Student life in Turku

What I felt was the coolest thing here in Turku, was the amount of exchange students that study here! It’s amazing to see how fast you make friends, I live in the student village, so obviously I can only speak for the student village, but really if you want to meet new people, then get involved, leave your door open and don’t be afraid to talk to the others in your building.

My first month here, I wasn’t talking to anybody, because I was so busy, but after a few months I got to know the people directly on my floor, the same people I shared a kitchen with, and since then it’s been great. We have had nights where we just hang out in the common kitchen, days where we decorate it; we have gone for walks and even had an Easter supper. We find ways to keep busy and without noticing it, we’re all becoming really good friends. They are your roommates, and become your friends and even some become your travelling partners! I know most of them are Erasmus students, and live the “Erasmus life style”, but I’m Canadian and they without a hesitation will invite you to a party the first week you get here.

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I have been having so much fun here as an exchange student in Turku. There are a few things I needed to get used to, the weather being one and obviously the food is different, the people are different and the language is different, but to be fair, the food is good, the people are nice and they can almost all speak English, Swedish and Finnish, some even know a few more languages! So life here in Turku is safe and fun! It’s easy to get adjusted.  I’m sure once I go back to my home country, I’ll want to come back.

Text and photo: Mathieu Richard

Living in Finland

The main reason why I came here was to travel, obviously, but for anyone reading this, it might apply more to non European students. I come from Canada so when I came to Finland, I really wanted to visit everywhere! Life in Turku let me accomplish that! I’m not saying the courses we’re easy and you can miss as many course as you want. What I’m trying to say is, the teachers and the schedule is flexible enough that if you put in some effort when here, it gives you time to travel.

I was able to go to Italy, France, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Russia and of course lots of places in Finland.  What makes it easy is how cheap it is to fly around Europe, or the great deals you get to take the train in Finland, with a student card all train fees are 50% off, which is amazing! Students really do get it easy here in Finland, with the right cards you can get discounts at a lot of place, for example: trains, buses, restaurants and gyms.  What I’ve been doing to keep in shape is play some Ice hockey, which is also popular in Finland.  Friends and I used a great site, if it helps you, it’s “tori.fi” you buy cheap 2nd hand stuff. We bought a pair of skates for 25 Euros and bought a hockey stick at a local store. They have huge ice skating surfaces, even if you’re not a fan of ice hockey; it’s always fun to try new things.

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So to summarize, it’s an amazing place to keep busy, sure you’ll have those nights where you just want to watch movies and stay inside, but there is always something going on and a way to keep busy. So your experience depends on the way you decide to live it!

Text and photo: Mathieu Richard

Settling in Turku

To start off my blog articles, I am a student from Canada; I have a twin brother and love to travel. I came here with my twin brother and a friend. Therefore getting used to a new social network was easier for me because if ever I feel lonely, there’s always someone to hang out with.

We got here the first of January. Getting set up and making your new place feel like home is definitely a challenge. What is great about the exchange program here in Turku, is the tutors, we had amazing tutors who showed us around and really help us get settled in. They took us out our very first night in this new town. They even took us to the bank and to the shopping center to help with the basics. I can’t stress enough how much a tutor helps; it’s like knowing someone from here before you get here.

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Obviously once we got here it was cold and dark, it didn’t stop us from having fun! People in the student village or whatever residence you live in, are amazing. As long as you try, they will make you feel welcome. The other students and the teachers are also really friendly, I have class with a lot of other exchange students so it makes it easier to fit in and feel like you belong. There also is a lot of clubs and organizations that help you cope with the culture shock. ESN is an example; they help you along the way by planning trips and events to help you meet new people. You really get to meet a lot of people here in Turku, the stereotype is that Finns are shy and don’t want to talk to you,but  from my experience, I think that’s false, I enjoyed meeting lots of new people and a lot of them we’re Finns and they’re not shy!

Text and photo: Mathieu Richard