doesn’t regret coming to Finland at all and these five months here have been the best time of his life. 

Thibaud was interested in Finland because it is so different from the other European countries; we have a lot more snow than many other places and this time of the year is just amazing with all the light we got. He said that it is a new experience to go to bed when it is again getting light in 3am. Also for Thibaud Lapland had been the best experience with the Northern Lights and tons of snow. He also recommended traveling around and visiting some neighbor countries that are not that easy to reach from the southern Europe.

Most of the exchange students have left Finland already with plenty of new friends and memories for a lifetime. The Incoming Coordinators of International Services are already working for the next semester and at the moment they are going through the exchange applications for autumn 2012. Again the amount of exchange applications hit the records and it seems that during the autumn TAMK will receive more exchange students than in any semester so far.
 The International Services will welcome the new exchange students in the main orientation on 20th to 24th of August 2012.   

Text & Pictures: Sanna Hosike

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