Travelling around Europe

I first decided to come to Finland for the experience and I think Finland is a great country to visit. Then once I knew that I was coming, I looked into visiting Europe. Europe is a great place to visit and is fairly easy to travel, especially for students like me that come from North-America or other places than Europe. There are also many reasons for Europeans to come visit Finland, because it has a lot to see and it’s a great way to take this opportunity and visit a place that you might not get the chance to see again.

I took advantage of the travelling and have been to France, Italy, United Kingdom, Russia, Sweden, Poland, Dublin, Croatia and Netherlands. I have seen a lot of different places and a lot of great sights. This experience is an awesomeJoelRichard3-pienempi experience and I am having a lot of fun. So whether you want to visit Europe, Finland or Turku, it’s a great way to do so and also complete your studies.

From Turku there are many different places that are cheap and easy to travel to like Helsinki, Stockholm, Tampere, Gdansk, St-Petersburg, etc.  When I first got here I got myself a train card, which cost 8 Euros but you can get deals on many different travels with that card at a student price. For example, I can get to Tampere for around fifteen Euros or Helsinki for about sixteen Euros. Finland is a great place to travel and has great places to see and so is Europe. My experience here was amazing and I highly recommend taking this great opportunity to travel around Europe or the North of Europe and see some amazing historical places. Europe has a lot of history and it’s just amazing to see it all.

Text and photo: Joel Richard

Exchange Student Life

The exchange student life is one of the greatest experiences I have ever had.  I have learned a lot of different things and I have met a lot of people. The atmosphere of an exchange student is great! Everyone is new and are all very friendly. I’ve met some lifelong friends here and will keep talking to them for a long time. This experience gives you the chance to learn about how other cultures can be different but also similar to yours.

Turku is a great place to come; if you want to meet new people and other exchange students because they’re a city that welcomes a big amount of exchange students. I live in the student village, which on its own has about four to five buildings of exchange students, which have about thirty to thirty-six students in each. There’s also many other places that have student residence. You can meet lots of other students at school, in your building, at events or even at parties. My floor mates and I have organised many different things to do together and I’ve only been here for a few months.

We organised an Easter supper on Easter and invited other students, so it’s a great way to celebrate occasions that you would maybe normally celebrate at home.  It’s a great Joel2experience and you also have time during the semester to travel a little, whether it’s around Europe or just around Finland. There are a few trips that are organised by the ESN committee or you can also get a group of friends and do a small trip to Helsinki, St-Petersburg, Stockholm, Lapland, etc. There are also many different events/activities which are for exchange students. These events are a lot of fun and a great way to learn new things about different cultures.

Text and photo: Joel Richard

Activities in Turku

There are a lot of great things to do in Turku during the spring semester. It is often mentioned, that it is very cold in Finland. It’s true, it is cold, but there are a lot of good things about the cold. The cold allows you to enjoy fun activities, which you‘re not able to do where it’s warm. You can go sledding, play in the snow with friends and you can also go ice skating.

Ice skating was one of my favorite activities here in Turku, during the spring semester. There are a lot of different locations where you can ice skate and some places you can rent skates, for a small fee. Ice skating is a great way to keep active and to have a lot of fun. There are a lot of countries where you do not have the chance to try these activities, so take advantage. From my personal experiences, ice skating is always a fun time and a great way to spend a few hours enjoying the cold weather of Finland.

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There are also a lot of fun activities to do once the snow melts and the days get warmer. Turku has a lot of beautiful places to go for walks. The river that crosses through the city is a beautiful walk and a great place to see.  There are also places like the Centrum, where there are plenty of restaurants, shopping centres, bars and night clubs. The night life in Turku is one of the greatest I’ve been too because of the amount of exchange students and Finnish students having fun together in the most popular night clubs. There are other great things to do, like playing Laser tag, going to watch a movie with friends or signing up to the ESN events; ESN is a student group who organises activities and parties for the exchange students.  There are a lot of activities to do and I promise you won’t get bored in Turku.

Text and photo: Joel Richard