During the first weeks from my exchange period, I noticed quite some differences between TUAS and my home institution in Belgium.
The first thing that I noticed was that the students use first names when speaking to the teachers. They are very informal. In Belgium, it is much more formal, you only use the teachers last name when you speak to them.
I also think there is a bit more discipline at our school in Belgium. For example, if you are too late in class you aren’t always allowed to join that class. But that depends on the teacher. Some teachers are more strict than others. Another example is, you can’t leave classroom in Belgium without asking the teacher. Here in Finland, everybody just leaves the classroom during the lessons. It is a little bit strange for me that students just stand up during the lessons and go outside to make a phone-call, get something to drink or go to the restroom. In Belgium, you wait to leave the classroom until there is a small break. At TUAS, it also seems to be okay to use your smartphone during the lesson. At our home institution, most teachers ask you to put your smartphone away if they see you using it.
Another difference is the lunch. First of all, they have their lunch break quite early, mostly already at 11.30h. And in Finland, everybody eats a warm meal at school during lunchtime. At our school in Belgium, you can also eat a warm meal for lunch but most people bring their own bread or buy a sandwich for lunch. And then there is milk, a lot of milk. They have so many different kinds of milk and everyone also drinks milk for lunch. In the cafeteria at our school, you can’t even buy milk.
So there are quit some differences but I think I could use to some of them.
Text & picture: Suzanne Peeters