Living in the student village

I’m living in the student village for a little bit more than three months now. For me it is a really nice place to live. I have an 18m² apartment with my own bathroom (and shower) and a shared kitchen. The buildings, corridors and rooms of the exchange student part are not the best looking, but there’s always something happening here. And that is just awesome.

All the students who are living in the exchange student part are here with the same reason: having a good time. Because of the work we have to do for our study now (and maybe the cold- and darkness), it’s getting a little bit more quite. The first month we had parties or other event about three times a week, now there are parties about 1-2 times a week.

We’re not cooking together often, because everyone has different schedules and dinnertime habits but I often meet students from floor in the kitchen and then we eat together. There’s almost always someone in the kitchen to talk with and this is nice!

The rooms a pretty isolated. The first two weeks here, I thought I was the only one on our floor yet, because I didn’t hear anything. After three weeks I met some students who had the same thoughts, but apparently we were living with each other for a couple of weeks already. This also means that you can hang around with people and play music without bothering anyone.

To experience the exchange student live, the student village is definitely one of the best places to live in Turku. Great people, parties and other events. Absolutely no regrets that I moved to the student village for my four-month exchange!

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ESN Pirates of the Baltic Sea – Stockholm trip

In the morning of 31 October 2013 me and my friends went to Helsinki by bus with a lot of exchange students. When we arrived in the harbor of Helsinki we got our tickets to get on the cruise. And this cruise was awesome, it really was the most beautiful and entertaining cruise I have ever been on. There were several clubs and bars, a lot of stores, a gaming room and the walls of the elevator were made of glass, which provided a view over the whole cruise.

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The first night we had a really good party in both clubs. At first we went to a kind of concert club, where a band was playing covers. After that we went to the real night club above the sundeck to dance and have fun. The best part was that there were a lot of exchange students on the cruise we haven’t met yet.

When we arrived in Stockholm we got out of the cruise and bought a day ticket for the metro. This is my first tip when you go to Stockholm for only one day, buy a metro ticket for the whole day. It was like € 12,-, but with this ticket you are able to travel through Stockholm really fast.

At first we went to the old center to have a lunch, which is pretty expensive, even compared to the prices in Finland. After that we did a lot of sightseeing there. We visited different churches, old little shops and went to the harbor. Afterwards we took the metro to the newer part of Stockholm to shop and to grab a dinner. In the newer part there was a kind of a watchtower and from there you had a view over whole Stockholm.

At the end of the day we went back to the cruise and took it back to Helsinki.

Text and photo: Ruben van Bloemendaal

ESN trip to Russia – St. Petersburg

The trip from Turku to St. Petersburg began on 25 October 2013 from the bus station of Turku. We took the bus from there to Helsinki with all the exchange students who signed up for this trip. When we arrived in Helsinki we took a night cruise to St. Petersburg. It was a pretty nice cruise with enough entertainment (some bars and one club) for the night.

After arriving in St. Petersburg the next morning we directly had a bus tour through the city. I was shocked by the beauty of all the buildings, churches and cathedrals. I had the tendency to make photos of any building I saw, just because they look so nice and so different than what we are used to in West-Europe.

In the afternoon we went to the Hermitage, which is one of the biggest and most comprehensive art and culture museums in the world, and located in the center of St. Petersburg. It was really awesome to be here. They have so many different kinds of historical items there, from mosaic tables to paintings and coffins of mummies. The most impressive piece of art I have seen there was “The Return of the Prodigal Son”, painted by Rembrandt van Rijn from my home country.

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The days after that we did a lot of sightseeing by limo, boat, bus and foot. Every night there were really nice parties organized by ESN, which gave us a good impression of the nightlife in St. Petersburg. I liked the fact we did this trip with students not only from Turku, but also from Helsinki. This gave everyone the opportunity to meet new people. In the evening of 28 October we took the night cruise back to Helsinki. Never made some much photos in such a short time!

Text and photo: Ruben van Bloemendaal

My University vs TUAS

Well let me just start by saying my university is Oklahoma State, we wear the USA’s BRIGHT ORANGE, we have a horse named Bullet, an awesome mascot named Pistol Pete, we have the worlds largest student union, we drink 1% of the nations beer and have one of the top 5 tailgates in the nation. With that said there are a lot of differences and I haven’t even got into courses or how lectures are done.

At TUAS as a Hospitality Management major, my courses are laid out for me, there is a program and I have to stick to it. But at OSU, sure that’s my major, and yes there are required courses, but then I get about 10 classes in which I pick the subjects that I want or need to make my future successful. My university has a student run hotel and 2 student run restaurants on campus that act as learning labs, we also hold very large fundraising events in which we get celebrities to come and attend, not to mention give the program money. TUAS on the other hand, is a pretty small campus and doesn’t have a lot of hands on in the industry stuff; they base a lot of course work off of project work in which students solve issues for real companies.

While I do love the time I am spending here at TUAS, I must admit, I miss camping out for a good seat at big football games, I miss homecoming, we have the largest in the nation, and I miss our strip of bars that every Alumni and Student alike share their fondest memories at. Being an exchange student has opened my eyes to how other universities work, after spending a year in Scotland and now a semester in Finland I must say I appreciate being able to pick my classes, go to crazy celebrations, wear bright orange and yell ORANGE POWER and not have people look at me funny. But, I will always remember my time here at TUAS, the hard work I am putting in to my project, my struggle to learn Finnish and the lectures on things in the EU that I would have never gotten in the states.

And with all this said..there’s only one thing left to say..

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Text and photo: Nicole Keesee

What to do outside of school

Since I have been in Finland I have found out how much stuff there is to do in town, from sporting events to seeing old Turku historic sites. I must admit when I chose to come to Turku, I had no idea how much there would be to see and do so close to me. I personally loved going to the Turku Castle, the old church and all the neat little fairs and events they have had since I have been here.

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But I must admit, my favorite things so far were going to see Tuto and TPS both play with my friends. The match’s were brilliant, some games really close for awhile and sometimes we got the win, but sometimes we didn’t and that was okay because it was so much fun! Ice Hockey being Finland’s national sport and Turku having one of the best leagues in Europe meant the games were going to be a nice high caliber game, which I loved!

After the game one week my friends and I went to Harald’s for our dinner. Let me just tell you this place may be very expensive, but where else can you have your dinner served on a shield or sword? Personally I don’t know many places, in fact I don’t think I knew of one till I went to Harald’s. This was one of those times I decided to eat a lot of noodles for the week just to have my dinner on a sword and I think it was one of my best decisions so far in life. If you ever get the chance, go to Harald’s for a meal, you wont regret it!

Oh and yes there are really great parties and clubs but try not to make your whole time about them. There is lots of time for both, spread it out, enjoy local things like hockey and the old history of Turku but then make sure you get your party on too. Finnish clubs can be pretty awesome if you go on the right day with a good group of friends!

Text and photo: Nicola Keesee