Student life in Turku – Adapting

Life in another country is nothing short of terrifying. My first few days here were emotional due to being the first to move into our accommodation. Being first had left my friend and I feeling lonely and unsafe, however I am grateful that I had a friend from my home university to keep me company as doing it alone would have made me feel very vulnerable. Fears ran through my head, what if I can’t cope on my own without my parents? What is something bad happens? Who is going to make my dentist appointments now? Haha, Joking I can do them on my own…. Sometimes.

When more people started to move in, Retrodorm had begun to feel more like home. I have a friendly outgoing personality so making new friends was not a problem, although as more time passed I see them more as a family than friends which makes life in the flat very welcoming at all times. We all share a common room and a very small kitchen. It’s very intimate but extremely annoying sometimes, especially when four people want to cook at the same time. Our flat contains fourteen people, so this actually happens a lot.

I am the most independent I have ever been as I am now doing my own grocery shopping, laundry, travel arrangements, rent payments and organization of placement. All of which I had help with at home from friends, family or my home university. This gives me confidence that I will continue to adapt well and improve personally and professionally.

Concluding my blog on adapting, I would like to leave you with this….

In my first few days of coming here I never knew how much I would change as a person, I never knew how this experience would make me a better person. It has! By gaining this independence, I’ve become myself, my true self! I know this sounds cliché, but it’s true. When you get away from everything at home, your responsibilities, your problems, even your boyfriends!!! You see yourself in a different way, a good way and it puts everything into perspective! I promise to anyone ever thinking about Erasmus, it’s an experience not to be missed! It’s hard but it will be worth it I assure you.

Rebecca Garfield

 

 

 

FINLAND AND TURKU

 I´ve always had a kind of fascination for the culture and the nature of Nordic countries, so when I saw Turku between my Erasmus’ options I really didn´t have second thoughts about it, life is a continuous challenging and a constant race of learning and experience, so I believe that going out your “comfort zone´´ in such a drastic way as living in a different country and learning its culture is something everyone needs to do at least once in life.

Furthermore, as a nursing student I was really interesting in checking by myself the famous “learning method´´ here in Finland which is known for having the best Education in the world and of course for improving my sanitary knowledge and skills, I also was interested in having my practical training in a finish hospital and in being able to compare it with my country Sanitary system.

Living in Turku is quite easy , is a little comfortable city that has everything you could need, even if at the first weeks the cultural differences still shocks you a little bit,  for example for me, I remember finding everything extremely calm , but once you get used to it , you end loving the constant silence. Another problem that I had and( I’m still having) is with the lunch and dinner timetable , it´s quite shocking for someone who is used to have lunch at 14:30 to start eating at 11:00 and the same with the dinner , but this differences only make the experience richer.

Let’s talk about the cold, one of the first things that are in our minds when we think about Finland, and the most feared one, I have to admit that the first weeks the cold was really a problem for me but now I feel that is not the big deal that it used to be, it´s perfectly bearable, Finland makes all its guests strongest I think, and being able to see snow, real heavy snow, it has been a wonderful present for me.

 

Now that I’ve been in Turku for almost four months, I only have grateful words for this country, it´s impossible not falling in love with its nature, its language and with the multicultural experience itself, here I´ve made friends from different nationalities, improved y English and even learned a bit of finish, so definitely Finland, thank you for everything and I hope to visit your be here once again, Kiitos!

 

Written by : Angela Núñez Serrano

GAME ON !

TUAS Gaming battle 

Our life is a made up of big and small wonderful experiences and the student life in Finland is just one of the examples. The student life offers you so many amazing and unforgettable experiences that stay with you. Those experiences are not only in the form of studies, lectures or school stuff but also the extra-curricular activities that you do, sport tournaments and other fun events that you attend and enjoy with your friends.

The student life in Finland is definitley one of the best ongoing experience for me. I had an amazing time and and I will continue to cherish every opportunity that I get in the future. Recently some students on behalf of TUAS organized a Gaming competition named “TUAS Gaming Battle” for the students of TUAS specifically but the students of other universities could join after paying an entrance fee. Now who doesn’t like gaming? If you are an IT student and have a little bit intrest in game design or gaming in general that this event was the best attraction for them and luckily ICT is full of such gaming Enthusiast.

I couldn’t wait for the event when I heard about it. The arrangments were made quite nicely with atleast 5 different screen connected to a PS4, a PS3, an XBOX 360 and 2 PC’s. The Games bieng played in the contest were FIFA 17, Mortal Kombat, Need for speed, Call of duty and Tekken Tag 2. A football crazy fan like me surely started with FIFA 17 and after quite a few knockout rounds, reached the Final and won it by a good aggregate. 

Meanwhile in other games I couldn’t do very well because there were really good player playing them while my only strength was FIFA. The event continued for almost 8 hours. The eyes and mind were tired but the fun was never ending. At the end all the winners, including me, recived a gift from the organizers. Bieng a FIFA Champ I was really happy and it went down as one of the best gaming expereince of my life.

Differences TUAS & home university

“Our similarities bring us to a common ground; our differences allow us to be fascinated by each other.”

Preparing for my semester abroad, I was aware that the Finish school system was different and that the partner university might be different than my home university. For me, finish universities were defined like this: strange study periods – one semester separated into two terms – less exams, but way more essays – small groups for studying.

When I arrived in Finland, I realized that it was way more than that.Stefanie5

Day 1 in TUAS and my teacher introduced himself with his first name. That was something totally new for me. In Germany nobody would ever dare to name his teacher by his first name. Directly after having introduced himself, I realized that Finish classes would be really different to that one I was used to. They should be way more interactive.

Challenge no 1: spontaneous presentation. Challenge accepted. But after this first presentation, a couple of further presentations should follow each week. In the beginning it was quite strange for me as I was used to teachers standing in front of their power point presentation and talking for 90 minutes, not accepting any interruption of students at all. But after two weeks and several presentations, it is getting quite normal. Our group was about fourteen student, Finns as well as exchange students – a small group, and after several weeks quite familiar.

In addition, at the TUAS it is a way more independent learning than at my home university. Receiving a problem, the names of your group members and the date of the final presentation are a normal way of teaching and developing young professionals at TUAS.

Less exams? Yes! In total, I only had two written exams. But Finns love group works. Every assignment or essay that you might have to write individually can also be a group work!

TRAVELING IN FINLAND, THE LAPLAND ESN-IAC TRIP

I had a friend that came here two years ago and I remember telling him: when I will go to Finland I will travel everywhere with the exception of Lapland, I don’t want to go there. He instantly replied: go to Lapland, it will be one of the best trips of your life. Once I was here I changed my mind and after doing this trip I am glad I listened to him, he was totally right.

When I came here I knew there were many different Lapland trips and organizations for it. My friends wanted to go during March so I decided to wait for doing it with them. I was thinking a lot of going to Saariselkä but later I saw the ESN-IAC trip to Levi and it seemed to be the most funny one, so I decided to go with it.

We were around 52 Erasmus students that would spend one full week living together in cottages in the amazing Lappi.

I don’t know why I told to myself that in Lappi I had to expand my limits and do a lot of new things: I booked the snowboard lessons despite I had never done it before, neither skiing. The first day I suffered a lot but a friend was with my giving a lot of support so I kept going and by the second day I was able to do it quite nice for my lack of experience. I felt very satisfied with myself because I always wanted to try snow activities and I was not able to do it at my region in my country.

Garcia blog 2

I also broke my limits with the sauna. In Turku I did it many times but it was horrible for me trying to stay more than ten minutes. I don’t know how here I was able to stay more than two hours. Despite I know that for Finnish people sauna is a place for getting relaxed and being quite, being 15 Erasmus people together in a sauna was not going to be a relax activity. We started to tell funny stories about us, playing and making jokes to everybody with the frozen water and with the snow outside.

I think that Lapland is not such a place to see, it is more a place to live experiences: going to Immelkartano, doing ice swimming in the arctic circle, having a contact with the huskies, doing snow shoe walking, doing snow mobile riding and, especially for me, the experience of living all together in the cottages like in our own little community, is something unique and different to enjoy surrounded by the Lapland landscape.

For me, the snowmobile riding and the snow shoe walking were the best experiences. Being in such a strong contact with the Lapland forests was provided with those activities. The Lapland forests are amazing and surprising to see with the snow covering almost everything, and when you climb the hills and are able to see the whole extension of it you cannot have words for describing it, you must come here and feel it.

For the end, if you come to Finland in Erasmus, find the way to come to Lapland, you won’t never regret it!

Text and picture: Miss Garcia