My first experience in Turku was coming from my home in Toronto, Canada to Turku airport. The trip in total lasted 10 hours. I remember taking a taxi to the arts campus and looking out the window at the beautiful landscape, taking in how different it was from what I know. Here I saw no skyscrapers, only forest and small wooden houses, it was quite refreshing.
I had arrived and met someone to get me arranged in the city. I got to my apartment in the student village and was happily surprised that my room was not as small as I had expected it to be. I met my neighbors, one from Italy, the other from Belgium. They greeted me as if we had been friends for a long time. I really liked that I had chosen to live here.
The next day, I attended my first class orientation and met students that I would be spending my semester with. Again, I instantly made friends – everyone was so friendly and accommodating.
School was interesting in the first weeks. I did a lot of self-study but we also organized some group work together in our spare time. I liked getting feedback from the teachers in our contact classes.
What have I learned? I learned that experiences are different in each part of the world.
I learned that coming together with people from different cultures and backgrounds can really open your eyes to new possibilities and I wouldn’t have learned all of that if I hadn’t come to study in Turku.
I am very grateful for this once in a lifetime experience.
Text: Valerie McDermott